When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock over Rock’s tepid joke at the 2022 Oscars, people immediately blamed Jada Pinkett Smith. In a recent interview with Hoda Kotb for TODAY, Jada herself described the backlash, saying that the public thought of her as “the adultress wife” who “made Will Smith go to ‘Red Table Talk‘ to discuss her extra-marital affair with August Alsina and “now look at what she’s done. She has the power with an eyeroll to make him go up and slap somebody on stage.” Funny enough, as a blogger with an upper-level legal education who is by no means a troll — Jada’s characterization is EXACTLY what I thought. Though we are all responsible for our own acts, especially when they involve physical violence, Will Smith looked completely unhinged on Oscar night, and I could not help but wonder if his tumultuous personal life was to blame. Call me traditional, but a husband sitting beside his wife as she publicly discusses her “entanglement” with a much younger man who made her happy in a way her husband could not, could take a mental and emotional toll on said husband.
For those who do not know, ‘Red Table Talk’ was a talk show on on Facebook Watch hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith, and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris. The series featured candid conversations about relationships, family dynamics, mental health, addiction and other personal and social issues. Most importantly, the show was marketed as the mecca of truth talking. Jada often discussed how she made her marriage to Will Smith work, implying that the couple had risen above many of their past challenges and they were proud to say that “divorce is not an option.” For years there were rumors that the twosome had an open marriage and they vehemently denied it. It was not until August Alsina exposed his years long relationship with Jada, that the façade began to crack. The Smiths were now forced to address the state of their union, and they did it at the Red Table. Only they didn’t really do it. They simply revealed that they had briefly separated, NOT that they weren’t together at all. Though “divorce” might not be an option, a long-term separation certainly was. We now know that the power couple have been living separately for SEVEN years. For all intents and purposes — they are divorced.
Hollywood is a funny place. When you live here, you’ll often hear tales of A-lister adultery, drug use, and open relationships, and it’s always met with my personal eyeroll. “Why would anyone fake their relationship for YEARS,” I’d ask in the most agitated of tones, often chalking these rumors up to conspiracy theories. Then I’d think of Rock Hudson and remind myself that all things are possible. BUT there hasn’t been a Rock Hudson-style fake marriage in decades…until now.
Jada and Will faked it. And they REALLY faked it. They walked red carpets, they joked about keeping their relationship hot, they hosted people at their home for ‘Red Table Talk,’ and so on. And why would anyone put so much effort into faking a relationship? Because Jada and Will were a brand, and it served their brand to stay together. Now that Will’s reputation is irreparably tarnished, it no longer serves a purpose to pretend. Jada’s press tour to promote her new book, ‘Worthy,’ is simply another attempt to preserve a public image that was erroneously predicated on authenticity and honesty. Good luck. We’ve seen the wizard, and we’re not going back.