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Will Smith and I have been separated for 7 years - Jada Pinkett Smith

The couple have been married since 1997.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith got tired of trying and got separated in 2016 [Chris Pizzello/AP]

She revealed this in a clip from her upcoming primetime special episode on NBC News with Hoda Kotb. According to her, she and Smith had not gone public with their separation because they were not “ready yet” at the time. She also clarified that they are not yet divorced but have been living separate lives since 2016.

Speaking to Kotb, Pinkett-Smith stressed that the reason they kept the separation under wraps was that they were still trying to figure out their relationship dynamic, and how best to go about their partnership.

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She said, "We were still trying to figure out between the two of us, how to be in partnership, How do we present that to people? We hadn’t figured that out.”

When she was asked why the marriage crumbled, she noted that they were both living in an illusion of what they wanted themselves to be and by 2016, they got tired of trying.

In terms of their impending divorce, Pinkett-Smith noted that they just couldn't go through with it because of a promise they made to each other to never get divorced.

"Why it fractured, that's a lot of things," the actress stated, "I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be. I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce, We will work through whatever, and I just haven't been able to break that promise."

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The couple's marriage has been under scrutiny for years, especially after she confessed that she was involved in a sexual 'entanglement' with singer August Alsina, while still married to Smith. She made this revelation during an episode of her talk show Red Table Talk in 2020, with Smith as her guest who was visibly hurt by the confession.

After that came the news-breaking event when Smith slapped his long-time friend Chris Rock, right across the face on live television for making Pinkett-Smith the butt of his joke. This occurred during the 2021 Oscars award and the slap took everyone by shock, including her, who confessed that she thought it was a skit. For his action in her defence, Smith was banned from Oscars events for 10 years, he then resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

The couple share two children, Jaden Smith who is 25 years old and 22-year-old Willow Smith. In her upcoming memoir, Worthy, Pinkett Smith shares more details about her marriage, professional background, and early years.

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