In a candid new interview with GQ, Will Smith opened up about his life behind the screen, including the parts of himself he doesn't often get to show as a larger-than-life star.
Among frank discussions about his upbringing and tumultuous relationship with his father, he talked about some of the details of his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith.
Particularly, he addressed the idea of monogamy in their marriage, as well as his Red Table Talkinterview with Jada in July 2020, where the couple addressed Jada's "entanglement" with singer August Alsina.
"The public has a narrative that is impenetrable," Smith told Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Wesley Lowery, who received an advanced copy of Will's upcoming self-titled memoir. "Once the public decides something, it’s difficult to impossible to dislodge the pictures and ideas and perceptions."
The actor also commented on the meme that arose from the Red Table Talk interview, clarifying that "it was midnight and we were going on vacation the next day. It was like, no, no, no, guys, I’m not sad. I’m fucking exhausted.”
The 53-year-old explained his dynamic with Jada, saying, "Jada never believed in conventional marriage. ... Jada had family members that had an unconventional relationship. So she grew up in a way that was very different than how I grew up."
He continued, "There were significant endless discussions about, 'What is relational perfection? What is the perfect way to interact as a couple?' And for the large part of our relationship, monogamy was what we chose, not thinking of monogamy as the only relational perfection."
In the interview, Will also disclosed that Jada was not the only one in the relationship to have an extramarital affair. He detailed the ups and downs of his marriage, relating the discord surrounding a large home purchase, having a traditional wedding ceremony against Jada's wishes, and Jada turning down an opportunity with her band, Wicked Wisdom, so Will could continue filming for The Pursuit of Happyness.
In his memoir, Will wrote that things reached a breaking point in 2011, during Jada's 40th birthday, where he screened a documentary he'd commissioned that chronicled Jada's life and traced her family's lineage all the way back to slavery. When the couple returned to their hotel that evening, Jada was silent before Will recounted her saying, "That was the most disgusting display of ego I have ever seen in my life."
The ensuing fight was so loud that a 10-year-old Willow, who was sharing their suite, came into the room crying with her hands over her ears, begging them to stop. "Our marriage wasn’t working," Smith wrote of the experience in his book. "We could no longer pretend. We were both miserable and clearly something had to change."
However, Will added that although the pair has had to navigate difficult times in their marriage, “We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way. And marriage for us can’t be a prison. And I don’t suggest our road for anybody. I don’t suggest this road for anybody. But the experiences that the freedoms that we’ve given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”