According to power couple, Will Smith and Jada Pickett Smith once hit rock bottom and “broke up” during their 20-year marriage, but divorce was never an option.
The low point for the pair started at her 40th birthday in 2011 after Smith hired Mary J. Blige to perform and put together a video of never-before-seen clips of Pinkett Smith’s late grandmother.
“She’s like, it’s my birthday and she told me that the party was the most ridiculous display of my ego,” the 50-year-old actor admitted during a Monday, October 29, appearance on his wife’s Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk. “Crushed, right? And to this day I know I was crushed because it was true. It wasn’t a party for her. When she called me on that, that’s when I snapped and that’s the only time you ever heard me snap. I snapped in front of Willow and Willow starts crying and she’s like, ‘Just figure it out.’”
Smith had another moment of clarity after Willow, 17, wanted to quit touring amid the success of her 2010 hit “Whip My Hair.” He said she shaved off all her hair in a “deep protest,” adding, “I was building what I wanted for her and she tried all the different ways to say I don’t want that.”
“I saw for the first time what Jada had been saying the whole time about hiding behind my ego, my dreams and my desires and pretending like it’s love. And I realized [Jada] wanted none of the stuff I had built,” he continued. “The house was too big, there was always too many people here, she didn’t want to travel the way we travelled. She didn’t want all of her kids to be getting trolled on Twitter. She didn’t want any of that.”
Pickett Smith, 47, then weighed in: “And there was a decline from there.”
“To have to let go of the picture, to have to let go of the dream was devastating. We essentially had to destroy our marriage,” Smith explained.
Contrary to reports at the time, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum and the Girls Trip star maintained that divorce was never on the table.
“I had never even seen a divorce lawyer! It never even crossed my mind,” Pinkett Smith said after her husband noted he was “reading in the tabloids that we were getting divorced.”
“Because I had been divorced before, I wasn’t getting divorced again. Divorce wasn’t an option,” Smith, who was married to Sheree Zampino from 1992 to 1995 added. “I was devastated even worse than a divorce. We broke up within our marriage and got back together again. We had to rebuild with new rules and something way, completely different.”
Smith and Pickett Smith, who tied the knot in 1997, are also parents of son Jaden, 20. The Aladdin star also shares 25-year-old Trey with Zampino.
“Ultimately to have a successful relationship, you have to have a relationship with a human being,” Pinkett Smith explained.
The rapper concluded: “Will Smith is a character, but deep down inside I was an insecure little boy who wanted Jada to say I was great and if she didn’t say I was great, the dragon came out.”
At the end of Monday’s two-part episode, the twosome also cleared up rumours about their relationship, with Smith noting, “We’ve never been Scientologists, we’ve never been swingers.”