Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith Partied After His Oscar Win With Their Three Kids
Their relationship timeline continued at Vanity Fair’s Oscars party with Trey, Jaden, and Willow.
For nearly a quarter of a century now, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have reigned over Hollywood as two of the town’s most talented actors, as well as one of the rare couples that has been able to stay together for decades. The King Richard Oscar winner and The Matrix Resurrections’ returning queen have experienced their ups and downs, but through it all, they’ve managed to keep their careers going strong and their family, which includes three grown children, even stronger.
Decades into their time as stars, they opened up about their struggles, a separation, and even outside relationships, but their trials and evolutions only make them seem more relatable. Most married couples face difficult experiences like these, and the Smiths are no different, however unique their union may be. Lately, they’ve been busy with awards season, even shaking off a joke about their past “entanglements” on the SAG Awards red carpet and celebrating his Oscars victory at an after party despite the Oscars slap heard around the world.
Here is a look at Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s relationship timeline, from their first meeting to where they stand today.
1994: A Fateful Meeting
Smith and Pinkett Smith met for the first time when she auditioned for a small role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as the star’s girlfriend. While she didn’t end up getting the part, their short time together would end up being the start of something very special. At the time, Smith was still married to his first wife, Sheree Zampino, so of course it was not the right time for anything romantic to begin. Reports as to when this audition took place differ, with some outlets claiming it was in 1990 and others suggesting it was several years into the show’s run, in 1994.
1995: Will Gets Divorced And Begins Dating Jada
After just three years of marriage, Smith and first wife Zampino officially divorced. They had a young child, Willard Carroll “Trey” Smith III, whom they continued to raise in separate homes. Once the split was official and divorce proceedings were happening, Smith made a move on Pinkett Smith. He called her up at her brand new farm outside of Baltimore and asked if she was seeing anyone. When she answered that she wasn’t, Smith corrected her, stating, “Cool. You’re seeing me now.”
September 1995: Red Carpet Official
The two actors quickly began dating, and they didn’t wait long before they made their relationship public. The pair walked the red carpet together for the first time in September 1995 at the premiere of the film Devil in a Blue Dress. Of course, Pinkett Smith understood the assignment, so she wore a bright blue dress to the event.
November 1997: They Become Engaged
After more than two years of dating, Smith proposed to Pinkett Smith in November 1997. It was the first marriage for the latter star and the second in less than a decade for the man doing the proposing. While some couples decide to enjoy a long engagement, this Hollywood pair opted to go for something entirely different.
December 1997: The Pair Gets Married
Just one month after they became engaged, Smith and Pinkett Smith married. The power couple tied the knot on New Year’s Eve in a tiny, very private ceremony in Baltimore, Pinkett Smith’s hometown. It was so hush-hush that invitations weren’t even mailed, as the actors didn’t want the information leaking to the press. While Smith loved the wedding, Pinkett Smith says she found the entire experience “horrible.” She was three months pregnant at the time, and in addition to not feeling well on the actual day the two exchanged rings, she has explained that she didn’t want to have a ceremony, or perhaps even be married, at all.
July 1998: Jaden Is Born
Since Pinkett Smith was already pregnant at their wedding, it wasn’t very long before she became a parent for the first time. The newly-married pair welcomed Jaden Christopher Syre Smith on July 8, 1998. By that time, Smith was already co-parenting his son Trey, but he was happy to see his family expanding. “I wanted to be a father my whole life,” he told Ava DuVernay as he promoted his memoir, Will, in November 2021. “From the time I was five years old, I knew I wanted to be a family. I knew I wanted to have kids.”
October 2000: Willow Is Born
A little more than two years after Jaden became a member of the Smith household, Pinkett Smith and her husband welcomed another child, Willow Camille Reign Smith. The first and only daughter of the bunch was born on Halloween 2000, and before she even became a teenager, she’d follow her father into music.
2001: Their First Movie Together
Smith and Pinkett Smith have worked together behind the scenes on a number of projects throughout their years as a married couple, but they haven’t appeared on screen as colleagues very often. The first time they were both featured in a film was back in 2001 when Smith produced and starred in the Muhammad Ali biopic Ali. His wife portrayed ex-Playboy bunny Sonji Roi, the boxer’s first wife.
2002: “1000 Kisses”
Before he became a TV and film star, Smith made his name in music, though that part of his career now seems to be largely in the past. On his third solo album, Born to Reign, the singer and rapper collaborated with Pinkett Smith on the song “1000 Kisses,” which was selected as the second single from the project. While the tune underperformed, fans were thrilled to hear the couple on a track together.
2002: Will’s First Oscar Nomination
For his work in the film Ali, Smith earned his first Academy Award nomination in the Best Actor field. Pinkett Smith walked the red carpet and attended the ceremony with her husband to show how proud she was of his performance. Smith didn’t win the trophy (it went to Denzel Washington for Training Day that year), but it was still a landmark moment in his career.
2003: All Of Us
After co-producing Ali together, Smith and Pinkett Smith turned their attention to the small screen, where they had both already found success as actors. The pair produced the sitcom All of Us for the UPN, a show loosely based on their own experience raising a blended family. The program ran for several seasons and was another win for the married stars and their company Overbrook Entertainment.
2007: Will’s Second Oscar Nomination
The Pursuit of Happyness led to Smith’s second Academy Award nomination in the Best Actor category. Again, Pinkett Smith was at the vaunted event to show her support for her husband. This time, the couple was joined by their son, Jaden, who co-starred in the biographical drama. Smith ultimately lost out to Forest Whitaker, who was nominated for his role in The Last King of Scotland.
2007: 10-Year Anniversary
The pair is notoriously quiet about their anniversaries, and they usually opt not to make much of a fuss about them, even between just themselves. While they didn’t throw a massive party, they likely congratulated themselves in 2007 for making it a decade as a married couple in Hollywood, which is no easy feat.
2008: They Open A School Together
In 2008, Smith and Pinkett Smith worked together to open the New Village Leadership Academy, a now-closed private elementary school that was located in Calabasas, California. Smith paid nearly $900,000 for the buildings and land, which had been vacated by another school, in order to create something new from the ground up. The married actors picked the management and they helped take part in selecting what educational methods would be employed there. Sadly, the entire program shut down after just three years, during which time much controversy was stirred up after various ties to Scientology were reported by the press.
April 2013: The Phrase “Open Relationship” Pops Up
As is the case with any Hollywood couple, Smith and Pinkett Smith have been followed by rumors about affairs and possible splits throughout their time together. While they usually ignore them or issue a standard dismissal of any whisperings, Pinkett Smith herself launched a hundred headlines when she took part in a HuffPost Live interview and hinted that she and her husband may be in an open marriage.
“I’ve always told Will, ‘You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be okay,’” she told HuffPost Live. “Because at the end of the day, Will is his own man. I’m here as his partner, but he is his own man. He has to decide who he wants to be and that’s not for me to do for him. Or vice versa.”
She would go on to deny the suggestion later, but by then, the idea was out there, and it followed them for a long time.
2015: A Separation
After nearly two decades of marriage, things were apparently not going well for Smith and Pinkett Smith, and they decided to spend some time apart around 2015. The couple didn’t share this publicly at the time, but instead opened up about it years later. While an exact timeline is difficult to pin down, it’s clear that their separation wasn’t a very long one, and they found their way back to one another after doing a lot of internal work.
“We decided that we were going to find our individual, internal private separate joy and then we were going to present ourselves to the relationship and to each other already happy,” Smith shared when he went on Red Table Talk. The Independence Day star was not shy about admitting how serious he was about walking out, if even for a short period of time, telling his wife, “I was done with your ass. I was done with you.”
December 2017: 20 Years Married
For their 20-year anniversary, Smith took to his then-brand new Instagram page to tell the world how much he loved his wife, as well as what he had learned throughout his years as a husband. The actor shared some pieces of wisdom, such as that marriage is freedom, listening, and giving, and to tell Pinkett Smith that he is “forever Devoted to Nurturing your Deepest Truth.”
June 2020: August Alsina Drops A Bomb
For two decades, Smith and Pinkett Smith were largely thought of as one of the most stable couples in Hollywood — that is, until R&B singer August Alsina dropped a bomb that would become perhaps the biggest scandal of their time together. During his June 2020 interview on The Breakfast Club, the musician admitted he had a relationship with Pinkett Smith, and what’s more, he claimed he had Smith’s permission to do so. His account only further intensified the long-running rumors that the actors were, in fact, in an open marriage. For weeks, the three dominated pop culture and entertainment headlines all around the world.
July 2020: Jada Explains All
About a month after Alsina’s revelations about his time with Pinkett Smith, the mother of two took to her own show Red Table Talk to open up about the relationship. This is when she revealed that she and Smith had been separated, a fact that had previously not been widely known.
At first, Pinkett Smith was clear that she didn’t necessarily want to be having the conversation, as she said, “It’s a situation that I consider private,” and added, “This is a very personal journey that became very public.” While it is not their usual way to deal with these types of revelations or rumors in the press, the married couple decided that “it got to the point where you got to say something.”
Pinkett Smith called the entire thing an “entanglement” and went on to explain that she and Smith had met Alsina years prior through their son, and they had both befriended him. After they separated, she and the producer ended up in a romantic relationship; she shared that she “just wanted to feel good.” As for him having Smith’s “blessing,” though, Pinkett Smith noted that “the only person who could give permission in that particular circumstance” was she herself.
September 2021: Will Admits To Other Relationships
In the fall of 2021, Smith began promoting his lengthy memoir, Will, which was chock full of new admissions and information his fans weren’t already aware of. He admitted that while the world already knew about Pinkett Smith’s extramarital relationship (at least one of them), she was not alone in stepping out of their marriage. He didn’t go into all the details, but he did shed some light on their nontraditional approach. “Marriage for us can’t be a prison,” Smith commented in an interview with GQ, one which also made headlines and kept the saga of the “open marriage” between the Hollywood elite going. “The experiences and the freedoms that we’ve given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”
February 2022: Willow’s Book (And The Oscar Noms)
In early February 2022, Smith scored his third and fourth Oscar nominations for starring in and producing King Richard. The actor was thrilled with the nods, and he took to social media to congratulate the whole team. While it seems like Pinkett-Smith and her husband might be celebrating all month long, they instead shifted focus to promoting the latest project from one of their kids.
Willow’s first novel, Black Shield Maiden, was announced just days after Smith was nominated for a pair of Academy Awards, and both parents dedicated more time and space on their social channels to congratulating her and promoting the title. On Instagram, Pinkett-Smith commented, “Oh... by the way... on top of the other million things that @willowsmith does well.. you can add author. She has written her first novel ... Black Shield Maiden! It’s Coming your way October 4th 2022. It’s soooooo good.” Smith kept things even simpler on Twitter, saying, “My Bean’s first book! Proud of you @OfficialWillow.”
February 2022: The Return Of The Fresh Prince
After decades off the air, Peacock has revived the beloved sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which launched Smith to superstardom in the ’90s. While he doesn’t star in the new production, which takes a different tone with the familiar characters, he is a producer on Bel-Air, and thus he has a vested interest in promoting it. Smith was joined by his son Jaden and his wife at the premiere just a day after the actor earned some love from the Academy.
February 2022: SAG Awards And “Entanglements”
Smith and Pinkett Smith had a good night at the 2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards, otherwise known as the SAGs. While Smith won Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for King Richard, earning his first trophy, there was a unique moment on the red carpet before the ceremony began. Laverne Cox interviewed the pair, and as the chat was ending, she said, “Thank you. We can’t wait for more Red Table Talk and more entanglements.” The Orange Is the New Black star was, of course, referencing the fact that the married couple opened up about having relations with others while on something of a break. Thankfully, everyone involved laughed it off, and nobody seemed too upset, even as Pinkett Smith said “no more” to that idea.
March 2022: Will Defends Jada At The Oscars
Smith created a huge storm at the Oscars all in defense of his wife. At the 2022 Academy Awards, Rock made an ill-advised joke about Pinkett Smith, calling her “G.I. Jane” due to her short hair, despite her being open about suffering from alopecia. Smith appeared to laugh it off, but Pinkett Smith immediately rolled her eyes at Rock. The next thing viewers saw was Smith going on stage, slapping Rock in the face, and returning to his seat. “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth,” Smith yelled at Rock twice from his seat after the comedian attempted to defend himself.
During his acceptance speech for Best Actor, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees for the debacle, but not Rock himself, before saying that he felt called upon to protect his loved ones. “Love makes you do crazy things,” he said at one point. After the show, Smith alluded to the incident on Instagram, sharing a video of him and his wife posing in their Oscars looks. “Me ‘n @jadapinkettsmith got all dressed up to choose chaos,” he captioned the post. Later that night, the couple appeared at Vanity Fair’s Oscars party, Smith’s Oscar in hand, along with their children Trey, Jaden, and Willow, proving that they stay united no matter what.
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