Jada Pinkett Smith gave a lengthy interview to the New York Times this weekend to promote her memoir, Worthy. The NYT’s piece was actually quite thoughtful and they didn’t tabloidize some of the darker elements of Jada’s life, which is sort of what happened with her People Magazine cover story. Jada’s in full promotional mode and she has talking points, which is why some of the quotes sound familiar – she’d already said the same stuff to Today and People. Still, I enjoyed reading a more in-depth piece with Jada. Some highlights:
When Will Smith called her his “wife” at the 2022 Oscars: “Even though we hadn’t been calling each other husband and wife in a long time, I said, ‘I’m his wife now. We in this.’ That’s just who I am. That’s the gift I have to offer, like, ‘Hey, I’m riding with you.’”
Smith and Rock had decades of disrespect between them, starting in the late 1980s: “I didn’t judge Chris, I didn’t judge Will. I was like, ‘Oh, this is a spiritual clash.’”
Why she stood by Will that night: He was in tremendous pain, and fragile, Pinkett Smith said. He had recently finished filming “Emancipation,” a hellish Civil War-era drama that was psychologically tormenting for Smith, who plays an enslaved man. “I knew in my heart that he needed me by his side more than ever.”
Her reaction – to roll her eyes – at Chris Rock’s joke: “It was easy to spin the story of how the perfect Hollywood megastar had fallen to his demise because of his imperfect wife. Blaming the woman is nothing new…How is it that a woman can be so irrelevant and culpable at the same time? I had to think about the narrative out there of me as the adulterous wife, who had now driven her husband to madness with the command of one look. I had to take responsibility for my part in aiding that false narrative’s existence. I also had to chuckle at the idea that the world would think I wielded that amount of control over Will Smith. If I had that amount of control over Will, chile, my life would have been entirely different these damn near three decades. Real talk!”
The state of her marriage: They are not in an open marriage, nor are they uncoupled, polyamorous or divorced. They are something else altogether: life partners in family and business, long maintaining an agreement they call “a relationship of transparency.” In recent years, they’ve lived separately. As a 50th birthday present to herself, she bought her own place, moving out of their Calabasas compound….Pinkett Smith, in pursuit of “clarity and emotional sobriety,” became what she calls an “urban nun of sorts.” She meditates and reads texts like the Bhagavad Gita, the Quran or the Bible daily, and abstains from sex, alcohol, violent entertainment and unnecessary spending.
On Tupac: “Pac’s whole thing was because I knew him when — when he wasn’t Tupac. The guy who was poor, the conditions that he lived in. And I was rocking with him anyway.” In “Worthy,” she reveals that he’d proposed to her in a letter while incarcerated at Rikers in the mid-1990s for groping a fan. “Did Pac love me? Yeah he loved me! But I promise you, had we got married, he’d have divorced my ass as soon as he walked through them damn gates and got out.”
[From The NY Times]
Jada’s description of her life now is kind of the dream, right? She’s still married, she still has some kind of love for and partnership with Will, but she has carved out her own space, her own home, her own rules for existing and healing. I get that there’s some outrage at Will and Jada for “lying” about their marriage, but my view is that they’ve both always been pretty open about the fact that their marriage has struggled a lot in the past decade or longer, but it’s also clear that they still love each other. They don’t have to define it, especially since they’re still figuring out their sh-t. Now, if I was in charge of their lives? Sure, I would tell them to just get divorced, get things settled and then continue to be friends and continue to love each other. But they’ve got their own thing.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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