Jada Pinkett Smith talks 'guilt' about her dad's overdose death following their 'horrendous fight' over his drug relapse

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Jada Pinkett Smith got emotional talking about her late father and his addiction on Monday’s<em> Red Table Talk.</em> (Photo: Facebook)
Jada Pinkett Smith got emotional talking about her late father and his addiction on Monday’s Red Table Talk. (Photo: Facebook)

Monday’s Red Table Talk was a powerful therapy session for Jada Pinkett Smith and her younger half-brother, Caleeb Pinkett. The siblings, who shared a father, got candid about his death, from a drug overdose.

The pair talked about their father, Robsol Pinkett Jr., who they said abandoned them both as young children. During the chat, which also included Jada’s mother and daughter (show regulars Adrienne Banfield-Jones and Willow Smith), Jada said it was especially painful that her dad pursued a relationship with her only once she had become famous. His ongoing drug struggles caused a lot of upset in their lives, with Jada recalling how they had a “horrendous fight” after he relapsed, and, sadly, he died right after, leaving her with deep guilt over their spat.


“He wasn’t there for us as children,” Jada said. “He struggled with addiction. He was clean for [20 to 25 years]. He fell off the wagon. [Caleeb] called me. We bought him out here, and he was out here for three years. He got clean, and then he fell off again. Then he died from an overdose” in 2010.

Jada and Caleeb with dad Rob. (Photo: Red Table Talk/Facebook)
Jada and Caleeb with dad Rob. (Photo: Red Table Talk/Facebook)

When Jada was 7, she said Rob told her, “I can’t be your father. I’m a criminal, I’m an addict, and that’s just what it is.” She said it was especially hurtful when, after she became famous, Rob tried to establish a relationship with her. “The issue for me was when I got into the position that I got in and then he wanted to have a relationship. That hurt me,” Jada admitted.

The siblings said they scrambled to care for Rob after he relapsed — moving him out to California to get help. “I was like, ‘Caleeb, I don’t want to,'” Jada recalled. “And he was like: ‘This is our father’… We both had a lot of resentment with our father. We had that feeling like we had to be responsible for him, but he never had to be responsible for us. That was a hard pill for me to swallow.”

When Rob died suddenly, Jada said the “most difficult part” was dealing with their unresolved fight. “He and I had had a horrendous fight when I found out he relapsed. I was like: ‘I don’t owe you nothing. You didn’t do s*** for me. You didn’t do s*** for Caleeb. I don’t owe you nothing.’ It was one of those,” she said.

Caleeb, who got emotional recalling how he had to identify their dad’s body, said he called his sister to break the news, and as soon as he said, “J…” she replied, “‘He’s gone, isn’t it?’ I didn’t even have to say it.” Jada said she had a lot of “guilt” over her father’s death because of their big blowup.

Banfield-Jones said that Rob was very creative, “almost genius,” but you know “how there’s a fine line between genius and crazy,” she added. “That was your dad.”

Earlier this year in an episode of Red Table Talk, Banfield-Jones opened up about her own drug addiction. She’s now 27 years sober but was a heroin addict for 20 years, including during Jada’s teen years. On today’s episode, the women talked about how Jada was able to forgive her. Jada said it was because whatever her mom was going through, they went through it together. Her mother didn’t abandon her like her father, who “just gave up.”

Jada also talked about how her fractured relationship with her dad affected other relationships with men. She mentioned that at one point during her relationship with Will, she experienced upset while witnessing the bond between father and daughter. “It was like: Oh my God. I’ll never have that. Ever!” she recalled. Now she just views that relationship as beautiful. She said she always tells Willow, “Listen, I know your dad is not perfect, but, my God, you have a daddy.'” She said it has been so important to “be able to give my kids something I didn’t have.”

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