Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith are among the most successful celebrity couples. Their marriage, which has lasted more than 20 years, is also one of the longest among current Hollywood marriages. They have shown a strong commitment to making their marriage work and they have made it clear that they are in it for the long-term. However, probably because of the fact that other celebrity couples appear to treat their wedding vows flippantly, Will and Jada's determination to stay together has caused speculation and rumor-mongering.
Will Smith began his showbiz career as a rapper, releasing the single "Parents Just Don't Understand" with DJ Jazzy Jeff in 1986. It won the Grammy Award for Best Rap in 1989. He starred in the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996), and later in blockbusters such as Independence Day (1996) and Men in Black (1997). Jada also had a successful career before they met in 1997, having appeared in Bill Cosby's TV series A Different World (1991), and in The Nutty Professor (1996).
Since their marriage began, they have jointly amassed a fortune through their company Overbrook Entertainment, which produced movies such as I, Robot (2004), Hancock (2008), and The Karate Kid (2010). They celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary on Dec. 31, 2017, with Will posting a touching tribute to Jada.
As a tribute to the couple, we present 20 Interesting Facts About Will Smith And Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Marriage.
20 They Met When She Auditioned For A Role In The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith first met in 1994 when she auditioned for the role of Lisa Wilkes, the girlfriend of Will's character in the TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The casting director rejected her for the role because he thought she was too short. Jada is barely five feet tall, compared with Will's six feet and two inches. Actress Nia Long eventually got the role, but Will felt attracted to Jada.
At first, Jada was reluctant to enter into a relationship with Will, but they eventually began dating in 1995.
Recalling how they met, Smith once joked that Pinkett-Smith at first did not appreciate his sense of humor. Pinkett-Smith also said she was at first not impressed with the lanky kid, but after they had known each other for some time she noticed he had matured into a responsible man.
19 Jada Pinkett-Smith Had Expected To Be A Single Mom
Jada Pinkett-Smith revealed in a May 2016 interview at a VH1 Dear Mama event in NYC that, before she met Will Smith, she had not thought about getting married and had expected to be a single mom. She blamed her inability to envision life as a married woman to the circumstances of her upbringing - Pinkett-Smith had grown up in a single parent family. She said the circumstances of her upbringing made her to assume she would also be a single mom. However, her expectations changed when she met Will.
Earlier in 2011, amid rumors of a separation, Pinkett-Smith declared she was happy to be in a loving relationship with Will Smith, and grateful that she did not have to raise her children alone. She said she understood how tough it was to raise kids alone because she was raised by a single mother dealing with substance abuse.
18 They Wed In A Secret Ceremony On New Year’s Eve
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith wed on December 31, 1997, in a lavish and secretive New Year's Eve ceremony at The Cloisters, a medieval-style mansion near Baltimore, Maryland, where Jada grew up. The wedding ceremony was reportedly attended by about 100 families.
Pinkett-Smith wore a long-sleeved, high-necked, champagne-colored silk and velvet Badgley Mischka gown, while Smith wore a matching Badgley Mischka suit.
She was pregnant with their first son Jaden at the time. Pinkett-Smith revealed in an interview with People that things moved very fast after Smith popped the question in November. They got engaged, she got pregnant, and they married in December
The couple now live in their luxury home in Southern California with their three children, Trey, Jaden, and Willow. Willard Smith II "Trey" Smith, is Will's first son -- born November 11, 1992 -- from his previous marriage to Sheree Zampino.
17 Will’s Ex-Wife Sheree Zampino Defended Him
Before he married Jada Pinkett-Smith on December 31, 1997, Smith had divorced his first wife, the reality TV star Sheree Zampino, in 1995. Will and Sheree married on May 9, 1992, and divorced on December 10, 1995. Sheree is best known for her role in the VH1 reality show Hollywood Exes. The divorce led to a $900,000 lump sum settlement for Zampino, and nearly $290,000 per year for alimony and child support.
After divorcing Smith, Zampino married the footballer Terrell Fletcher in 2007. She filed for divorce from Terrell in November 2014.
After transgender actress Alexis Arquette alleged that Will and Jada were secretly gay and that Smith's marriage to Zampino ended after he was caught cheating, Zampino came to Smith's defense in January 2016. She posted a video to Facebook in which she insisted that Smith was straight and described Arquette's allegation as malicious, reckless, and destructive.
16 Jada's mom looks incredibly young
Will Smith And Jada Pinkett-Smith attended the wedding of Pinkett-Smith's 63-year-old mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones, in September 2016. It was the fourth marriage of the 63-year-old fitness and beauty enthusiast.
Pinkett-Smith caused a stir on internet in December 2014 when she posted a photo to her Instagram showing her 61-year-old mom during a family vacation. The photo showed off Banfield-Jones' toned body, with six-pack abs and bulging biceps.
Banfield-Jones had married Jada's father, Robsol Pinkett Jr., when she was 17. The young couple's marriage lasted only a few months and Pinkett-Smith was raised mostly by her grandmother. Banfield-Jones then married Warren Brown, a lawyer, when she was 27. She married Paul Jones in 1998 when she was 44, and Will and Jada attended the wedding.
15 The Couple Were Accused Of Pushing Their Children Too Hard
Concerns that the couple might be pushing their kids too hard and putting them under pressure to achieve early success began to arise after 12-year-old Jaden starred in The Karate Kid (2010). Willow also released her successful hit single "Whip My Hair" in October 2010, days before her 10th birthday.
There were allegations that Jaden came under a lot of pressure during the shooting of The Karate Kid (2010).
It was also reported that the grueling demands of touring after Willow released "Whip My Hair" took their toll on her and she got overwhelmed. Will Smith was eventually forced to acknowledge that Willow was not happy when she shaved her head bald during the tour.
He also wanted Willow to play the leading role in the remake of Annie in 2014, but she pulled out of the movie.
14 Reports of an open marriage
Will Smith's comments in a 2005 interview with the Daily Mail seemed to confirm rumors and speculation that they shared particular intimate practices. Smith said that he and Pinkett-Smith didn't believe in avoiding what was natural. He said they understood that sometimes they would be attracted to other people, but they had vowed not to forsake each other and to never hide their secrets from each other. He added that they were allowed to seek each other's permission before having extramarital affairs.
Pinkett-Smith also later made comments in a 2013 interview with HuffPost Live that appeared to confirm rumors that she and her husband were in an unconventional marriage relationship. She said Smith was allowed to do whatever he wanted provided he could look at himself in the mirror and feel OK about his actions. She insisted he was his own man and that it was not her duty to monitor him.
13 Pinkett-Smith Later Denied The Reports
After both had made public comments that appeared to confirm speculation about their marriage, Pinkett-Smith eventually denied tabloid reports that she and her husband were taking part in these indiscretions. During an appearance on Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live in 2017 to promote her movie Girls Trip (2017), Pinkett-Smith described the reports about she and Smith as the craziest of all the rumors about them.
Some fans noted she seemed unprepared when Cohen asked how she and Smith keep it hot after so long.
She hesitated at first, and then admitted that she was baffled by the question. She regained her composure quickly and explained that she and Smith have an amazing chemistry on different levels. She said they shared a lot of experiences together and that they were able to keep it hot because they liked each other.
12 Their Marriage As A Business Plan
Smith described his marriage to Jada Pinkett-Smith as a business plan during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in May 2010. He argued that it was necessary for married couples to view their relationship as a marriage business plan because it instills a sense of direction that helps to keep relationships going.
Although many viewers did not read any meaning into the expression marriage business plan, some thought it suggested that their relationship was arranged or a business partnership masquerading as a marriage. Others pointed to the fact of Smith and Pinkett-Smith's co-ownership of Overbrook Entertainment, which produced several of Smith's movies and argued that mutual business interests could explain the couple's commitment to their marriage despite issues over the years.
11 They Shared The Secrets Of Their Lasting Marriage
Despite the profusion of speculation and rumor-mongering about their marriage, the Smiths have often shared the secrets of the success of the marriage. Smith revealed in the 2005 interview with the Daily Mail that he and Pinkett-Smith deliberately spent time with Hollywood couples - such as Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman – whose marriages broke down.
They wanted to understand why other couple's relationships failed and to learn from their mistakes.
He also revealed in a 2015 interview with ET, that one of the reasons why their relationship has survived is that they did not take leaving their marriage as a readily available option. He also added that he and Pinkett-Smith worked hard on self-improvement to make themselves more acceptable to each other.
10 The Couple Admitted Going To Marriage Counseling
In 2016, Will Smith admitted in an interview with The Sun that he and Jada Pinkett-Smith attended marriage counseling after their relationship nearly broke down. He said that the counseling helped save their marriage. That was the first time that the couple ever admitted attending marriage counseling although they had admitted having problems in the past. The admission appeared to partly confirm past rumors that they were having relationship issues.
Will said that going to therapy was difficult, but that one of the most significant things about the counseling was that they were forced to reveal hidden truths to each other. The truths nearly caused them to break up permanently, but they eventually reconciled, and went on to forge a stronger relationship. He added that their marriage has survived because they put in a conscious effort to preserving their relationship.
9 How they spend their fortune
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith are well known for their charity work. The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation started in 1996. The foundation supports charitable projects in inner city communities designed to support underprivileged children in several areas, including education and health.
The Giving Back 30 list compiled by the Giving Back Fund (GBF) named Will and Jada Smith among the top 30 celebrities who made the largest contribution to inner city development projects in 2010. They took the number 20 spot due to their committed efforts through the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation to fund educational projects and inner city family welfare programs and various donations.
They donated a total of $900,000 to the Lupus Foundation, the Baltimore School for Arts, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Fox News also reported in 2008 that the tax returns of the couple's charitable foundation showed that in 2007, they gave $1.3 million in donations to a variety of charitable causes
8 They Boycotted Oscars 2016
After Will Smith failed to receive a Best Actor nomination for his 2015 movie Concussion, he and Pinkett-Smith announced they were boycotting the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony. Pinkett-Smith was the first to announce her intention to do so. She explained in a Facebook video that she was boycotting the ceremony to protest a lack of diversity in the nominations.
Referring to the fact that no African-American actor or actress was nominated for an Oscars that year, Pinkett-Smith alleged that African-Americans were always invited to the Oscars to entertain and give out the awards, but their artistic accomplishments were rarely recognized.
Smith also said he was boycotting the ceremony during an interview on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts. The issue sparked even more controversy after Spike Lee announced on Instagram that he also was boycotting the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony.
7 Will vs Janet Hubert
In January 2016, Janet Hubert, Will Smith's former The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star, uploaded a Facebook video in which she criticized Jada Pinkett-Smith's decision to boycott the Oscars. She alleged that Pinkett-Smith decided to boycott the Oscars only because Smith was not nominated for his role in Concussion (2015) and not because she wanted to stand up for African-Americans and minorities.
She accused the couple of insincerity and said they were fighting for themselves, pretending to be fighting for the African-American community.
In a separate interview with the Los Angeles Times, Hubert said no one cared if the Smiths skipped the Oscars. According to Hubert, the Smiths thought too highly of themselves although they were only entertainers. Hubert's beef with the Smiths goes back to the time she accused Will Smith of getting her fired from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
6 Smith's Touching 20th Wedding Anniversary Tribute
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary on December 31, 2017. On January 1, 2018, Will Smith posted a touching Instagram tribute to Pinkett-Smith, alongside a wedding photo.
He wrote in his tribute that they had learned a lot since they held hands and walked naively down the aisle 20 years ago. He compared the cultivation of a loving relationship to gardening, and said they have learned over the years to selflessly focus on helping each other to blossom into what they were meant to be rather than what each partner wanted the other to be.
He ended the tribute with a promise to remain devoted to her forever and to continue taking pleasure in nurturing her dreams.
5 They Denied Rumors About A $270 Million Divorce
In January 2018, a representative of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith dismissed an online rumor that they were getting a $270 million divorce. Some tabloids reported in January that the couple had been living apart for some months, and that they had recently commenced divorce proceedings.
These tabloids claimed that before the couple decided to end their marriage, they decided to try living apart for some time.
The separation allegedly gave them an opportunity to have a taste of single life for the first time after two decades of living together, and both enjoyed the experience.
The alleged source added that the couple had been drifting apart for several months because Pinkett-Smith wanted to start her own independent career and was tired of being tied to Smith.
Of course, the couple is still together as of today.
4 One of The Richest Celebrity Couples In The World
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have ranked consistently among the richest and highest-paid celebrity couples in the world since 2012. Their net worth is currently estimated at about $250 million.
According to Forbes, the couple were among the highest-paid celebrity couples in 2012, due mostly to Smith's roles in Men in Black 3 (2012) and Pinkett-Smith's role in the animated movie Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012). Also in 2016, Will Smith was ranked among the highest-paid actors in the world, earning about $20.5 million.
Smith's first major film role was in Independence Day (1996), the second highest grossing film ever at the time. He followed up his breakthrough success with a role in Men in Black (1997).
3 Pinkett-Smith Hasn't Landed A Major Film Role In Recent Years
After appearing in the Bill Cosby's TV series A Different World (1991), Jada Pinkett-Smith starred in The Nutty Professor (1996) with Eddie Murphy. She also starred in Menace II Society (1993) and Set It Off (1996) before she married Will Smith in 1997. She then played supporting roles in less well-received movies such as Woo (1998) and Return to Paradise (1998). She was pregnant with Willow when she appeared as Charisse Slocumb in Kingdom Come (2001).
Her most significant movie role since getting married was voicing Gloria the Hippo in the animated Madagascar series (2005-2012).
She played the role of the supporting character Niobe in The Matrix series (2003), and Fish Mooney in the TV series Gotham (TV series, 2014-2017). Her role in the upcoming movie Angel Has Fallen (2019) has not been confirmed.
2 The Floor Plan Of Their Home Symbolizes Their Love
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith moved into their 25,000 square foot home near Calabasas, Southern California in 2004. The house was featured in the September 2011 issue of Architectural Digest magazine.
According to the interior designer Judith Lance, the Mediterranean-style house was designed by architect Stephen Samuelson. It was decorated exclusively with handcrafted furniture all done with neutral hues and exotic designs inspired by Persian, Moroccan, Spanish, and Southwest American cultures.
The nine-bedroom house includes a meditation room, and a state-of-art recording studio where Willow recorded her smash hit single "Whip My Hair". It also has a basketball court, a tennis court, and three golf holes. According to Smith, the circular floor plan of the house symbolizes the infinite cycle that he and Pinkett-Smith hoped for their love.
1 Pinkett-Smith Insisted Her Relationship With Tupac Was Platonic
During a July 2017 appearance on SiriusXM's "Sway in The Morning" to promote her movie Girls Trip (2017), Jada talked openly for the first time about her relationship with the late rapper Tupac Shakur. She revealed that she befriended Shakur on her first day at the Baltimore School of Arts.
She said God eventually rescued her from a life of crime and that she had hoped God would do the same for Shakur.
She denied rumors that she and Shakur were lovers. She said that the biopic All Eyez on Me (2017) misrepresented several incidents in her relationship with the late rap star. She revealed that her relationship with Shakur was not about romance but survival, and that it was her criminal past that brought her into contact with him.
Do you know of any interesting facts about Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith's marriage that we missed? Share with us in the comments.