Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith make first joint red carpet appearance since separation announcement

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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have made their first red carpet appearance together since revealing they have been separated for seven years.

The Hollywood couple walked the red carpet at the premiere of Bad Boys: Ride or Die in Los Angeles, California, on Thursday, May 30. The pair posed arm-in-arm as Will wore an all-black suit with a matching black beanie, chain necklace, and a pair of sunglasses. Meanwhile, Jada was dressed in a sheer floor-length gown with black wavy detailing and a cut-out bodice, as she rocked her signature short blonde hair.

The actors were joined by their two children - Jaden Smith, 25, and Willow Smith, 23 - as well as Will’s 31-year-old son Trey, who he shares with ex-wife Sheree Zampino. Jada’s mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, also walked the red carpet at the TCL Chinese Theater.

The event marked the first time Will and Jada were photographed together on a red carpet since the Girls Trip actor revealed in October 2023 that she and Will have been separated since 2016. In a bombshell interview with People, Jada shared that the couple were even separated at the time of his infamous Oscars slap in March 2022.

“We’re still figuring it out,” Jada said, when asked about 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.”

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ premiere in Los Angeles with Trey Smith, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris (Getty Images)
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ premiere in Los Angeles with Trey Smith, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris (Getty Images)

She later explained in an interview with Today’s Hoda Kotb that her marriage to Will was “fractured” before they decided to separate, and they both became tired of trying to preserve their marriage.

“I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be,” the Red Table Talk host said.

Despite their decision to live in separate homes, both Jada and Will have maintained that they have no plans on getting a divorce. “I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever,” she told Today. “And I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

The King Richard actor has made similar comments about divorce as early as 2006, when he explained to MTV News that divorce “can’t be an option” for him and Jada. He echoed his sentiment just two years later during an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show. “What I found is divorce just can’t be an option,” Will told Degeneres in 2008. “It’s really that simple. And I think that’s the problem with LA - there are so many options. So a huge part of the success for [Jada] and I is that we just removed the other options.”

While the couple - who have been together since 1997 - have remained committed to staying married, it hasn’t stopped speculation surrounding their relationship.

In 2020, singer August Alsina claimed that he and Jada dated while she and Will had an open marriage. In an interview with The Breakfast Club, Alsina claimed that Will had given them his “blessing” and approved of their relationship, after his marriage to Jada “transformed” into what he described as a non-romantic “life partnership”.

A representative for Jada initially said his claims were “absolutely not true”. However, she and Will appeared on an episode of Red Table Talk less than two weeks later, where she confirmed that she did have a relationship with Alsina during their period of separation. “We decided that we were going to separate for a period of time and you go figure out how to make yourself happy and I’ll figure out how to make myself happy,” Jada said.

“From there, as time went on, I got into a different kind of entanglement with August... Yes, it was a relationship absolutely,” she explained. However, Jada denied Alsina’s account that her husband gave them “permission” to pursue a relationship, as she said: “The only person who could give permission in that particular circumstance was myself.”

On October 16, 2023, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star finally broke his silence about the separation in a statement to The New York Times. Speaking about Jada’s memoir Worthy, which also revealed many details about their non-traditional marriage, Will said the book “kind of woke him up”. He explained that he has now realized how Jada is more “resilient, clever, and compassionate than he’d understood”.

“When you’ve been with someone for more than half of your life, a sort of emotional blindness sets in, and you can all too easily lose your sensitivity to their hidden nuances and subtle beauties,” Will said.