Will Smith Says He and Jada Pinkett Smith Agreed 'It Was a Fantasy Illusion That We Could Make Each Other Happy'

In a revealing new interview with Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith opens up about his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith and finding "relational perfection"

Jada Pinkett Smith (L) and Will Smith attend the World Premiere of Disney’s "Aladdin" at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood CA on May 21, 2019, in the culmination of the film’s Magic Carpet World Tour with stops in Paris, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Mexico City and Amman, Jordan.
Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty

Will Smith isn't shying away from addressing his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith.

In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey for Apple TV+'s The Oprah Conversation, the 53-year-old actor spoke about his marriage after the host touched on the couple's revelation that they had spent a period of time separated. In a 2020 episode of Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith revealed she'd had a relationship with singer August Alsina while still married to Smith.

"You know, it's really funny," Smith told Winfrey, via Yahoo! Entertainment. "We never actually like officially separated."

The Men in Black star, who is promoting his new memoir Will, said things in the couple's marriage reached a peak in September 2011 during Pinkett Smith's 40th birthday party that he spent three years planning and that she disliked, which led to an explosive fight between the two.

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"We realized that it was a fantasy illusion that we could make each other happy," Smith said. "We agreed that she had to make herself happy and I had to make myself happy. Then we were going to present ourselves back to the relationship already happy—versus demanding that the other person fill our empty cup."

He continued, "We just decided, 'You have to figure out how to be happy.' "

When Winfrey asked Smith if he and Pinkett Smith, 50, could have other sexual partners, the actor answered, "We talk about everything. I think the difficulty that people have and difficulty in discussing it is people only think in terms of sex."

<a href="https://people.com/tag/will-smith/" data-inlink="true">Will Smith</a> and Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith in 2014. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty

"People are trying to put something on it: 'Will and Jada — what they doing with other people?'" he continued. "Will and Jada ain't really doing too much of nothin'. Will and Jada are on a spiritual journey to cleanse the poisonous, unloving parts of our hearts. And we're doing it together in this lifetime no matter what."

Smith added, "But the goal is not a sexual goal. It's spiritual. We are going to love each other no matter what. Since we are talking about it, Oprah, let's just talk about it: No woman can make me happy, so I don't need to look for one to try and make me happy. No man can make Jada happy, so she don't need to go look for one to make her happy. We both know that. There is no person that will fill your hole."

"Love being the most fearful place you'll ever try to step into. Real love. That unconditional love. To be able to open a broken heart again. Open a broken heart again and again," he shared.

In a September interview with GQ, Smith said the public did not get the full story about Pinkett Smith's "entanglement" with Alsina.

"The public has a narrative that is impenetrable," he explained. "Once the public decides something, it's difficult to impossible to dislodge the pictures and ideas and perceptions."

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Smith told GQ, "Jada never believed in [a] conventional marriage."

"Jada had family members that had an unconventional relationship. So she grew up in a way that was very different than how I grew up," he said. "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."

Will is available for purchase on Nov. 9.

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