Jada Pinkett Smith: 'I knew that I was not built for conventional marriage'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Jada Pinkett Smith doesn’t need to be seated at the red table to dish up details about her marriage with Will Smith.

The actress and Red Table Talk host has been quite candid about her “unique” union — and even had the Aladdin actor on her Facebook show last year to talk about their ups and downs, including breaking up within their marriage eight years ago and rebuilding it from top to bottom. And in a new interview, she talks more about that unconventional union — in which they don’t refer to themselves as husband and wife or celebrate their anniversaries anymore.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith on the red carpet at the Aladdin premiere in May. (Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

“I knew that I was not built for conventional marriage,” Pinkett Smith said to the U.K.’s The Guardian. “Even the word ‘wife’: It’s a golden cage, swallow the key. Even before I was married, I was like, ‘That’ll kill me.’ And it damn near did!”

And that, she said, is precisely why she talks about their marital woes on the show.

“Why wouldn’t you share what you’ve been through, when you see that other people are out there, trying to figure this crap out?” Pinkett Smith asked. “We decided to make it public because it’s part of the healing. I feel like if we don’t have real understanding about it, I don’t know if interpersonal relationships are possible.”

Pinkett Smith added that while she had apprehensions about marriage, they didn’t have to do with Smith — just the institution and the way women are viewed within marriage.

“Will is my life partner and I could not ask for a better one,” she said. “I adore him, I never want people to think it was Will I didn’t want to marry — he and I were talking about this the other day. But I can assure you that some of the most powerful women in the world feel caged and tied, because of the sacrifices they have to make to be in that position. So I wanted to talk about how we really feel about marriage. How do we really feel about different, unconventional relationships? How do we really feel about raising children? Honestly.”

Pinkett Smith said that she relied on her inner circle of females to help get her through the down periods of relationship woes — and not just her Red Table Talk co-hosts, mom Adrienne Banfield-Norris and daughter Willow Smith. (She is also mom to son Jaden and son Trey, from Smith’s first marriage.)

“When I was going through a really tough time in my life, there were three women, three friends, who were so honest with me,” she said listing actresses Salma HayekPauletta Washington (wife of Denzel) and the late Ruby Dee. “I mean so honest with me, saying some stuff you would never expect anyone to say — that they re-directed my journey. It wasn’t necessarily advice, it was that they were willing to spend time with me and share.”

These days, things between the couple are really great. During a chat on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week, Pinkett Smith said she’s never been more content.

“I think I really thought happiness had a lot to do with pleasure and I realize that happiness is about peace,” said the actress, who appears in the new film Angel Has Fallen . “I am the most peaceful I’ve ever been in my life, so I am the happiest.”

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