For the last 30 years, fans watched as Will Smith grew from a boy into a man on screen. After making a splash in music, Smith entered A-list territory with a starring role on his own show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. A couple of years later, he married and had his first child, Trey. But that marriage didn’t last long. Three years later, in 1995, Smith divorced his first wife, Sheree Zampino. That same year, Smith met Jada Pinkett for the first time. Pinkett auditioned for the role of Will’s girlfriend on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but she didn’t get the part because she was too short. Well, she may have lost out of the TV show part, but she won the real-life audition… for Will’s heart. Ugh. Less than two years later, in 1997, Will and Jada got married.
Now, more than 20 years later, these two superstars are still going strong. Despite its longevity, however, this marriage is one that is encircled with rumors. And it’s been that way for a long time. For whatever reason, Will and Jada can’t escape the prying eyes of the press. Maybe it’s their unconventional lifestyles or the secrecy around so many aspects of their marriage, but people can’t get enough Jada and Will talk. Because of that, we decided to give a rundown of all the things that Will and Jada have tried to keep private over the last 20 years. Some of these are likely nothing more than rumors, whereas others could be based in fact. We’ll cover them all. Here are 20 secrets Will Smith and Jada Pinkett try to hide about their relationship.
20 Do They Have an Open Marriage?
For years now, there’s been talk about Jada and Will swinging and/or the couple having an open marriage. This all started back in 2005 when Smith said (via The Sun), “Our perspective is that you don’t avoid what’s natural. You’re going to be attracted to people. In our marriage vows, we didn’t say ‘forsaking all others.'” Smith even added that, if it ever came down to it, they could ask each other for permission to be with someone else. Predictably, this made people think ‘open marriage.’
Now, all these years later, people still have these thoughts about Will and Jada, and the couple seems to throw gasoline on that fire every year or so. When speaking to HuffPost Live, Jada said, “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… 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.” While Jada would attempt to clarify these statements later, it seems, rightly or wrongly, that the couple’s drive to appear unconfined by marriage makes them appear uncommitted.
19 What Is the Deal with the Smiths and Scientology?
The Scientology rumors started around this family back around 2006. Tom Cruise was in and hooked, and the Smiths were hanging around him. This got people talking. Then Smith was asked about his affiliations by the World Entertainment News Network. “I’ve talked to Tom about it,” he said. “[There’s] lots of incredible, wonderful concepts, [but my wife] Jada and I don’t necessarily believe in organized religion. I was raised in a Baptist household, and my grandmother would get up out of her casket [if I became a Scientologist].”
But the rumors didn’t go away. The Smith kids sounded like they were into some unorthodox teachings, the Cruise family was lingering, and Will and Jada founded a school (more on that below). Then came Leah Remini’s claims in a Daily Beast interview. “I know Jada’s in. I know Jada’s in,” Remini said. “She’s been in Scientology a long time. … I never saw Will there, but I saw Jada at the Celebrity Centre. They opened up a Scientology school, and have since closed it. But Jada, I had seen her at the Scientology Celebrity Centre all the time.”
This caused Jada to clap back. On Facebook, the actress said, “I recently lit Shabbat candles with Rabbi Bentley at Temple Sinai… but I am not Jewish; I have prayed in mosques all over the world… but I am not a Muslim; I have read the Bhagavad Gita… but I am not a Hindu; I have chanted and meditated in some of the most magnificent temples on earth… but I am not a Buddhist, and I have studied Dianetics, and appreciate the merits of Study Tech… but I am not a Scientologist.”
18 Opening Up a Scientology School
In 2008, Will and Jada made a bit of noise when they funded and founded a new school in Calabasas, California. The school, which cost $1.2 million, according to Radar Online, was called New Village Academy. At the time, Will said of the school’s teachings, “There are just very powerful educational concepts that we believe in, and we feel like we want to design the system that revolutionizes public education.” Despite the early claims that the school would be secular, Radar suggests it was anything but.
According to the report, the original principal of the school, Jacqueline Olivier, claims the curriculum used was entirely based on Scientology teachings.
She claimed that teachers were required to take courses in Scientology prior to teaching and, in the end, the curriculum failed the students. Within five years of opening, New Village Academy closed its doors. Olivier said that “The parents were complaining that it turned out to be Scientology. … A lot of them left. I kept telling them, ‘No, it’s secular.’ But then I’d walk by a room and see kids doing clay demos and I felt sick. Eventually, my professional integrity wouldn’t allow me to stay there anymore.” When asked about Olivier, a representative of the Smiths told the New York Post that “Jacquie is no longer at the school for reasons entirely unrelated to curriculum.”
17 What Happened Between Will and Duane Martin?
In late 2011 and early 2012, several tabloid publications picked up a story about Will and actor, Duane Martin, spending plenty of time together. While most just wrote off the relationship as friends, Star Magazine suggested that the two men were closer than that. Hollywood Life tracked the rumors and highlighted how much time Smith and Martin were spending with each other, taking private cruises in Trinidad, art openings in Miami, trips to Las Vegas, all without their wives. Martin’s wife, Tisha Campbell-Martin, then addressed the rumors, telling the tabloids to leave the Smiths alone.
Years later, in 2016, however, Radar Online published a story regarding an alleged private sale that went on between Martin and a third-party lender company called Treyball. The amount reported was $2 million and Treyball is owned by Will Smith. Radar Online suggests that this could be related to some type of “cover-up scandal.” Either way, private dinners in Trinidad, clubbing into the late night, and spending quality time together is not proof of anything, but the rumors persisted enough that this “secret purchase” became news more than four years later. Even if the reported sale was proven to be suspicious, there’s no proof that this was hush money. It might just be friends helping out friends. Either way, no one is talking about it.
16 What happened Between Jada and Marc Anthony?
In 2011, rumors came out that Jada and her co-star on Hawthorne, Marc Anthony, were getting close on set. They were merely whispers in the beginning, but InTouch magazine took this talk and ran with it, creating a viral sensation. The magazine’s report suggested that Smith came home late one night and found Anthony in his house. The report then claimed that Smith left crying that evening and Jada moved out the next morning. While the couple typically avoids commenting on any allegations about their relationship, they felt it necessary to say something about these reports.
“Although we are reluctant to respond to these types of press reports,” a joint statement from the Smiths read, “the rumors circulating about our relationship are completely false. We are still together, and our marriage is intact.” Over the years, the Smiths have been bombarded with constant separation rumors, but maybe none as big as this one. Numerous media outlets picked up that story, from MSNBC to the Washington Post. Though news of the split never proved to be true, it is interesting how rumors like this are so constant around this one family. It’s almost as if fans and the media expect them to split at some point.
15 What happened between Will Smith and Margot Robbie?
In later 2013, shortly after filming wrapped on the film, Focus, Star Magazine published photos of Will Smith and Margot Robbie in a photobooth having some fun. According to US Weekly, film producers set up the booth for the cast and crew, and Robbie and Smith were just having a laugh. Still, that didn’t stop the rumors from starting up and the paparazzi went mad trying to catch the two stars doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Even though the evidence never proved particularly damning, many fans were convinced that the Smiths were hiding something.
Now, everyone involved denied the rumors, including Robbie who tweeted, “Been working nonstop, just catching my breath. There’s absolutely no truth to the ridiculous rumor in Star mag.”
“It’s disappointing that goofing around on set could be taken so out of context.” But fans wondered if there was more to the rumors because, shortly after the reports, Jada posted a strange Facebook comment. She wrote: “We should never have the expectation to not make mistakes, we should only have the expectation to learn from them.” While this likely relates to something else entirely, the timing is curious. Though the rumors went away, they were reignited about one year later when both Robbie and Smith were cast in Suicide Squad.
14 How Hard Do They Push Their Kids?
Most parents want the best for their kids and some encouragement is never a bad thing, but when the children of stars begin to walk in the footprints of their parents, fans often wonder how much encouragement is going on. With Jaden, he seems to thrive in that environment. But, from early on, Willow seemed a bit different— a bit more standoffish. One of the first signs of pushback from Willow came in 2013 when she withdrew from the film production of Annie. During a talk at Temple University called Real Talk with Sister Souljah and Will Smith, Will addressed Willow’s motivations.
“Willow was supposed to be doing Annie,” he said. “We got Jay-Z to do the movie, got the studio to come in, and Willow had such a difficult time on tour with ‘”Whip My Hair’ and she said, ‘You know Daddy, I don’t think so,’ and I said, ‘Baby, hold up!’ I said, ‘No, no, no, listen, you’ll be in New York with all of your friends and Beyoncé will be there. You will be singing and dancing,’ and she looked at me and said, ‘Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12.'” After that, Willow took more of a backseat to stardom. A few years later, she was asked about her childhood in Girl Gaze. “I’m going to be completely and utterly honest, it’s absolutely terrible,” she said. “Growing up and trying to figure out your life … while people feel like they have some sort of entitlement to know what’s going on, is absolutely excruciatingly terrible — and the only way to get over it is to go into it.”
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13 Playing Weird Games with Tom Cruise
Actress, Leah Remini, has made her mission to bring down the Church of Scientology, but many of her claims and accusations have touched the celebrities involved with the church. Remini’s spoke about the Smith’s involvement in the Church, but there’s one story from her book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, that we found hilarious. The Smiths and Tom Cruise are close. We know that. But, according to Remini, weird things go down at the Cruise home. Fun things, for sure, but pretty weird, if only because of who the host is.
In the book, Remini recalls being at Cruise’s house one night with the Smiths. She says that Cruise, out of nowhere, suggested that they all play hide-and-seek on his three-acre property.
She then pulled Cruise aside and said, “I can’t play — I’m wearing Jimmy Choos.” To this, Cruise simply said, “Well, good. So you’re ‘It,’ then,” and then darted off into the darkness. Though she never told us who won the game, or even if she played, Remini did say, “You didn’t just say no to ‘Mr. Cruise’ even when it came to little things.” Honestly, this just sounds fun. Sure, it’s completely mad to picture Cruise and the Smiths hiding and seeking, but rich people can be childish as well.
12 The Unspoken Feuds
When Janet Hubert, the actress who originally played Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, aired her grievances about Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro (via E! News), fans wondered if what she was claiming was true. Well, Will won’t be speaking about it. In an interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra, Smith took the high road and complimented Hubert on her talents and said nothing of their beef. Keeping mum seems to run in the family too. In a promotion for one of her new interviews for her Facebook show, Red Table Talk, Jada introduced a beef between her and Gabrielle Union that most fans didn’t even know existed.
While speaking to Extra, Jada said, “I have a really touching episode with Gabrielle Union. We haven’t been on the best of terms for 17 years and we have a reconciliation.” While Jada isn’t dishing on what the feud was about (she said she forgot the cause), some reports out there say it goes back to how chummy Smith and Union got on the set of Bad Boys II. Gossip in the City made a Facebook post, which highlighted some alleged jealousy on the part of Jada at how the media claimed that Will and Union looked so good together. It’s all hearsay, but the no one from the Smith camp is clearing the air, yet.
11 What Do They Teach Their Kids?
When the New York Times interviewed the Smith children, Jaden and Willow, in 2014, it seemed to many that whatever they were learning in school wasn’t exactly what you would call traditional teachings. Now, simply because something isn’t traditional doesn’t make it wrong, but how the young kids spoke about certain topics made fans curious nonetheless. The Smith children were homeschooled for much of their lives. In 2008, when it was announced that Will was founding a new school, an extension of the homeschooling practice they had developed, he stated (via LA Times), “About 10 years ago, Jada and I started dreaming about the possibility of creating an ideal educational environment, where children could feel happy, positive and excited about learning…” This sounds excellent. Did it work? Apparently not.
In the NY Times interview, both the Smith children appeared to have resentment toward learning, something not uncommon among many young kids.
But the difference is, rather than have a resentment with some traditional learning to fall back on, the Smiths resented education and felt that time was simply a malleable tool that can be stopped and started when they please. Again, it’s normal and healthy to challenge the rules and traditions of education. It can also be fun to consider that life as we know it may be something different, but it’s still important to learn that cows go moo and the sun is the center of the solar system.
10 Rumors About Jada
Gay rumors have followed Jada around for more than a decade, but that doesn’t make them true. It’s hard to say when the rumors started. Maybe it was after her kissing scene with Monica Bellucci in the film, Enter the Matrix, back in 2003. Maybe it was the comments Will made about them being attracted to “people” in 2005, rather than specifying a gender. It seems like the rumors are reaching quite a bit. In 2009, which should prove how far back this all goes, on the Bert Show radio program, Jada was asked about these rumors. Her comments, which didn’t deny or confirm the rumors, probably helped fuel more rumors. “I’ve heard all the things — their marriage is not real, he’s gay, she’s gay, they swing,” she said. “But at the end of the day, people have to believe what they have to believe.”
Now, following that interview, the rumors stayed in the air, but neither Jada nor Will spoke about them very openly. Then, in 2016, the late Alexis Arquette, dropped a pretty big bombshell of an accusation on the Smiths. Arquette took to Instagram in 2016 after Jada announced she would be boycotting the Oscars. Arquette wrote that she would listen to them “when Jada comes out as Gay.” She also called Will “her beard husband.” This accusation from a member of Hollywood’s LGBTQ community held more weight than the previous claims.
9 Supporting Louis Farrakhan?
Will and Jada donate to plenty of causes. As they’ve said in the past, they support different religions and groups, it doesn’t mean that they’re tied to them. However, that didn’t stop people from raising their eyebrows when, in 2015, the Smiths allegedly donated $150,000 to the “20th Anniversary of the Million Man March: Justice or Else.” According to Philly Mag, Smith attended the first Million Man March back in 2005, so why wouldn’t he support this one? Well, things have changed. Particularly, the views of the man behind the March, Louis Farrakhan, have changed.
Farrakhan, the leader of the religious group, Nation of Islam (NOI), has been the face of controversy for many years now. Many people, including the family of Malcolm X, have accused Farrakhan of having a hand in the leader’s death. Many publications, including the Chicago Tribune, have discussed Farrakhan’s alleged hate speech toward white people in general, gay people, and Jewish people, among others. It’s not the cause that the Smiths supported that concerned people; it’s the insinuation that they supported Farrakhan that worried fans. Another curious connection here is that Farrakhan, according to Tony Ortega, is also linked to Scientology. The religious leader has been said to encourage his followers to study Dianetics, the teachings of Scientology. The Smiths haven’t commented on any of this.
8 The Divorce Rumors
It seems that every year, there’s a new divorce rumor following around Will and Jada. It’s true. There’s a good chance that these come out of nowhere. But there’s also the possibility that Jada and Will’s unorthodox way of living and loving throw the public off. Every time one of them speaks about being attracted to other people or hinting at an open marriage in some weird way, fans start wondering if this time they’re really splitting up. Well, they aren’t. But still, Will and Jada never really discuss how or why these rumors continue. The last time the talk bubbled up, Will took to Facebook.
“Under normal circumstances, I don’t usually respond to foolishness (Because it’s contagious),” he wrote. “But, so many people have extended me their ‘deepest condolences’ that I figured— ‘What the hell… I can be foolish, too!’ So, in the interest of redundant, repetitious, over & over-again-ness… Jada and I are. NOT GETTING A DIVORCE!!!!!!!!!!!!! : -) I promise you all— if I ever decide to divorce my Queen— I SWEAR I’ll tell you myself!” This particular rumor started after Radar Online claimed that they were living separate lives and had a $270 million divorce lined up.
7 How Does The No Punishment Thing Work?
When Will Smith was asked in a Metro interview about disciplining his children, he claimed that they didn’t use any disciplinary action. “We don’t do punishment,” he said. “The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives. Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible and the concept of punishment, our experience has been—it has a little too much of a negative quality.”
OK, that sounds revolutionary. But does it work? It’s hard to say. We don’t hear about the kids getting into trouble, so that’s a positive. But there seems to be a sense of entitlement brewing in them. Sure, these kids are entitled and rich and powerful, so they should feel that way. But they probably shouldn’t feel like they’re better than everyone else. That may come because their parents never showed them that they aren’t actually gods. This may be why Jaden, in NY Times, says that they only listen to their own music because they don’t like anything or anyone else. This may be why Willow says that she doesn’t read novels other than her own because she doesn’t like other people’s writing. We’re not suggesting Will and Jada should punish these thoughts out of their children, but maybe a little grounding here or there would have grounded those egos a bit.
6 The Prince Secret Party
After the tragic death of music icon, Prince, the Carver County Sheriff’s Office released a number of documents from the star’s home. The Blast, who got their hands on some of these papers, released a report that the Smiths reportedly paid, or offered to pay, Prince $400,000 for a private party. Now, it’s unclear if this party ever went down, but some of the specifics make it clear what the party was all about. In the report, it highlights that the party would be for 100 guests on September 17th. Considering that Jada’s birthday is the next day, the 18th, it can be guessed that this would be a birthday party.
Now, even though we don’t know if the party took place, it would be surprising if Prince turned the actors down because they were very close. In fact, according to Will’s Facebook page, Smith talked to Prince the night before he died. Jada also claims that she and Prince go way back to her early days in the industry. The only reason why we can think that Prince might not have done the party is that, according to that same document, he had an offer to do a 2,000-person event in Hong Kong the following week worth $1.25 million.
5 Helping Tyrese Out with $5 million
It’s clear that Tyrese is going through some stuff right now, so we’re going to tread lightly here. Late last year, Tyrese made a few social media posts about the Smiths helping him out financially. In one, he wrote, “My wife kept the news away from me cause I’ve been on with lawyers all day but our family and our sister, Jada-Pinkett Smith, and my brother, Will Smith, just sent us 5 million dollars to help keep us afloat.” The claim, according to Tyrese, is that the Smiths only promised him the money, but did admit that it hadn’t yet come through.
While Smith and Tyrese are friends and their friendships has been documented in the past, Daily Mail reports that sources close to the Smiths claim that no money was ever promised or sent to Tyrese. According to TMZ, Will and Jada, like much of Tyrese’s fanbase, are worried that the Fast and Furious actor’s mental health is at risk. Tyrese has taken upon himself to post many strange and alarming posts, which seem to indicate he’s in a very fragile state. The desperate father has made several posts of him just crying recently. He’s also gone on many rants on social media, even challenging some of his friends for abandoning him or betraying him. The Smiths have yet to comment on this matter directly.
4 The Secret House Market
While it shouldn’t be expected that Will and Jada reveal their private finances to the world, it might surprise fans just how many properties the family owns. According to Variety, the Smiths own the 25,000-square-foot mansion in Calabasas, California that they live in. They also are said to own a home in Hidden Hills, CA, as well as a ski chalet in Park City, Utah. These are the properties that they are said to use currently. They also have some properties that they recently sold without many people knowing.
In 2011, the Smiths allegedly sold seven acres of oceanfront property in Hawaii’s Secret Beach to Ekaterina Rybolovlev, the daughter of Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian Oligarch. The sale which was reportedly for $20 million, was sent from a blind trust to keep things anonymous. Last year, the Smiths sold another multi-million-dollar home in Secret Beach. This time, the multi-residence compound they quietly bought in 2015 for $10 million was sold even more quietly for $12 million. According to Curbed, the Smiths have even tossed around the idea of selling their mansion in Calabasas. The rumored price for the 150-acre property and compound is around $42 million. The Smiths have yet to comment if the sale rumors are true or not.
3 What’s Up with All Those Donations?
We know that Will and Jada opened up a school, which some say had ties to Scientology, but there are other claims out there that connect them to the religion. According to Radar Online, the Smiths donated $70,000 to various Scientology causes through the Will Smith Foundation. The report claims that tax records show this and more. After the school, the New Village Academy, closed, which Radar Online suggests benefitted from a $1,235,000 donation from the Smith’s foundation, something strange allegedly happened. In 2013, when the Academy’s doors closed, Radar Online claims that the school’s tax records indicate that the entire donation was returned to the Smith’s foundation. That doesn’t tend to happen.
This isn’t the only time the Smiths donated to various groups and have been questioned for it. In addition to multiple religious organizations, the family also donated a combined $122,500 to the Church of Scientology in 2008. According to Fox News, donations of $67,500 were given to the New York Rescue Workers Detoxication Fund, as well as $50,000 to the group’s Celebrity Center in Hollywood and $5,000 to ABLE. Each one of these organizations is linked to Scientology. If nothing else, it’s clear the Smiths respected what the organization was doing at one point in time.
2 The Jada and Tupac Rumors
For the fans of Tupac and/or Jada Pinkett, the friendship between the two stars was well known. But, when the film, All Eyez on Me came out, many people started questioning whether the two had a different relationship than what was believed. In fact, when Tupac’s posthumous book, The Rose That Grew From the Concrete, came out, a poem that he wrote for Jada raised some questions.
While both Tupac and Pinkett suggested that their friendship was never anything more than that, the film and the poem made it out to be more than that.
After the release of All Eyez on Me, Jada took to Twitter to denounce the twisting of the story. “The reimagining of my relationship to ‘Pac has been deeply hurtful,” she wrote. “Forgive me… my relationship to ‘Pac is too precious to me for the scenes in All Eyez on Me to stand as truth. … Pac never read me that poem. I didn’t know that poem existed until it was printed in his book. … Pac never said goodbye to me before leaving for LA. He had to leave abruptly and it wasn’t to pursue his career… I’ve never been to any of Pac’s shows by his request. We never had an argument backstage.” Sadly, when Tupac was shot, Jada and the rapper were not speaking after a blowout argument.
1 Will’s Past Relationship with Benny Medina
In Alexis Arquette’s inflammatory Instagram post about Will and Jada, one of the more shocking accusations was that Benny Medina was Smith’s “Sugar Daddy” and that the two were caught together, causing the split of Smith and his former wife, Sheree Zampino. Now, despite the Smiths refusing to address these accusations, Zampino did clap back via Facebook. In a video, Zampino said that the claims were totally untrue and that the marriage ended because of unhappiness, not straying.
There is, however, an interesting nugget in this story. It really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Smith, but more to do with Medina, the producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and famed Hollywood manager who took Smith under his wing early on. Late last year, in a piece published in The Advocate, the actor, Jason Dottley, accused Medina of attempting to assault him in the manager’s home. The actor alleges (and is backed up by T. Ashanti Mozelle) that Medina tried to kiss him. Luckily, Mozelle walked in broke it up, but Medina then, allegedly, pursued Dottley through text message. Medina denied the claims and the Smiths have not commented (or been asked to speak) on the matter.
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