About as quickly as Will and Jada met, they got married and started a family. But "For years and years, there's been a lot of speculation about us and our family," acknowledged Will Smith. Join us as we understand the reasons why.
The Smith Family
Jada and Will Smith spent years balancing their family and professional lives. When they met, Will was a star on the rise, and Jada, a woman with many talents of her own. But living in the spotlight didn't always allow them to live a comfortable life.
Life in the Smith family has included infamous entanglements and unconventional parenting, with many exciting details in between. To find out all of the details of one of Hollywood's most unstoppable families, let's dig a bit deeper into the motivations behind their fame and fortune.
Will Was the 'Fresh Prince'
At just over twenty-years-old, before Will took Hollywood by storm, the young star landed his first big break. Need a hint? In west Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground was where he spent most of his days. Will became the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air without knowing that his life and career would never be the same.
Will captivated viewers' hearts for more than six years on the hit TV show. But the Fresh Prince was just getting started. Will's budding career would soon help him become the international star we know today. But that wasn't the sole reason the sitcom proved to be a great starting point for the actor.
They Met On Set
"I don't know what it was…[but] I knew that there was something in our energy that would be magic," Will said after laying eyes on Jada for the first time. In 1994, nineteen-year-old Jada Pinkett joined Smith on the set of Fresh Prince, but unfortunately, their time together was cut short.
Pinkett was an aspiring actress and was set to star as Will's on-screen girlfriend (which he was thrilled by). But her audition was deemed unsuccessful. Nonetheless, their connection was undeniable. It was only a matter of time before Will and Jada's relationship would flourish.
Will Was Already Hitched
It's challenging to remember a time where Will and Jada weren't side by side. Even though they had an undeniable spark in 1994, Will was already a taken man. The actor had married his girlfriend, Sheree Zampino, two years prior. This meant that even though he couldn't stop thinking about Jada, Smith certainly had to try.
As Will recalled, he was never planning on getting divorced, but with Sheree, it just happened. Had things worked out differently, the confused star would have "Went back out, sat back down with Sheree, and started going back on with [his] life." But alas, we know that's not how this story ends.
Smith Became Single Again
Will attempted to untangle the jumbled thoughts in his mind, but nothing seemed to feel right. "I had a realization that I wasn't with the person that I was supposed to be with," Smith explained. But in the back of his mind, he couldn't stop thinking, "I knew [Jada] was the [one]."
Smith's mind was more confused now than ever. If you asked him, he would have said, "I was happy that I figured it out, but devastated emotionally." However, in his head, "[I thought] it was never gonna happen." Sure enough, on Valentine's Day in 1995, it happened. Will's wife of three years formally filed for divorce.
The Beginning of Will & Jada
As soon as Will was a single man, he didn't skip a beat in listening to his heart's desire. As he walked out of the courthouse, Smith knew what to do next. "I remember [after signing divorce papers]…I walked out of there and…I had Jada's number," he revealed. "I literally called [her]." That one phone call changed everything.
"Cool, you're seeing me now," Smith said to Pinkett when they met up in-person after the phone call. But, how did Jada take his forwardness? She packed a bag and said goodbye to Baltimore as she joined Smith in L.A. The rest was history, as from that moment on, the new couple felt unstoppable.
Married & Expecting
About as quickly as they began dating, they took numerous large steps in their relationship. In the span of several months, Will and Jada went from dating to engaged, to expecting a child, to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The whirlwind began in November 1997, when the actor got down on one knee to pop the big question.
"What am I gonna do now?" Jada thought out of sheer panic. Shortly after saying "yes," she found out that she was pregnant. Neither Jada nor Will was prepared for this unexpected surprise. But, they knew they loved each other. So, as the ball dropped ringing in 1998, they exchanged "I do's" and braced themselves for their future.
The Smith Family Grew
On July 8th 1998, the world welcomed Jaden Christopher Syre Smith. From the moment he was born, nothing about him was conventional. "It took me twenty minutes to [deliver him]," Jada proudly gushed. "My mother's a nurse, and she was in there with me, and she was amazed!"
The Smiths were officially a family of three! In a short amount of time, Jaden would follow in his parents' famous footsteps. But long before the young child was propelled into the spotlight, new parents, Jada and Will welcomed another addition to their family.
Roughly two years later, the Smiths became a family of four. In 2000, Will and Jada welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Willow Camille Reign Smith, into the world on spooky Halloween. Similar to her older brother, Willow and Jaden were both named after their parents.
But, that's not the only similarity Willow shared with her mom and dad. Years later, her talents would surprise many. With the help of her supportive parents, she would soon morph into a star. Before her life skyrocketed through Hollywood, other significant changes were happening inside the Smith household.
Will's Career Skyrocketed
Will was racking up Golden Globe nominations and popularity, but he was merely getting started. As the years flew by, the actor's success skyrocketed, which Smith welcomed with open arms. In fact, by the early 2000s, the star had officially taken over Hollywood.
There was no denying it. The troublemaking teen that viewers fell in love with on TV had officially grown up. Smith had become a staple in Hollywood, a force that took the entertainment world by storm. Soon, his equally talented children would follow in his footsteps.
The Kids' Big Breaks
Jaden and Willow marked many items off of their become-famous-at-a-young-age bucket list. It all started back in 2006 when eight-year-old Jaden joined his father on screen. Jaden made his film debut in Pursuit of Happiness, a heartfelt film where viewers got to witness their special and unique relationship on display.
The child-star made quite the name for himself, from co-starring alongside his dad to landing critically acclaimed roles. Films aside, young Smith has celebrated recent musical successes as well! As for Willow? Her debut single, Whip My Hair, turned out to be such a hit that she landed a deal with Jay-Z's label, Roc Nation.
So what follows adoring fans and record-breaking deals? A-list acquaintances, of course! It's no surprise the Smiths have added some pretty famous friends to their inner circle throughout the years. But, besides Jay-Z and friends of his label, who else became close with Will's gifted family?
From Tom Cruise to Oprah, it's hard to find a Hollywood face who wasn't part of the family's circle. There's a reason Will's title of Fresh Prince has remained tried and true. Even back then, he was as charming as he is talented. This propelled Will across our screens in the '90s and opened many hearts to his enchantment.
The Smith's Net Worth
The Smiths undeniably dominate the world of Hollywood. With their many movies, songs, and public appearances, the family seemed to be unstoppable. And they had the fortune to prove it. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Will and Jada allegedly have a combined net worth of $400 million in the bank. But wait, that's not all.
Once again, their mini-me's have followed in their steps. As revealed by Celebrity Net Worth, both Jaden and Willow have already landed themselves millionaire status. As for how much they've earned? Apparently, a whopping $8 and $6 million, respectively. The family undoubtedly set the bar high, but could money buy happiness?
They Seemed Picture-Perfect
In the eyes of their millions of fans, The Smiths were living out their very own fairytale. "The Karate Kid, Whip My Hair, Hawthorne, and the Nobel Peace Price: Our family did that within a 6 month period," Will proudly gushed. "We were on top of the world." Or, at least thats how it seemed.
But, what was the reality? Behind the gates of their 25,000 square foot mansion, there was more happening than anyone realized. It wasn't long before fans began to notice something was wrong and started asking questions. Could fans sense signs of a crumbling relationship? The Smiths couldn't hide the truth much longer.
Trouble in Paradise
Fast forward to 2011, and life for the Smith family abruptly took a visible turn. Instead of their immense fame spewing across headlines, murmurs of infidelity took its place. Jada's relationship with married Hawthorne co-star, Marc Anthony came under question.
But, were the rumors true? Will and Jada raced to share their side of the story before the media spun its own. "The rumors circulating…are completely false," the couple assured. But, when it came to rumors of a separation? "I'm not commenting," answered Jada's rep, leading fans to have even more dire questions.
The Relationship's Turning Point
Whether the rumors were true or not was still unknown. The stability of the Smiths took a sharp plunge months later. Ringing in Jada's 40th birthday should have been a joyous occasion, spent celebrating with her loved ones. But while it was marked with family and friends closeby, life was far from comfortable for the family.
They celebrated with an elaborate birthday gathering, put on by Jada's doting husband. But it didn't end well. "'I can't do this like this anymore,'" Jada revealed. His pride entirely shot, Will said, "She told me the party was the most ridiculous display of my ego." He continued, "I was crushed because it was true."
Open Marriage Rumors
Unfortunately, by the time 2013 rolled around, Jada and Will's relationship strains were only beginning. This time, everything their marriage stood for was being viewed under a microscope. Fans continued to speculate. Rumors that the two were actually in an open relationship grew too large to ignore.
This time, people pointed their fingers at someone new: Margot Robbie. Fans were convinced she had cozied up too close to Will, her Focus co-star. Jada smashed rumors saying, "Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship…this means we have a GROWN one."
A Secret Separation
With rumors flying left and right of everything from infidelity to an open marriage, the couple's relationship had been put to the test. But by 2016, Will and Jada simply couldn't take it anymore: "We decided we were going to separate for a period of time," Smith revealed about their secret separation.
No, they didn't head to the courthouse to make it official. "You go figure out how to make yourself happy, and I figure out how to make myself happy," the actor recalled of his wife's reply. Instead, in classic Smith style, they had their own approach to handling things. Something that would soon come back to plague them.
August Alsina Made Headlines
Will's heart soon became crushed. The former sweethearts went their separate ways. But this led Jada down a slippery path. To understand the events that occurred later that year, we have to rewind to 2020. Specifically, the moment rapper August Alsina dropped a bombshell that sent Will into a spiral and the internet ablaze.
"It's just a part of life, and it's a part of the journey," Alsina revealed to People in the summer of 2020. As he phrased it, he and Jada embarked on a relationship venture of their own shortly after her split from Will. But that's not all he divulged. According to the rapper, he even earned Will's stamp of approval.
Jada Sets The Story Straight
It took no time for the internet to ascend into chatter-mania. With their split previously kept behind closed doors, the boundaries of faithfulness and betrayal suddenly blurred. At least, as far as onlookers were concerned. Perhaps that's why Jada soon used her talk show platform, The Red Table Talk, to set the story straight.
"One thing I wanna clean up…[August is] not a homewrecker," Pinkett announced to her viewers. But, what she said next nearly crushed Will. "I just wanted to feel good. It had been so long since I had felt good." Sure enough, the choices she had made would change her relationship more than she ever could have imagined.
They say when you love something, set it free. And if it's meant to be, paths will cross again. But Will and Jada learned that the hard way. "We did everything we could to get away from each other, only to realize that that wasn't possible," an emotional Jada revealed. The events that followed shook their family to its core.
"It [was] a huge healing in my life, what I had to confront and discover, the ugly truths and the beauty," Jada recalled about their time apart. Through the ups and downs, they were determined to make it to the other side. "There's a real power in knowing somebody's riding with you no matter what." They had survived. Barely.
The Smith Kids Are in Control
Jump to the present-day, and Will and Jada are still riding their waves together. The "ugly truths," the "beauty," and everything in between had hit them where it hurt. But what about their relationships with Jaden and Willow? Where do their kids stand? Well, their family dynamic has raised questions over the years.
Will revealed the main idea behind their unique parenting approach. "The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives." He continued, "Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives." But what does this mean when your family is one of the most famous in Hollywood?
The Smith "Circle of Safety"
For starters, in the Smith household, there is no such thing as a punishment. "It has a little too much of a negative quality," Will explained. Instead? As long as Jaden and Willow admit to any wrongdoings they may have done in the past, they will not be punished for them. Thus: The Smith's "Circle of safety."
For those wondering, yes, there is a catch: If the parents ever find out either of the children withheld information, there is "H*ll to pay." You can bet this hasn't always been easy for the family. "I'm like, [Willow], you need to start lying!'" Will joked about the uncomfortable conversations this parenting role has included.
Jaden & Willow Attend "Mystery School"
It's not a secret that Willow and Jaden Smith are unlike any other children. And not only due to their famous parents either. When it came time to hit the books, the young stars enrolled in a unique form of homeschooling. The Smiths attended a "mystery school," where they learned how to make records and build pyramids.
In a T Magazine interview in 2014, a comment by the Smith kids left their fans speechless. Now more than ever, fans were full of questions about nearly everything. "Time, for me? I can make it go slow or fast. However I please. And that's how I know it doesn't exist," Willow assured. And her brother couldn't agree more.
Are the Smith's Secret Scientologists?
We previously knew that the Smiths are far from ordinary. But, what does that mean? According to former celebrity Scientologist Leah Remini, the Smith family has been hiding a massive secret for decades. "I know Jada's in," the actress began. "She's been in Scientology a long time." But that's not all Remini had to say.
As she phrased it, The New Village Leadership Academy, a school founded by the Smiths, was a secret Scientology institution. Remini's finger-pointing left the online world spinning. And with the family's closest circle consisting of famed Scientologist Tom Cruise, fans couldn't help but question if this report could be true.
Will's Eldest Felt "Abandoned"
But what about the son who never entered the spotlight? Unfortunately, Will's relationship with his firstborn, Trey, wasn't full of rainbows and happiness. "We struggled for years after my divorce from his mother [Sheree]," Smith revealed with emotion in his tone.
Life as Trey knew it changed the moment his father met Jada. Trey felt "betrayed" and "abandoned." But, exemplified by his dad and step-mom, there's always an opportunity to turn things around. "It's been a wild blessing to recover and restore a loving relationship with my beautiful son!" a proudly determined Will shared.
Jaden's "Devastating" Revelation
Unfortunately for Will and Jada, being parents came with its share of hard moments. Jada soon became faced with a heartbreaking revelation. As Jaden celebrated his 15th birthday on July 8th, 2013, he envisioned a plan. To him, it was the best "birthday gift" he could possibly receive. But was Jaden alone in that thought process?
Although it was a joyous occasion, Jada remembers it as "Probably one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life." Her baby boy came to her asking for emancipation. The same child she'd cared for and proudly called a son for fifteen years. As crushed as she was, the truth was inevitable: "He's right. The time is now.'"
Jada Set Jaden Free
But, did she understand where her son was coming from? "Being in this lifestyle, in this world, is a bubble, and he wanted out." The reality of the situation? Jada was struggling to let go of the young boy in her mind. But, he was becoming a man before her eyes. Emancipation was inevitable, and Jaden wanted to spread his wings.
After agreeing to let him move out, Jada said, "I knew the sooner I let him go, the faster he was going to come back." Sure enough, a mother knows best. Jaden never actually got around to filing the paperwork. And, when he finally packed up his bags in 2017, he moved only a short drive away from Malibu to Hidden Hills.
Willow's Struggle With Fame
As we witnessed years back, Jaden hit his limit and wanted out from the spotlight's blinding glare. But so did his little sister. Back in 2010, Willow was only ten-years-old when she gingerly stepped into the public atmosphere. Unfortunately, what no one noticed at the time, was that the fame was too much for the young child.
"Everyone was trying to make me better, trying to make my dream. But I didn't really understand what my dream entailed," Willow reflected. But by 2014, the fame that once placed her on top of the world quickly led to chaos. Thanks to rumors gone wild on the internet, an investigation from Child Protective Services commenced.
The Smith's Story Continues
Where do the Smiths go from here? There's no doubt about it: Will and Jada's Hollywood path has had quite an amount of challenging obstacles. But despite the hardships along the way, they've managed to come out even stronger on the other side. "We've really gotten to that new place of unconditional love," said a proud Jada.
We witnessed the couple start as star-crossed lovers and evolve into an unbreakable united force. All while they built an empire of their own in the process. While we cannot guess what the future has in store for the Smith family, we have a strong sense that this is just the beginning.