In a clip for her upcoming NBC News primetime special with Hoda Kotb, Jada Pinkett Smith has revealed that she and her husband, the Oscar-winning actor Will Smith, have been living “completely separate lives” since 2016. She added that the reason they have not previously gone public with the information is because they were “trying to figure out between the two of us how to be in partnership”—and that they simply weren’t “ready yet.”
“How do we present that to people?” she continues in the clip, which was released earlier today, and is part of Pinkett Smith’s promotional tour for her upcoming memoir, Worthy. “We hadn’t figured that out.”
The couple first met when Pinkett Smith attended an audition for Smith’s hit show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air back in 1994, although they did not begin dating until Smith had finalized his divorce from his first wife, Sheree Fletcher Zampino. In 1995, the couple reconnected and they married two years later on New Year’s Eve at Cloisters Castle in a private wedding in a suburb of Pinkett Smith’s hometown of Baltimore.
The Smiths welcomed their first child, Jaden, in July 1998, and their second, Willow, in October 2000. Both siblings have gone on to carve out their own career paths in the entertainment world: Jaden as an actor, rapper, and fashion designer, and Willow as a singer and actor.
The revelation also follows the infamous “Oscars slap” at the 2022 Academy Awards. After the ceremony’s host, Chris Rock, made a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head—which she first embraced in 2021 after struggling with alopecia and hair loss—Smith walked on stage and struck Rock across the face, casting a shadow over the night’s events and Smith’s eventual best actor win for the biopic King Richard.
“We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together,” Pinkett Smith shared of her separation from her husband in an interview with People. “We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.” On the subject of how her kids have been helping her during the split, she added: “My children, they’re little gurus. They’ve taught me a deep sense of self-acceptance.”
This article was originally published on Vogue US.