Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's marriage has survived its fair share of challenges

By Alexia Fernández
July 15, 2020 08:00 AM
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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's revealing Red Table Talk conversation shattered records for the Facebook Watch show, but behind the scenes, saving their marriage was anything but easy.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, a source close to the couple says their marital problems were exacerbated by their fame, and that the Bad Boys star, 51, felt "more of the pressure" to make their high-profile marriage work.

"They're two different people trying to make it, and on top of it there's this huge spotlight on them," says the source. "People are always going to grow and change, but most don't have the world watching their every move while they do that."

  • For more about the Smiths, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

While the two have experienced their ups and downs, a friend of Pinkett Smith tells PEOPLE the Girls Trip star has never stopped loving Smith.

"She would be the first person to admit marriage is hard work, but she will always love Will," says the friend. "Even when they haven't been together, Jada always spoke of her marriage as something special."

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
| Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

The couple revealed in last week's Red Table Talk that they had briefly separated about four years ago, and during that time, Pinkett Smith, 48, found herself in "a different kind of entanglement" with a friend and singer August Alsina.

With some prodding from her husband, the actress said, "Yes, it was a relationship, absolutely."

The pair eventually found their way back together after rediscovering what made them feel happy as individuals.

"Through that particular journey, I learned so much about myself and was able to really confront a lot of emotional immaturities, emotional insecurity and I was really able to do some really deep healing," Pinkett Smith said on her Facebook Watch show. "And as I came through and started to realize certain things about you and I, he decided to break all communication with me which was totally understandable. And I let that be and hadn't talked to him since so it is a little weird that all this stuff is coming out now since this was several [years ago]."

The two were able to repair their relationship with Pinkett Smith saying, "We have really gotten to that new place of unconditional love."

"We refer to ourselves as life partners . . . you realize you are literally with somebody for the rest of your life,” said Smith, quipping that marriage "ain’t for the weak of heart."