Entertainment Music All About August Alsina, the Singer Who Had an 'Entanglement' With Jada Pinkett Smith Jada Pinkett Smith revealed that she had a relationship with singer August Alsina while she and husband Will Smith were briefly separated By Maria Pasquini Maria Pasquini Associate Editor, Human Interest - PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Updated on August 2, 2022 10:49 AM Share Tweet Pin Email August Alsina. Photo: Michael Kovac/AMA2016/Getty August Alsina made headlines in June 2020 about his past relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith. In an interview that month with Angela Yee on YouTube, the singer claimed he had a relationship with Pinkett Smith, whom he met through her and Will Smith's son Jaden, back in 2015. "I totally gave myself to that relationship for years of my life, and I truly and really, really deeply love and have a ton of love for her," he said. "I devoted myself to it, I gave my full self to it — so much so to the point that I can die right now and be okay with knowing that I truly gave myself to somebody." On the July 10, 2020, episode of Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith and her husband sat down to discuss her relationship with Alsina, which she revealed took place years ago, while she and Smith were briefly separated. "Four and a half years ago … I started a friendship with August and we actually became really, really good friends," she said. "And it all started with him just needing some help, me wanting to help his health, his mental state." "We found all those different resources to help pull him through and from there you and I were going through a very difficult time," she said, later clarifying that the pair "decided that we were going to separate for a period of time." August Alsina and Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2017 BET Awards. Paras Griffin/Getty Although Pinkett Smith denied that her husband had given Alsina "permission" to carry on the relationship, explaining that "the only person that can give permission in that circumstance is myself," she clarified that she thought the singer was trying "to make it clear he's not a homewrecker because he's not." From publicly revealing their "entanglement" to Alsina's music career, here is everything you need to know about August Alsina. Jada Pinkett Smith Reveals She Had a Relationship with August Alsina While Briefly Separated from Will Smith He had a difficult childhood In a 2013 interview with Complex, Alsina, who was born in New Orleans, said that both his father and his stepfather struggled with drug addiction — and that his mother "used to work two jobs to take care" of him and his siblings. He began his music career on YouTube Although Alsina started a YouTube account when he was 14, which featured his music, he didn't get serious about his career until after the death of his brother Melvin LaBranch III, who was fatally shot in 2010, shortly before Alsina's 18th birthday, according to VH1. "At that point I was like, 'I ain't got s--- to lose but my life out here in these streets so why not give it a chance?'" he told Complex. He is the legal guardian of his three nieces Tragedy would strike again in Alsina's life in late 2018 when the singer announced that his sister Chandra, a mother of three, had died on Christmas Day after a battle with cancer. After her death, Alsina became the legal guardian of his three nieces — or "naughters," as he affectionately calls them — Chaylin, Amaiya and Kayden. They were the children of his late brother Melvin LaBranch III. "They are beautiful kids with beautiful energy," Alsina told PEOPLE. "I'm excited to see life unfold for them, and I want to be as present as I possibly can within their life while still being able to show them what it looks like to have a career." Becoming the guardian of his nieces prompted Alsina to speak out about his relationship with Smith. "I could understand why it would look like I'm reckless or disrespectful so it really started to affect my livelihood, and I'm never okay with that," he told PEOPLE. "I got three kids to look after. Kill me, hate me, stone me, but bury me an honest man. All I can do is tell the truth." He released his first mixtape in 2012 and his first album in 2014 Alsina released his first mixtape, The Product, back in 2012, and the following year he released a breakthrough single, "I Luv This S—," which went on to appear on his 2014 debut album Testimony. The album spent a total of 60 weeks on the Billboard charts and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. He was also named a member of XXL Magazine's 2014 Freshman class alongside Chance the Rapper, Ty Dolla $ign, Vic Mensa and Kevin Gates. Alsina went on to release his second studio album, This Thing Called Life, in 2015, which featured collaborations with Lil Wayne and Chris Brown. Although he released a number of singles in the years following, his third album, The Product III: StateofEMERGEncy, was not released until June 2020. August Alsina. Gabriel Grams/WireImage He has had several health issues Alsina has suffered from a number of health issues over the years. In 2014, Alsina collapsed while on stage in New York, and the following year he revealed he had to have surgery on his eye due to an eye disease that was causing him to go blind. During a 2018 appearance on an episode of Red Table Talk, Alsina went on to share that he suffers from the autoimmune disease Guillain-Barré syndrome that attacks his liver. In the episode, he also spoke about his past addiction to Percocet and reaching out to the Smith family for help. One year later, Alsina revealed that he had been hospitalized after losing the ability to walk. "I woke up one day and wasn't able to walk," he said in a 2019 Instagram video, adding that his doctor told him he had nerve damage "going on throughout my body." "My autoimmune disease is raging, but I'm fighting this thing & on my mission to shake back & be able to make it up to you!" he added in the video's caption. He hinted at his relationship with Pinkett Smith in 2018 and 2019 A pair of birthday posts in 2018, which have since been deleted, prompted some fans to question whether there was anything more than friendship between Pinkett Smith and the singer. "I don't believe in luck," he wrote in a 2018 birthday tribute, according to Vulture. "I believe in God's divine order. & you are an example of God's divinity in It's covering over my life. A beautifully complex individual you are ... I could spend a lifetime decoding you." In her own supportive post that year, Pinkett Smith commended the young singer for all that he had fought against in his life. "I've watched you fight for your health ... I've watched you fight for your sobriety and I've watched you fight for your meaning of life," she wrote. " I'm so proud of you and I got all the love in the world for you. I'm wishing you the best of everything!" Alsina also raised eyebrows in 2019 when he remixed Kehlani's song "Nunya." In the music video, Alsina texts with a woman identified as "Koren" — which is the actress' middle name — and also sends the woman a GIF of Pinkett Smith after singing the line, "You're just an actress putting on a show." Jada Pinkett Smith, August Alsina. Jon Kopaloff/Getty; Jada Pinkett Smith Says She Wanted to 'Feel Good' During August Alsina Romance: 'I Was Very Broken' He claimed he would "likely" retire in 2021 but has continued to release new music In the caption of an Instagram video post on Sept. 20, 2021, Alsina wrote that "These last couple projects are likely to be the last you see/hear of August Alsina. W/ that said, it is my hope that we can enjoy each other while I'm here, on my last victory lap around the sun." Fans speculated that the post meant that Alsina would be stepping back from music because of his health issues or his responsibilities of raising his nieces. However, Alsina has continued to release new music online, including a song titled "Shake the World" in April 2022 and "Yeah Yeah" in July 2022. He has his own skincare line In June 2022, Alsina announced on Instagram that he was launching his own skincare line, Encina Wellness. "Encina" is Spanish for holm oak (oak tree extract is one of the primary ingredients of his products). Alsina credited his health issues for inspiring the new venture. "I'm transforming pain to take steps to a newer journey," Alsina told Women's Wear Daily. "Skin care is that. I went through so much different insecurities when I got sick."