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Jada Pinkett Smith on Will Smith, Chris Rock and Her New Book, ‘Worthy’

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Pinkett Smith also unpacks the vitriol she received for rolling her eyes at Rock’s joke — a reaction that some suggested spurred Smith to storm the stage — to illustrate how women are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. “It was easy to spin the story of how the perfect Hollywood megastar had fallen to his demise because of his imperfect wife,” she writes. “Blaming the woman is nothing new.”

“How is it that a woman can be so irrelevant and culpable at the same time?” she asks. “I had to think about the narrative out there of me as the adulterous wife, who had now driven her husband to madness with the command of one look. I had to take responsibility for my part in aiding that false narrative’s existence. I also had to chuckle at the idea that the world would think I wielded that amount of control over Will Smith. If I had that amount of control over Will, chile, my life would have been entirely different these damn near three decades. Real talk!

By adulterous, Pinkett Smith is referring to her relationship with August Alsina, which she called an “entanglement” on a 2020 episode of “Red Table Talk” where — after the information surfaced, becoming a public spectacle — she and Smith hashed out the already years-old chapter of their lives. The conversation ended with laughter and a fist-bump to their slogan: “We ride together, we die together, bad marriage for life.”

The truth is the Smiths weren’t together in the traditional sense when she was with Alsina, nor are they now. But they are not in an open marriage, nor are they uncoupled, polyamorous or divorced. They are something else altogether: life partners in family and business, long maintaining an agreement they call “a relationship of transparency.” In recent years, they’ve lived separately. As a 50th birthday present to herself, she bought her own place, moving out of their Calabasas compound.

In a way, her new home, also in Calabasas, closes the loop on a dream that started before they dated, when she was renovating an “old-world tiny” farmhouse on the outskirts of Baltimore that sat on an expanse of land that she envisioned filling with rescue dogs and cats, and a horse for her mother. During that time, she’d gotten a phone call from Will Smith, who’d recently split from his first wife. “You seeing anybody?” he’d asked her. “Uhm, no,” she replied. “Good,” he said. “You seeing me now.”

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