Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith’s Relationship Timeline – Hollywood Life

Will Smith & Jada Pinkett’s Relationship Timeline: From Their Happy Start to the ‘Entanglement’ and Separation

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been through it all as a couple. Take a look back at their relationship following the news that they've been separated for years.

Reading Time: 7 minutes
Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith
Image Credit: AP Images

Will Smith, 55, and Jada Pinkett Smith, 52, have done everything they can to try and and make their love last in Hollywood. The two have been together since the ’90s, but Jada revealed in a recent interview to promote her memoir that they’ve been separated since 2016. Jada and Will’s relationship has taken years of love, trust and hard work to maintain their bond in the spotlight. Here’s a look back at the early years together to today.

Will & Jada Meet at an Audition

What’s more Hollywood than meeting at an audition? Will and Jada first met when the actress auditioned to play Will’s girlfriend on the popular ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Unfortunately, Jada never got the role, which ended up going to Nia Long. But Will was nevertheless taken by Jada’s talent and beauty.

Will & Jada Get Married on New Year’s Eve

Upon realizing his attraction, Will made the decision to not pursue Jada. He was, at the time, still involved with his first wife, Sheree Zampino, although the pair had hit a rough patch in their marriage. By the time Sheree and Will decided to breakup, Will was ready to pursue Jada, who moved from her native Baltimore to California. The pair started dating following Will’s 1995 divorce and married on December 31, 1997 at a hotel in Jada’s hometown.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith photographed in 1996 [AP Images].

Will & Jada Build a Family Together

It wasn’t long after Will and Jada said ‘I do’ that they began to expand their family. The couple’s son, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, was born on July 8, 1998. Roughly two years later, Will and Jada welcomed their daughter Willow Camille Reign Smith on October 31, 2000. Jada is also the step-mother to Will’s son from his first marriage, Willard Carroll “Trey” Smith III. The family have such a united front, and both Willow and Jaden have worked with their parents in the past!

Jaden played the son of Will’s character in the Oscar-nominated film The Pursuit of Happyness in 2006 and After Earth in 2013. Willow appeared as Will’s character’s daughter in the 2007 film I Am Legend. Willow is a singer and was  the co-host of Red Table Talk with Jada and Jada’s mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

Will & Jada Reach 10 Years of Marriage

By 2007, Will and Jada celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. Not only was it a major milestone for the couple, it was also huge for a couple in Hollywood to last for that long!

Trey Smith, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith at an event [AP Images].

Will & Jada Set the Record Straight

“I’ve always told Will, ‘You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be okay,'” Jada explained during a HuffPost Live interview from 2013, amidst criticism about their marriage. “Because at the end of the day, Will is his own man. I’m here as his partner, but he is his own man. He has to decide who he wants to be and that’s not for me to do for him. Or vice versa.”

Will has admitted that there were times that he wasn’t doing enough for the couple’s marriage in the past. “There was a period where mommy woke up and cried 45 days straight. I started keeping a diary,” Will told Willow during an October 2018 episode of Red Table Talk. “It was every morning. I think that’s the worst I’ve ever felt in our marriage. I was failing miserably.”

The ‘Entanglement’ Story

In July 2020, Will and Jada went on Red Table Talk to have a conversation about Jada’s alleged relationship with August Alsina. Jada confirmed that she was caught-up in an “entanglement” with the young singer, and it left a major impact on her marriage to Will. “I really felt like we could be over,” Will confessed. “We came together young,” said Will, “and we were both broken in our own ways, and to be able to make mistakes without the fear of losing your family is so critical,” he continued.

For her part, Jada admitted that “one of the things that I’m deeply grateful in this whole process between you and I is that we have really gotten to that new place of unconditional love.” Will, however, admitted that he “wasn’t sure I was ever going to speak to you again.” The two, however, worked on their marriage and relationship. “The fact that I’m speaking to you again is a miracle.”

To that end, Jada couldn’t have agreed more. “You gotta go through some sh-t to get the answers. I’m just happy because I definitely believe you and I never ever, ever thought we’d make it back.”

In 2020, Jada Pinkett Smith set the record straight on her ‘entanglement’ with August Alsina [AP Images].

Will & Jada Move Forward After the ‘Entanglement’

“We don’t even say we’re married anymore,” Will said on a July 2018 episode of TIDAL’s Rap Radar podcast. “We refer to ourselves as ‘life partners,’ where you get into that space where you realize you are literally with somebody for the rest of your life. There’s no deal breakers. There’s nothing she could do—ever—nothing that would break our relationship. She has my support ’til death, and it feels so good to get to that space.”

Will Releases His Memoir

Will opened up about some of the difficulties that he and Jada faced early on in his memoir, fittingly titled Willwhich was released November 9, 2021. The I Am Legend star admitted that the pair had problems in their relationship, partially due to marrying young. He said that the couple were “suffering the brutal death of our romantic fantasies, the burning away of the idealistic illusion of the perfect marriage and the perfect family,” but neither wanted to divorce.

In the book, Will admitted that the two realized that they “were two separate people on two independent, individual journeys.” After tears and hugs, the pair decided that each had to take their own happiness into their own hands. “We agreed that Jada’s happiness had to be her responsibility, and my happiness had to be my responsibility. We were going to seek our distinct, innermost personal joys, and then we were going to return and present ourselves to the relationship and to each other already happy—not coming to each other begging with empty cups, demanding the other person fulfill our needs. We felt that this vampiric relational model was unfair, unrealistic, destructive—even abusive. To place the responsibility for your happiness on anybody other than yourself is a recipe for misery,” he wrote.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith with Jaden Smith and Trey Smith [AP Images].

The Oscars Slap

Will and Jada’s relationship was thrust back into the spotlight because of the infamous “slap” at the 2022 Academy Awards. Chris Rock made a joke about Jada being bald amidst her battle with alopecia, which caused Will to get on stage and slap Chris across the face. After the incident, Will was banned from returning to the Oscars or any other events hosted by the Academy for the next ten years. Will addressed the situation in an Instagram post, where he apologized for his “inexcusable” actions. Jada stood by her husband during the scandal.

Jada addressed the “slap” in an interview with People to promote her memoir, Worthy, that comes out October 17, 2023. “I thought, ‘This is a skit,’ ” Jada said about the incident. “I was like, ‘There’s no way that Will hit him. It wasn’t until Will started to walk back to his chair that I even realized it wasn’t a skit.” She also said the first words she said to her husband after the slap were, “Are you okay?”

Will Smith
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2023 Academy Awards (Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock)

Jada Reveals Her and Will Are Separated

Jada dropped the bomb about her and Will’s separation in an interview with Hoda Kotb that came out October 11. The actress explained that her and Will have been living “completely separate lives” since 2016, but they aren’t legally divorced. “I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce,” Jada said. “We will work through whatever, and I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

Speaking more about the separation, Jada told Hoda, “By the time we got to 2016, we were exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be.”

In a separate interview with PEOPLE, Jada revealed that she and Will are “still figuring” out the state of their marriage. “We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us,” she said.