They are one of the most recognized, likeable, and respected families in Hollywood. They photograph well, they’re always smiling, and the kids look like a perfect blend of their mom and dad! But I think we’re all jaded enough to know that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to famous families. Just look at the Kardashians, the Jacksons, the Osbournes, to name a few.
Will, 52, and Jada, 49, have more than one skeleton in their mansion’s closet. While Jada has come clean about her affair, it doesn’t mean that all is water under the bridge. And as for the Smith children, they are no longer the cute, little kids that starred in The Pursuit of Happyness (Jaden) or made that super popular song Whip My Hair (Willow). They’re still cute and all, but they’re grown up and going on their own paths now.
Here’s a look at the Smith family, starting with a timeline of how Jada and Will’s love story began and evolved…
1994: When Will Met Jada
The two briefly met in 1994 when Will was 26 years old, and Jada was 23. Jada had auditioned for a role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Will’s on-screen girlfriend. She didn’t get the part though, and you know why? It was because the five-foot actress was simply too short for six-foot-one Will. The role ended up going to Nia Long.
Despite their major height difference, Jada would soon become Will’s leading lady. But their romance would be strictly off-screen. To date, the couple has appeared in two films together (Ali and Welcome to Hollywood). They also produce movies through their joint production company, Overbrook Entertainment.
1995: An Aha Moment
During a 2018 Red Table Talk appearance, Will revealed that he was attracted to Jada when he saw her on the college-themed TV show A Different World. The thing is, though, that Smith was married at the time to a woman named Sheree Fletcher, and the two have a son together named Trey. So he didn’t act on it, despite having later said that, “I knew there was something in our energy that would be magic.”
Will also revealed that he knew Jada was the one. He had an “aha moment” in a restaurant bathroom while he was on a date with Sheree. “I had a realization I wasn’t with the person I was supposed to be with,” he said. “I was sitting in a stall, and I was crying and laughing uncontrollably, and I knew Jada was the woman I was supposed to be with, but I was never getting divorced.”
1995 – 1997: From Dates to Wedding Bells
Will explained that he went back to their table, sat down with Sheree, and went on with his life. It wasn’t until Sheree ended things with Will that he was free to woo Jada. He asked her if she was “seeing anyone,” and when she said “no,” he told her, “Cool, you’re seeing me now.” How smooth.
After that, Jada moved from Baltimore to California, and the two started dating. Will and Sheree officially divorced in late 1995. By New Year’s Eve 1997, Will and Jada were married. “One day we got engaged, and the next day we found out we were pregnant,” Jada told People. When she walked down the aisle in a velvet, champagne gown, she was three months pregnant with her first child.
Not a Fairytale Wedding
They married in a private ceremony because they were trying to avoid any potential leaks to the media. Thus, there are very few photos of their wedding day floating around. All sounds swell, right? Well, as Jada revealed on Red Table Talk, it wasn’t such a fairy tale. “I was so upset that I had to have a wedding,” she recalled. “I was so pissed. I went crying down the freakin’ aisle getting married.”
Though she loved him, Jada never wanted to get married. But once she learned she was pregnant, she said she felt pressure from her mother and society to tie the knot. That said, the married couple did things a little differently. Rumors began that the two have an open relationship, but neither Will nor Jada have confirmed that.
1998: Jaden Is Born
You know what they say: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. They welcomed Jada’s first and Will’s second son, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, on July 8, 1998. It didn’t take long for Jaden to follow in his parents’ celebrity footsteps. He caught the acting bug pretty early and inherited the music gene, too.
Unlike Jada, their son starred in two movies with his dad: After Earth (in 2013) and The Pursuit of Happyness (in 2003). Jaden also released his debut album in 2017, called Syre. Will even remixed his son’s hit song, Icon, in a tribute video in 2018.
2000: Willow Is Born
On October 31, 2000, about two years later, the Smiths welcomed their first daughter together, Willow Camille Reign Smith. According to Will, they conceived Willow on a drunken trip to Mexico on VH1’s Dear Mama special. “It’s like you take Jada Pinkett Smith and an obscure town in Mexico and some tequila, and you end up with great kids!”
Willow also became a name in the entertainment scene, appearing in I Am Legend with her dad. Her first song, Whip My Hair, was released in 2010 and put her on the map. These days, she spends her time modeling and co-hosting the Red Table Talk show with both her mother and grandmother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones. Willow still sings and performs at music festivals.
2013: Jada Denies the Open Relationship Rumor
On April 3, 2013, during an interview with HuffPost Live, Jada commented on her marriage, raising a few eyebrows. She explained that she’s always told Will, “You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be okay.”
The way she sees it, at the end of the day, he “is his own man. I’m here as his partner, but he is his own man.” She said it’s up to him to decide who he wants to be. This statement led many to believe that she was basically admitting to being in an open relationship with Will. She later clarified her statement on Facebook. “The statement I made… has illuminated the need to discuss the relationship between trust and love and how they co-exist,” she wrote.
2015: The Smiths Confirmed They’re Solid
This was actually the second time.The first time was in 2006 when Will made it clear to MTV News that “divorce can’t be an option.” He explained, “With Jada, I stood up in front of God and said, ‘Til death do us part. So there are two possible outcomes. One, we are going to be together till death, or two, I am dead.”
But that didn’t stop the rumors from swirling. Then, in 2015, Will was forced to state the obvious yet again on Facebook: “In the interest of redundant, repetitious, over & over-again-ness, Jada and I are, NOT GETTING A DIVORCE!”
2016: Jada’s “Entanglement” with August Alsina
On one episode of Red Table Talk, Jada explained that she and R&B singer August Alsina got romantically involved during her brief separation from Will. Although it wasn’t a divorce (we know how Will feels about that), Jada said she and Will were “over.”
“I just wanted to feel good, it had been so long since I felt good,” she said about her relationship with August, whom she was helping with his struggle with addiction. During their chat on Jada’s show, Will pushed her to be clear about what her relationship with August was like. As Jada put it, she “got into an entanglement with August.”
Will Gave August His Blessing
Around the same time, some uncertain reports circulated about Will being involved with model Heidy De la Rosa. Jada said she began a friendship with August, which turned into more once she and her husband hit a rough patch.
In an interview with radio host Angela Yee, August revealed details about his involvement with Jada. “I actually sat down with Will and had a conversation,” he said. He explained that thanks to their transformation from marriage to a life partnership, Will basically gave him his “blessing.” August also claimed that he lost money and relationships due to the rumors about him and Jada.
Ride Together, Die Together
Jada and Will tried “everything” to get away from each other, only to realize that it simply wasn’t possible. She also said her relationship with August ended once she and Will reconciled, and apparently, she hasn’t been in touch with August for quite some time.
The Smiths have ultimately reconciled and have “no secrets.” They claim they share what they call unconditional love. “I told you the first year we were married, that I could love you through anything,” Will told Jada on her show. The two then bumped fists as they jokingly recited his Bad Boys movie motto: “We ride together, we die together. Bad marriage for life.”
2018: Jada Invited Sheree to Red Table Talk
On a “Motherhood” episode of Red Table Talk, Jada invited an unexpected guest: Will’s ex-wife, Sheree Fletcher. The two women were totally respectful towards one another during their candid discussion about their rocky past and how Sheree and Will’s son, Trey, led to them becoming friends in a blended family.
In July of the same year, Will referred to Jada as his “life partner,” not his wife. Having been together for over two decades, the Smiths explained that they’re beyond relationship labels and conventional unions. “We don’t even say we’re married anymore,” he said. “We refer to ourselves as ‘life partners.’… She has my support til death, and it feels so good to get to that space.”
2019: Will’s Extreme 50th Birthday
As a promise to her husband – to do whatever he wanted for his 50th – Jada went all out (and all up) to go skydiving in Dubai with her “life partner” of over 22 years. Will documented the whole thing on his new Facebook Watch series called Will Smith’s Bucket List.
“Jada, you know, she’s been the glue of our family, and a mother and a wife,” he said in the video. “Our life can be wildly constricting for her. I think she was going to experience the greatest rush of freedom and exhilaration that she’s ever had in her life.”
2020: A New Dynamic
During the pandemic, Jada said she felt as though she doesn’t know Will at all. According to her, Will and her are learning to be friends. “You get into all these ideas of what intimate relationships are supposed to look like, what marriages are supposed to be.”
Another thing that they are learning to become accustomed to is their blended family. While there are so many famous blended families, none seem as close as Will and Jada’s brood. It’s even more impressive when you realize that they’re all in show business.
Let’s take a look at the kids now…
Trey: The Son from Will’s Previous Marriage
Will and Trey may have a great relationship now, but it wasn’t always this way. Will took to Instagram to gush over his close bond with his son, revealing that it was a long and hard road to get to this point.
The two were in Abu Dhabi at the F1. And Trey sad to his dad, “You know what, dad? I just realized you’re not just my dad… I’m pretty sure you’re my best friend.” Will explained in his caption that they “struggled for years” after his divorce from Sheree.
Jaden: The Rebel of the Family
Jaden is an independent kid! The 22-year-old was still a teenager when he asked his mom if he could be legally emancipated. As you can imagine, it nearly broke her heart. She referred to that moment as “one of the most heartbreaking moments of [her] life.”
He told her, “Mom, I have to leave here to live my life.” She remembers thinking to herself, “He’s right, and that “the time is now.” Although Jaden never went through with the process, his mom understood that her son needed his own space to grow.
Jaden Has His Own House
It’s hard to believe Jaden is already 22 years old. It seems like just a few years ago that he was starring alongside his dad in The Pursuit of Happyness. And he’s had a ton of success due to his music and acting skills. It’s one reason why he wanted room to grow creatively.
But Jaden couldn’t live with his parents forever. Back in 2013, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Will expressed his concern over the floors in his home, as Jaden liked to skateboard through the house.
The New Kid on the Block
Jaden told Ellen that as soon as he has a movie that’s bigger than one of his dad’s movies, then he can get his own house. By the time he was 18, he got his own house. Back in 2017, Jaden moved into his own place. According to Daily Mail, Jaden’s home is worth $4 million.
He lives in a gated community in Hidden Hills, California. The mansion has five bedrooms, six bathrooms and is surrounded by green. His neighbors, though, reportedly weren’t too thrilled about the new kid on the block.
Jaden and His Entourage
Will and Jada lived in the area while they were building their huge compound in Calabasas. Will’s business partner, James Lassiter, lived in the home for a while, up until Jaden and his buddies took over the place.
According to his neighbor, “He has a sense of entitlement, bravado. He doesn’t care if security reprimands him or gives him a warning, he just continues to do whatever he pleases.” Another neighbor said this used to be a quiet neighborhood, but “Jaden and his entourage are turning it into their own personal kingdom.”
The Kid Has Expensive Style
Speaking of entourage, Jaden is the kind of “rich kid” that likes to prove he comes from money. For instance, he’s had Cartier jewelry since he was young. Some of Jaden’s sneakers cost him well over $100,000 a pair.
His first car was a Tesla Model X, which runs around $130,000. Speaking of money, the Smith family home is a 25,000-square -foot property in California that’s worth $42 million. It’s custom-built, too, of course. But when it comes to the Smith kids, Willow isn’t very much like her brother.
Willow: Daddy’s Little Girl
Willow dabbled in acting, like in the movie I Am Legend, but most people remember her as the Smith kid that that climbed the Billboard Hot 100 chart with her hit single Whip My Hair. The sudden burst of fame came when she was only 10 years old, which was hard for her to deal with.
Willow told her mom on Red Table Talk, “I definitely had to forgive you and daddy for that whole Whip My Hair thing.” Willow revealed that her dad was “so harsh at certain times,” and it took years for her to move on.
Willow explained that it took her a few years to regain trust “for not feeling like I was listened to, or no one cared what I felt during that time.” She also admitted to forgiving herself – and that she felt guilty because “everyone [was] trying to make [her] better, trying to make [her] dream.”
Once Will and Jada realized how much their daughter was suffering, they did everything they could to repair it and help her find her own happiness. Looks like Willow wasn’t the only one feeling guilty. It turns out that Willow was keeping a lot of things in…
Talking About Serious Issues
Today, the young starlet has helped many of her fans by talking about real and serious issues like depression and body dysphoria when she’s on Red Table Talk. But when she was 10, around the time she became suddenly famous, she started harming herself.
Willow was only 10 years old when she began the awful habit of cutting herself due to all the pressure of the music industry. Willow opened up about her history of self-harm in an emotional chat with her mother and grandmother on their talk show.
The Whole “Whip My Hair” Thing
Willow and Jada discussed “loss” on the show. Willow was asked what her biggest loss was/is. Her answer: her sanity. It was after “that whole Whip My Hair thing” when she stopped doing singing lessons and was in limbo,
She started questioning who she was, what her purpose was, and if there was anything besides “this.” After her tour and the promotions, they wanted her to finish her album. But she didn’t want to. She got in a “lull” and started “listening to a lot of dark music.” That’s when she started cutting herself.
Jada Found Out on Their Show
Willow never told her mother about it until they spoke about it for the first time on the talk show. Willow confessed that she had one friend whom she would confide in about what she did to herself. Now that she’s out of that dark period, she’s able to talk openly about it.
She said that it was a very short period and that it’s been several years since she stopped self-harming. She admitted that one night she said to herself, “this is actually psychotic.” She just stopped then and there.
Facing the Hate
Willow said she never talked about it because it was “such a short, weird point in my life.” Luckily, she was able to pull herself out of it. As she pointed out in the video, many adolescent girls are struggling with self-harm in today’s society.
There was a point when Willow shaved her head when she was younger, which Jada got backlash for. Many criticized her for “letting” her daughter do that. But Jada didn’t hold back in letting the online trolls know that Willow’s choices are her own and no one else’s.
Chris Rock Felt Will’s Hate
Speaking of facing the hate, 2022’s Oscars had a major jaw-dropping moment. At the 94th Academy Awards, Will made everyone’s jaws drop when he walked up on stage and slapped Chris Rock after the presenter made a quip about Jada being GI Jane (she’s bald from her condition, alopecia). Anyways, it was a shocking moment, and apparently, one that Jaden was proud of.
Following the awards show, Jaden showed support for his dad on Twitter. “And That’s How We Do It,” he posted after the broadcast ended. He also posted another Tweet with a photo of himself wearing sunglasses in the backseat of a car: “My Dad’s Speech Made Me Cry.”
Willow Wrote a Letter to Tupac
As Jada’s romantic life became the topic of many discussion boards, one thing that surfaced was a letter Willow wrote to the late rapper Tupac Shakur. The letter dates back over 10 years when Willow was still a child. Her letter begs Tupac to “come back” to her mom.
For those who don’t know, there was a time when Jada and Tupac shared a close and complex relationship. According to Colorlines, Willow posted her letter online back in 2012 when she was 11 years old. But in her caption, she noted that she actually wrote the letter “years” earlier.
The letter reads: “Dear Tupac, I know you are alive someplace. I think that my mommy really misses you. Can you please come back? Can you come back so mommy and me can be happy! I really wish you were here… I really do! Love, Willow.”
It’s rather a sweet sentiment that she wrote such a thing. Tupac and Jada met and became fast friends in the 1980s when they were both enrolled in the Baltimore School for the Arts in Maryland. “As soon as he approached me, he was like a magnet,” Jada once said in an interview.
Getting Sucked In
Jada explained that once you paid attention to Tupac, he “kind of sucked you in.” The two hit it off, and according to Jada, she didn’t think either one of them thought they would make it in the way they did, “but we knew we were gonna do something.”
Jada told Howard Stern that she and Tupac tried at one point to take their relationship to the next level. It didn’t work out, though. They probably would have given it another try, but by the time the timing was right, she had already started dating Will.
The Image of Perfection
Will told The Breakfast Club that Jada always loved Tupac and that she considered him “the image of perfection.” Tupac returned the love in a poem. In it, he called Jada his “heart in human form.” Sadly, the rapper-poet died in 1996.
Jada has continued to keep Tupac’s memory alive, speaking fondly of him whenever she gets the chance to and sharing memories of their time together. She once confessed to MTV that she thinks about the late rapper “every single day.” Jada tweeted: “I’m still not over that letter from Willow trying to summon Tupac’s spirit to make her momma and her happy again.”
The One Sentence That Changed Everything
Despite all the hoopla and the controversy around Jada and Will’s marriage, it was something else their daughter said that made Jada realize her marriage and the family dynamic needed to change completely. Apparently, Will became obsessed with the idea of creating the perfect family.
And because of that, a divide started growing between him and his eldest son, which caused unhappiness all around. Eventually, Willow noticed it wasn’t working. Will revealed the one sentence that changed his relationship with his wife as well as his three kids. She said: “Oh daddy, it’s so sad…Mommy isn’t it sad? Daddy has a picture of a family in his mind, and it’s not us.”
The Whole Dynamic Needed Fixing
It came to a point where Jada said, “I can’t do this like this anymore,” which came in response to being fed up with the image their family was trying to portray. The truth of the matter was that Will had a strained relationship with his son, and he needed to fix it.
It was then that Will and Jada understood that the idea of “husband and wife” wasn’t working for them personally. That’s when they decided to re-evaluate their marriage, and it was Jada who pushed Smith to rebuild his relationship with his son.
He Was Failing “Miserably”
Will admitted to getting so caught in making his family seem perfect that, as a result, he let go of his connection to Trey. But from that point on, he vowed to create a better father-son bond and build a relationship that he and Trey could be proud of.
“I was failing miserably,” Will said of himself as a father. It makes sense now why he was so emotional when Trey eventually said those nice things to him on their trip to Abu Dhabi. It just goes to show, folks, that it’s never too late!
He Wound Up Marrying Sheree Instead
Will and Jada have shared a lot about themselves on Red Table Talk. Will revealed some details about the early days when he found himself attracted to Jada while still being married. He said he went to a taping of A Different World, the show Jada was on at the time, in order to see her.
According to Will, he went there to meet Jada, but he wound up meeting Sheree instead. “I didn’t meet Jada that day. We had all these near misses.” Will and Sheree ended up getting married in 1992 and had their son the same year.
The Spark Was Still There
It was later on, around 1994, when he eventually met Jada, that he realized that she was “the one.” The spark he was convinced he would feel with her was still there when they finally met up and talked outside of an L.A. jazz club.
While Will knew his connection with Jada was strong, he couldn’t fathom getting a divorce. He made a promise to Sheree and was a man of his word. But she was the one to pull the plug. Sheree filed for divorce on Valentine’s Day, and they were officially separated by December 1995.
He Got Big, She Got Small
Since they divorced, there was no infidelity involved by the end of their marriage. Sheree later noted she and Will were young when they became an item and that they simply grew apart. She wrote on Facebook: “Our marriage ended because we were so young. It’s just a lot of responsibility. Marriage is not easy. Especially at that age.”
She also mentioned that Will’s rising status and career focus also played a role in the end of their marriage. As Will was getting bigger and bigger, she felt as though she was becoming smaller and smaller.
The Ultimate Failure
Will was devastated by the loss. “Divorce was the worst thing in my adult life,” he confessed. It was “the ultimate failure” for him. He claimed that with all the hurt he experienced in his life, nothing touches the failure of divorcing his two-year-old son’s mother.
As for Jada, she had a tough time accepting, at first, that Sheree would always be in their lives. The two women had a few tough phone calls, but Will encouraged his new wife to accept his previous one because she was, after all, the mother of his child. Ultimately, Jada came to terms with it.
How Jada Coped With It
One of the coping mechanisms that Jada used when needing to get used to having Sheree in her like was coming to understand that Sheree “gifted” her. According to The Oprah Magazine, Jada put that into her psychology – that Sheree’s not an enemy. Rather, she did her a favor.
And on top of that, she had to fully accept that Sheree is Trey’s mother, which was a realization she experienced as her relationship with Trey deepened. It took time, but Jada is at peace with Will’s past and everything that occurred between him and Sheree.
Being Will Smith’s Ex
For over 25 years now, Sheree has been labeled “Will Smith’s ex-wife.” And apparently, she’s okay with that. “It could be worse. I could be connected to Charles Manson,” the 53-year-old told ET. But she made it clear that she’s not in anybody’s shadow.
When Sheree was invited to Jada’s Red Table Talk, she brought Jada to tears when she thanked her for “loving my baby,” referring to her son Trey. As for Will’s testament to his first divorce being his “ultimate failure,” Sheree wasn’t too pleased to hear that.
No “Failure” Here
She explained that she doesn’t want to be in the same sentence with “failure.” She added that while their marriage didn’t work, they are still a success – the love, the co-parenting, the journey – all of it.
Sheree was a cast member on VH1’s reality show Hollywood Exes in 2012. It’s a Real Housewives-style show whose cast is made up of women who were once married to famous men. But while it’s all about the exes of male stars, the show gave each woman a chance to show off who they really were.