Will Smith-Jada Pinkett Smith’s stormy relationship and the Oscar slapdown: A timeline

Will Smith-Jada Pinkett Smith’s stormy relationship and the Oscar slapdown: A timeline

This year’s Oscars was not particularly an eventful one, barring the one moment which has been driving the internet wild ever since it first aired — when Oscar winner Will Smith punched Chris Rock on stage. This happened after Rock made a tasteless  joke about Smith’s wife and actor Jada Pinkett Smith.

After Rock made light of Jada’s shaved head and said he looked forward to seeing her in G.I. Jane, Smith walked up to the stage to assault Rock. He then went back to his seat and shouted from there: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.” For the uninitiated, Jada has a condition called Alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes a person to lose hair. She has been open about her condition over the years.

Not the Smiths 1st face-off with Chris Rock

The antics of Smith shocked everyone present. But this is not the first run-in of Rock with the Smiths. During the 2016 Oscars where people of colour were protesting the lack of diverse nominations through #OscarsSoWhite movement, Chris, who was hosting the ceremony, had made fun of Jada for not attending the Oscars, insinuating she didn’t show up as her husband was not nominated. He had even taken a crack at Will Smith’s Wild Wild West Salary. Post the event, Jada had been quoted as saying to the media, “It comes with the territory. We gotta keep it moving.”

When Will Smith responded to Rebel Wilson’ joke on his open marriage

Smith and his wife Jada have generated headlines during another awards ceremony. Earlier too, during the BAFTAs, host Rebel Wilson had made a joke on the celebrity couple’s marriage which was not well received by the Hollywood superstar.

While joking about the open relationship status of Smith and Jada’s marriage, Wilson had said, “I thought his best performance over the past year was being OK with all his wife’s boyfriends.” This was after Smith had won the BAFTA for his performance in King Richard. Smith, who was not present at the ceremony, later was quoted by The Sun as saying, “There’s never been infidelity in our marriage. Jada and I talk about everything, and we have never surprised one another with anything, ever.”

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s open relationship: A timeline

Will and Jada met after she auditioned for the role of Will’s girlfriend on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. While she did not get the role, they became inseparable. Will was married to Sheree Zampino at the time. They began dating officially in 1995 after Will’s divorce was finalised. They married in 1997. The couple welcomed son Jaden and daughter Willow in 1998 and 2000 respectively.

From 2013 onwards, their marriage was rocked by rumours of separation and infidelity. While both of them denied speculation over the years, the rumours persisted. In 2020, August Alsina claimed he and Jada had dated while she was married and that her and Will’s marriage was open during that time.

Jada had opened up about the issue during her series the Red Table Talk. At the time Jada had said, “Yes, it was a relationship. Absolutely. I was in a lot of pain. I was very broken. Now, in the process of that relationship, I definitely realize that you can’t find happiness outside of yourself… I would definitely say we did everything that we could to get away from each other, only to realize that that wasn’t possible.”

While promoting his memoir Will, the actor had spoken to GQ about their turbulent marriage and how they have engaged in sexual relationships with other people. While Will did not go into the details, he did say that he had a difficult time wrapping his head around the concept at first because of his strict Christian upbringing. “Jada never believed in 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 had said, adding, “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.”

“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,” he had explained.

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Author: Shirley