On September 27, GQ released its November cover interview with the rapper-turned-actor, titled, “Introducing the Real Will Smith.” The headline was apt, considering how candid the King Richard star got about his relationship with Jada. The Hollywood couple has been married since 1997 and share two children: 23-year-old Jaden and 20-year-old Willow.
For starters, GQ writer Wesley Lowery was able to obtain a draft of Will’s upcoming memoir that discusses a period of time when his and Jada’s marriage “wasn’t working.” In the memoir, Will discloses a series of “sacrifices” Jada made on his behalf—from taking part in a traditional wedding she didn’t want to turning down the chance for her band, Wicked Wisdom, to open for Guns N’ Roses so Will could film The Pursuit of Happyness.
“This would be the first of many compromises Jada would make over the years that painfully negated her own values,” Will writes of the wedding, per GQ, years before he purchased a 256-acre compound his wife was also against. “Nothing good comes from spending your hard-earned money on a ‘family home’ that your wife doesn’t want. You are putting a down payment on discord and for years you will be paying off a mortgage of misery. Or, worse.”
Things came to a head in 2011, after Jada’s 40th birthday celebration led to a fight so awful. it left their daughter in tears, begging them to stop. “Our marriage wasn’t working,” Will writes. “We could no longer pretend. We were both miserable and clearly, something had to change.”
Eventually, Will and Jada were able to save their relationship through “trust and freedom.” And yes, as Lowery writes in the profile, “At some point, their relationship stopped being monogamous.”
“Jada never believed in conventional marriage… Jada had family members that had an unconventional relationship,” Will told GQ. “So she grew up in a way that was very different than how I grew up. There were significant endless discussions about, what is relational perfection? What is the perfect way to interact as a couple? And for the large part of our relationship, monogamy was what we chose, not thinking of monogamy as the only relational perfection.”
He continued, “We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way. And marriage for us can’t be a prison. And I don’t suggest our road for anybody. I don’t suggest this road for anybody. But the experiences that the freedoms that we’ve given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”