After spilling on marriage woes, a promo for next week’s episode also features Will admitting, “We broke up.”
“Red Table Talk” made its triumphant return to Facebook Watch on Monday, as Jada Pinkett Smith was joined by husband Will Smith for one brutally honest episode about their relationship.
“For years and years there’s been a lot of speculation about us and our family has been pretty secretive, not secretive, just private,” said Will after sitting down with Jada, her mom Adrienne Banfield-Jones and daughter Willow. “It’s been private. We have created a marital and family paradigm that has been speculated about for a lot of years, so I’m excited to tell the truth.”
The “truth” included how the two met, Will’s mandate about using profanity and why Jada cried for “45 days straight” early on in their marriage.
Their Unlikely Backstory
Jada first caught Will’s eye after he saw her on “A Different World.” According to Will, his “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” costar Alfonso Ribeiro offered to hook them up.
“I actually think I dated Alfonso. I think we went on one date together,” Jada admitted.
“I recognize when I see a person, if our relationship can be exponential,” said Will. “When I saw you on ‘Different World,’ it was that thing. The bell rings and I knew there was something in our energy that was magic.”
But when he went to a taping of her show, he ended up meeting another woman there instead: first wife Sheree Fletcher. During his marriage to Sheree, he said he and Jada “had all these near misses,” before having a life-changing conversation with her at a party.
“We did not have an affair while he was married,” Jada interjected at this point.
“The next night me and Sheree went to dinner, I sat down with Sheree and it was one of the most bizarre emotions I ever had, after we had that talk,” Will recalled. “I remember I had to get up from dinner when I had a realization that I wasn’t with the person I was supposed to be with. I went in the bathroom at The Palm and I broke down in tears.”
Though he vowed to never get divorced, he didn’t have much of a choice when Sheree decided to divorce him on Valentine’s Day. Once he signed off on the papers, his first call was Jada.
“I literally walked out from there, I called Jada, I said, ‘Hey Jada, what’s up, it’s Will … are you seeing anybody?’ She said, ‘Uh, no,’ and I said, ‘Cool, you’re seeing me now.’
Not-So-Welcome Wedding Bells
Two years into their relationship, Jada got pregnant with the couple’s first child together.
“I knew the moment after the act that I was pregnant,” Jada remembered. “I knew that night, he didn’t believe me, but I knew.”
“It was literally four seconds after we had sex,” said Will. “She’s like, ‘I’m pregnant.’ I was like, ‘Babe, I think scientifically you’re not pregnant yet.”
Jada said she really did not want to get married, with Will saying they only did it “because Gammy was crying.” Banfield-Jones apologized for not respecting her daughter’s wishes, adding that the wedding itself was “horrible.”
“It was a mess. Jada was sick, she was very unpleasant, she didn’t cooperate with anything,” Jada’s mother recalled.
“I was so upset that I had to have a wedding, I was so pissed,” added Jada. “I went crying down the freaking aisle, I cried the whole way.”
The No Swear Rule
Before the two tied the knot, Smith remembered one disagreement they had that almost brought the relationship to a grinding halt.
He said that during a party they were having at their house, Jada swore at him in front of their guests and his son Trey. He retaliated by swatting at her with a newspaper and taking her aside to another room.
“I said, ‘Jada, this is the deal, I grew up in a household where I watched my father punch my mother in the face and I will not create a house, a space, an interaction with a person where there is profanity and violence,'” said Will. “If you have to talk to me like that, we can’t be together. We’re not going to use any profanity in our interactions, we’re not going to be violent, I can’t do it.”
According to Will, it would be 20 years before they swore at each other again.
Why Jada Was Unhappy
Will remembered a moment in their marriage where it appeared like everyone was “winning” to the outside world, but Jada “woke up and cried 45 days straight” in private.
“It was every morning. I think that’s the worst I’ve I ever felt in our marriage. I was failing miserably, but on the outside I was winning,” he said. “I built the house, and called the house her lake and during that time I remember saying, ‘I built this house for you’ and she said, ‘You built this house for you.'”
“It was devastating for me to accept that I built the house for me. In my mind, I was saying I was building it for her, but I wasn’t,” he continued. “I called it her lake as an ego cover and Jada was calling me on that.”
Smith came to the realization that what he was creating was just a “picture,” one that looked like the complete opposite of his childhood.
“I had the public perception that I wanted to project of our relationship, of the family and what my kids are and what my wife is and what we are in the world,” he added.
When Will admitted he did feel she was “ungrateful” at times, Jada said she felt the same way about herself. “There were times I felt ungrateful, because I was like, ‘Look at your life, how can you be so unhappy?'” she remembered thinking, “I used to think I was crazy. That’s why I couldn’t talk to everybody.”
But her husband understood what was behind the tears.
“Jada’s an actress, but she had two babies and she had to be home to raise her babies while I got to do everything I wanted to do. She was sacrificing herself to fit my picture, but my life wasn’t really disrupted in the least,” he said. “I think that was the, if there were an individual, most poisonous aspect of our relationship in the past, is that I felt money and winning made a good relationship.”
Jada said “fear” was to blame for her just going along with it for so long, “fear of not wanting to rock the boat.”
“I had kids, he’s a force to be reckoned with,” she said of her husband. “There’s a lot of stuff you let slide and go past that angers you, that you get resentment, but you don’t change it because you’re scared. At the end of the day, it’s about fear.”
She said that the turning point for their relationship came when she turned 40, but that’s where the episode ended. Part 2 of Will’s family sit down will be released next week and, in a preview, he says, “We broke up. I was devastated, even worse than a divorce.”