“Jada never believed in conventional marriage … Jada had family members that had an unconventional relationship,” Smith, 53, said in an interview for the November cover of 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?” Smith continued. “And for the large part of our relationship, monogamy was what we chose, not thinking of monogamy as the only relational perfection.”
Smith and Pinkett Smith wed in December 1997 and later welcomed two children: a son, Jaden Smith, and a daughter, Willow Smith, born in 1998 and 2000. Throughout their marriage, they’ve been vocal about how their relationship has evolved and why they don’t refer to each other as married anymore.
Smith and Pinkett Smith, a star of the 2017 movie “Girls Trip,” have also revealed details of their relationship on “Red Table Talk,” the Facebook Watch talk show hosted by Pinkett Smith.
In an episode released in July 2020, Pinkett Smith sat down with her husband for a frank conversation about her “entanglement” with the R&B singer August Alsina.
Pinkett Smith said she and Alsina had a relationship that began a few years earlier, when she and Smith were “going through a difficult time” and broke up. The actress said that she and Smith “were separated amicably” and that Alsina was “not a home-wrecker.”
Toward the end of the episode, Smith said that he and Pinkett Smith had “really gotten to that new place of unconditional love.” The stars also alluded to Smith having a relationship outside of their marriage but didn’t elaborate.
“There’s a real power in just knowing somebody’s riding with you no matter what, and you really can’t know that until you’ve gone through some stuff,” Smith said, adding, “Imma get you back first, and then—”
“You gonna get me back?” Pinkett Smith said. “I think you got me back. I think we’re good on that, OK?”
They laughed before Smith said, “OK, that’s probably true.”
In his new GQ interview, Smith said that while this unique dynamic had worked for them, he wouldn’t recommend it for others.
“We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way,” he said. “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.”
Smith’s interviewer, Wesley Lowery, wrote in his GQ profile that the actor “delicately explained” to him that Pinkett Smith wasn’t “the only one engaging in other sexual relationships.” Lowery said he sensed that Smith wanted to say more but decided against it when they spoke weeks later.
“It may seem hard to believe, but I would lose sleep over not giving you the answer that I know you could use,” Smith told Lowery. “I want to help you, I want you to succeed, I want you to have a headline. But by the same token, I don’t want to deal with the backlash of that in the world.”