Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at 2022 Critics Choice Awards

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Marriage Doesn’t Have To Make Sense to You

Since Jada Pinkett Smith sat down with Hoda Kotb on the Today show and revealed she and Will Smith have been separated since 2016, the internet has been oddly obsessed with trying to understand the intricacies of the couple’s relationship. Pinkett Smith was on the show promoting her new memoir Worthy, which details her relationship with Smith and even her account of what happened at the 94th Oscars with the Chris Rock and Smith incident. So given the book’s content, it’s not surprising she got candid about her relationship on-air.

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After all, it is fairly common for public figures to disclose when they’ve gone through a split or divorce. So, it’s unclear why there has been such an intense reaction to Pinkett Smith clarifying her relationship status. Additionally, there’s nothing very shocking about her revelation. She simply clarified that the pair have been separated since 2016. Although they’re leading separate lives, they have both decided not to divorce legally. Pinkett Smith echoed the same sentiments that Smith has in the past about not believing in divorce. Even if they go their separate ways, they value their promise in marriage and aren’t closing the door on working things out.

There’s not much more to it than that; it’s an unconventional relationship between two consenting adults that doesn’t affect anyone else. However, everyone seems oddly bothered by Pinkett Smith’s clarification. News articles have been flowing nonstop, probing the timeline of their relationship, and social media has been swarming with largely negative reactions. It seems everyone is throwing around baseless accusations or getting worked up because they’re trying to understand something that doesn’t have to make sense to them.

Jada Pinkett and Will Smith’s relationship doesn’t change anything

Jada Pinkett Smith on the red carpet.
(Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

The strangest thing about Pinkett Smith’s interview is that it has the internet dredging up past events, such as the Oscars slap and Pinkett Smith and Smith’s extramarital relations. It has also led to a rise in vitriol against Pinkett Smith, with sexist and hateful claims surfacing on social media that she’s a narcissist, delusional, or trying to manipulate and embarrass Smith. Even The View co-host Ana Navarro felt the need to slam Pinkett Smith, claiming she revealed the separation just to sell her book.

The clarification of her relationship status doesn’t change anything. Yet, internet users are claiming Pinkett Smith is lying just because Smith defended her at the Oscars or that the separation somehow makes his actions worse. There’s really no need to try to dredge up the slap, especially when it has already been over-reported and exaggerated. Yes, Smith defended her and called her his wife. So what? They are still legally married and consider each other family. Why wouldn’t he stand up for her? It’s gross how convinced the internet is that a man can’t possibly care for or respect a woman unless she’s in a relationship with him. Meanwhile, it’s not really our business to decide what they can address or refer to each other as.

The media has also been dredging up Pinkett Smith’s extramarital relations. Again, this is old news. Even though both Pinkett Smith and Smith have spoken about having an open relationship, the internet only focuses on Pinkett Smith’s relationships, claiming that she’s trying to hide that her alleged affair was the cause of the separation. However, Smith has already confirmed that there was never infidelity in their marriage because they always agreed about being monogamous or polygamous. Pinkett Smith has no reason to bring up her other relationships when they’ve already been addressed.

As for those attacking Pinkett Smith, she has every right to clarify her relationship status. How does it “embarrass” Smith to have Pinkett Smith clarify something that has been going on for seven years? It’s not like she blindsided him. I’m fairly certain he noticed that Pinkett Smith hasn’t been living with him for seven years. Additionally, considering he has also spoken to the press about their relationship before, why is it suddenly forbidden for Pinkett Smith to clarify if they’re still married? Again, this was just a clarification about an arrangement that the two partners agreed upon. There’s no reason for anyone to pity Smith when there’s nothing for him to be embarrassed about, and this is a long-term arrangement that won’t hurt anyone to talk about.

The real reason everyone’s concerned about two adults’ relationship

Of course, the biggest question is why everyone is being so hateful to Pinkett Smith. After all, what part of her clarifying her relationship impacts anyone else?

What’s going on here is that people are trying to understand something they don’t need to understand. All that really matters is that Pinkett Smith and Smith understand and agree upon their relationship. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, although it is sad that people find their relationship so unfathomable. Not everyone has to go the traditional route, and it’s refreshing to see two people with a shared history and family still in each other’s lives and showing up to support each other.

Another issue is that people just look for every opportunity to be sexist and misogynist. If Smith had made the announcement himself, there likely wouldn’t be any issues. However, people see a woman having a say in how her relationship works and turning her back on tradition, and they simply can’t stand it. Pinkett Smith is telling her side of the story, just as Smith has frequently told his side to the press and in his own memoir without backlash. Yet the idea that Pinkett Smith is Smith’s equal and has just as much right as he does to clarify their relationship status bothers people. Instead of constantly trying to victimize men who aren’t victims and demonize innocent women, people must learn that consenting adults are free to be in whatever kind of relationship they want without getting everyone’s explicit approval or understanding.

(featured image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.