If there’s one celebrity marriage that hasn’t quite escaped the limelight recently, it’s Jada Pinkett and Will Smith’s.
It’s no secret that the longtime couple — who were married in 1997 and share two children, Jaden, 23, and Willow, 20 — have been open about their tumultuous relationship in the past.
Well, it looks like Jada is now offering more insight into her and Will’s marriage — and their sex life.
On Wednesday’s episode of her candid talk show Red Table Talk, Jada — accompanied by her mom Adrienne Banfield-Norris and guest star Gwyneth Paltrow — discussed the “uncomfortable” importance of communication when it comes to sex and pleasure.
After Gwyneth revealed she’s having “the best sex of her life” as a newlywed, Jada made a stark comparison in light of her own 26-year-long relationship with Will.
“It's hard. The thing Will and I talk about a lot is the journey. We started in this at a very young age, you know, 22 years old,” Jada said. “That's why the accountability part really hit for me because I think you expect your partner to know [what you need], especially when it comes to sex. It's like, ‘Well, if you love me, you should know. If you love me, you should read my mind.’ That's a huge pitfall.”
“You tell me what you need,” she continued. “Tell me what you want, and on top of it, I know that I have to be accountable to do the same.”
“It’s uncomfortable, but it's deeply healthy, and I think around sex, because it's something that we don't talk about, and there's so much fantasy around it,” she added.
Jada's comments sparked a huge conversation, with a ton of people weighing in on Twitter to describe the couple as "messy" and "difficult." Others dragged Jada for publicly airing their "marriage struggles."
And the commentary wasn't just reserved for Twitter. Jada's remarks were quickly picked up by the media, with many publications assuming her comments alluded to finding it difficult to maintain a healthy sex life in a long-term relationship.
Hours after the episode of Red Table aired, Jada took to Twitter to defend herself, writing that she and Will had “NEVER had an issue” in the bedroom.
“Only because I got time today. Stop making up headlines. Watch the @RedTableTalk I did with @GwynethPaltrow for yourselves. Will and I have NEVER had an issue in the bedroom. Thank you,” she tweeted.
Jada’s latest comments come after a year where a somewhat rocky history between the couple has been discussed, largely kicked off by last summer’s “entanglement” drama.
At the time, August alleged: “I actually sat down with Will and had a conversation. Due to the transformation from their marriage to life partnership that they have spoken on several times, and not involving romanticism, he gave me his blessing.”
Before Jada addressed her relationship with August, she and Will revealed that they were actually separated indefinitely at the time — and that it was after separating from Will that she’d found herself in what she first called an “entanglement” with August. Jada later clarified that this had been a romantic relationship.
Will and Jada went on to explain that they ultimately managed to reconcile their marriage, which led to the end of her relationship with August.
In the months that followed the Red Table episode, Will remained largely quiet on the topic. That is, until September this year, when he publicly commented on his and Jada’s marriage for the first time since all the discussion around it.
In a candid interview with GQ, Will opened up about the conflicting opinions he and Jada held due to their different upbringings, which had rocked their relationship at points, before confirming that the pair have an open marriage.
“Jada never believed in conventional marriage … Jada had family members that had an unconventional relationship,” Will revealed. “So she grew up in a way that was very different than how I grew up.”
“There were significant endless discussions about, what is relational perfection?” he said. “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.”
“We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way,” he added. “And marriage for us can’t be a prison. And I don’t suggest our 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.”
And while Will "delicately explained" to the reporter that it hadn't been Jada who was "engaging in other sexual relationships," he didn't elaborate on his sexual experiences outside of the marriage. However, he did open up about initially feeling guilt at the thought of infidelity due to his Christian upbringing.
“That was really the process that [an intimacy coach] worked me through to let me realize that my thoughts were not sins and even acting on an impure thought didn’t make me a piece of shit,” he added.
Elsewhere in his GQ interview, Will recalled the intense public scrutiny he'd faced as a result of the infamous Red Table Talk discussion.
“The public has a narrative that is impenetrable,” he said. “Once the public decides something, it’s difficult to impossible to dislodge the pictures and ideas and perceptions.”
“The pursuit of truth is the only way to be happy in this lifetime,” he added. "We sort of came to the agreement that authenticity was the release from the shackles of fame and public scrutiny."