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Jada Pinkett Smith Reveals Why She And Will Smith Pretended To Still Be Together Even Though They've Been Separated Since 2016

Photo: DFree, Tinseltown | Shutterstock,  Valentin Antonucci | Canva
Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith married Will Smith in 1997. Together, they raised three kids — Will’s son, Trey, from his first marriage, and their two biological kids, Willow and Jaden. The author of the soon-to-be-released autobiography, "Worthy," shared that despite the appearance of a picture-perfect family life, her reality was far from perfect.

Jada Pinkett Smith revealed the reason why she and Will Smith pretended to be together even though they’ve been separated since 2016.

In an interview with Today Show’s Hoda Kotb, Pinkett Smith shared that she and Smith kept up the image of sharing a life, yet they’d “been living separate lives” for the past 7 years. 

Kotb asked Pinkett Smith why she and Smith declined to be truthful about their marriage, and Pinkett Smith replied with an incredibly relatable answer. She explained that the reason for not opening up publicly about their relationship centered around “just not being ready yet.” 

   

   

According to her account, they were “still trying to figure out between the two of us, how to be in partnership… and in regards to, how do we present that to people, we hadn’t figured that out.”

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Kotb questioned why their relationship fractured, and Pinkett Smith once again answered in an honest and relatable way.

“Why it fractured, that’s a lot of things,” she said. Her answer could be felt deeply by anyone who's struggled to maintain a relationship that’s floundering, who isn’t quite ready to let go of the promises that their romance once held.

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

Pinkett Smith described the expectations they put onto one another as one reason why their relationship faltered. She said it was because neither of them could live up to that perceived, imaginary person that the other wanted to be with. 

During the interview, Kotb’s voice can be heard speaking over photos of Pinkett Smith, declaring that she’d considered ending her marriage to Smith with a divorce, but could never actually go through with the legal action involved.  

Pinkett Smith stated, “I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever, and I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

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Upholding a promise to never seek a divorce despite being unhappy in her relationship put an extreme amount of pressure on Pinkett Smith to stay in a marriage that was no longer working. 

Still, what Pinkett Smith experienced is such a common human impulse — to not want to give up on love, even when that love has faded.

By living separate lives, yet maintaining they were still married in the public sphere, Pinkett Smith and Smith gave themselves some respite from outside commentary, from those who thought they understood what happened between them.

She is clearly keeping the exact reasons for their separation to herself, which she has every right to do. Famous people don’t owe their fans any explanation of their pain and discomfort, even when those fans might feel entitled to the knowledge.

Pinkett Smith has worked to navigate the ups and downs of a decades-long relationship; that the relationship itself ended is not necessarily a failure on either her or her estranged husband’s part. It just means that two people who were close grew apart, and the natural course of their romance trailed off. 

Still, Pinkett Smith and Smith made a life together that worked for them for a while. They raised kids and cultivated careers. That their romantic relationship faltered in the end is so completely human, and relatable to many married couples who’ve gone on to live separate lives, themselves. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.