Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith have been married for over 20 years, which is no easy feat for a couple—famous or not. A decade into their marriage, Will appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and spoke about his relationship with his wife. After noting that they had been married 10 years, DeGeneres joked, “It’s like dog years when you’re married here. That’s like 50 years, right?”
Whether that's true or not, their relationship has definitely stood the test of time. They've weathered rumors of breakups, affairs, and that they're in an open relationship and stood by each other the whole time. While no relationship is perfect, the Smiths do seem to show us all how to make love last. But to fully appreciate their relationship, it’s necessary to go back and look at where they started.
Here's a full breakdown of the Smiths’ relationship timeline.
What’s the best way to meet in Hollywood? On a set, of course. The Smiths are no exception. The couple met after Jada auditioned to play her now husband’s girlfriend on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (talk about foreshadowing). She didn’t get the part, and Will was married to Sheree Zampino at the time, who is his son Trey’s mother. Still, there was a connection between the two.
After his split with Zampino, Will called Jada and asked, “Are you seeing anybody?” She said no and he replied, “Cool. You’re seeing me now.”
Following two years of dating, the couple tied the knot on New Year’s Eve. Jada was pregnant with their first child, Jaden, at the time. After the private ceremony, the newlyweds headed to Miami for a three-day honeymoon. They then flew to Washington, D.C., to film Enemy of the State together. What a dream job!
Jaden Smith was born on July 8. Since his birth, he’s proved to have a knack for acting like his parents; in 2006, he appeared in his dad’s movie The Pursuit of Happyness as his son.
"Jaden is 100% fearless, he will do anything," Smith told Vanity Fair. "So as a parent it’s scary, it’s really terrifying—but he is completely willing to live and die by his own artistic decisions and he just doesn’t concern himself with what people think."
Two years later, the couple welcomed their daughter, Willow Smith, on October 31. She has followed in her family’s footsteps of working in showbiz. She appeared in I Am Legend alongside her father and in 2010 released her song “Whip My Hair.” She currently cohosts Red Table Talk with her mom and grandma Adrienne Banfield-Jones.
Work hard, play hard. That must have been the Smiths’ motto since they decided to write and produce the sitcom All of Us, inspired by their family. The series ran for four seasons before eventually getting canceled in 2007.
"We wanted a sitcom that really reflected a piece of life that you don't see often on television and a piece of life that's very difficult to deal with and a piece of life that we wanted to show could be dealt with in a very mature manner," Jada said about the show.
After eight years of marriage, rumors started spreading that the couple was in an open relationship. Will made a comment to the Daily Mail: “If it came down to it, then one can say to the other, ‘Look, I need to have sex with somebody. I’m not going to if you don’t approve of it—but please approve of it.’”
After a decade of marriage, Will explained that they will never consider divorcing. “What I found is divorce just can’t be an option,” the actor said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “It’s really that simple. And I think that’s the problem with L.A.—there are so many options. So a huge part of the success for [Jada] and I is that we just removed the other options.”
The entire Smith family took the stage at the 16th annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo. Jada and Will hosted the event because of their dedication to promoting global peace. If we didn’t think they were family goals before, we definitely do now.
Rumors about their marriage began to swirl again in 2011. The couple denied that Jada had an affair with Marc Anthony (her love interest on the show HawthoRNe) after a source told Us Weekly that the two were flirtatious. "They were a little touchy and like they were in their own little world,” the insider said.
People continued to speculate that the pair engaged in relationships outside of their marriage. So in early 2013 Jada addressed this to HuffPost Live. “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,’” she said. “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."
She later clarified her statements on Facebook, writing, “Here is how I will change my statement...Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship… this means we have a GROWN one.”
A common trend in their marriage seems to be assuring the public that their relationship is secure. Will did this again in 2015, when he posted to Facebook to deny claims the couple were getting a divorce.
"In the interest of redundant, repetitious, over & over again-ness … Jada and I are NOT GETTING A DIVORCE!!!" he wrote.
One thing's for sure: The Smiths are an evolved couple. Jada invited her husband’s ex-wife, Zampino, onto Red Table Talk. During the episode titled “Motherhood," the two women had an open conversation about coparenting and settled some issues that existed between the two. Psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser was also invited to help explain how important their dynamic is for Trey.
“Is the person you’re dating still intertwined in some way,” Kaiser asked Jada, “with the person who’s their ex? If so, you need to find a way to get along with them because you wouldn’t be dating that person if it weren’t for the person who they broke up with.”
Despite the couple’s consistent denials of affairs and divorce, they have admitted to having issues in their marriage. They decided to address the perception that famous couples have perfect marriages on an episode of Red Table Talk.
"What was really important about Will and I doing that show together—two things: First of all was really to kind of get rid of the idea that people in the public eye have perfect relationships,” she said on an episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. “We were kind of sick of living up to that. We were real sick of it. And then second of all, really having myself and Will come and talk about our relationship—sometimes you see just women do it alone or you just see a guy do it."
The most recent controversy was when singer August Alsina claimed that he had a relationship with Jada and that Will had given him his permission to do so. To address this, Jada invited Smith to a Red Table Talk and put herself in the interviewee’s seat. The couple revealed that they had briefly separated when she started seeing Alsina.
"I got into an entanglement with August," Jada said. "The only person that can give permission in that particular circumstance is myself. I could actually see how he would perceive it as permission because we were separated amicably, and I think he also wanted to make it clear that he's also not a home-wrecker. Which he's not.”
The Smiths also spoke to their desire to work on their relationship and stay committed to each other. Will added, “I told you the first year we were married that I could love you through anything.”
Originally Appeared on Glamour