"For years and years, there's been a lot of speculation about us and our family," as Will Smith said. But what has that called for? Hang on while we walk you through one of America's most captivating families over the years.
He was a rising superstar; She, a devoted wife with talents of her own. Together, Will and Jada went on to become The Smiths: One of Hollywood's most unstoppable families. But that doesn't mean it was easy.
From infamous entanglements to unconventional parenting - to everything in between - perhaps there's more to the seemingly perfect family than meets the eye. Let's go back to the very beginning as we dig deeper inside the Smiths' rise to fame and fortune.
Will Was the 'Fresh Prince'
Long before his path led him towards Hollywood, Will Smith actually had his sights set elsewhere: Bel-Air. Back in 1990, at just a little over 20-years-old, the young star caught himself a big break. He was the Fresh Prince now, a role that'd change his life forever.
After starring on our TV screens for 6+ years, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor was just getting started. He had a promising career laid out in front of him. One that would soon morph Will into the international star we know him as today. But that wasn't the only reason the sitcom changed him.
He Met Jada on Set
"I don't know what it was… [but] I knew that there was something in our energy that would be magic," Will revealed of the moment he met his future soulmate. In 1994, as 19-year-old Jada Pinkett found her way onto the Fresh Prince set, fate had different plans for her.
You see, the aspiring actress's time in Bel-Air was cut short: Her audition for the role of Will's on-screen girlfriend was deemed unsuccessful. Nonetheless, the sparks were undeniable. And in only a matter of time, Will and Jada's love story would truly take off.
Will Was Already Married
It's hard to picture a time where Will and Jada weren't by each other's side. But back in 1994, Will was already a taken man. The actor had married his girlfriend, Sheree Zampino, two years before fate brought him and Jada together. Which meant that while he couldn't keep his mind off of her, he certainly tried to.
In fact, as Will himself put it, he was never planning on getting divorced - it simply happened. If things had gone differently? The confused star would have "went back out, sat back down with Sheree, and started going back on with his life." Of course, though, we know that's not how this story ends.
Their Marriage Ended
While Will continued to carry on with his life, he soon realized just how hard it would truly be. In fact, it was practically impossible. "I had a realization that I wasn't with the person that I was supposed to be with," he explained. Instead, "I knew [Jada] was the [one]."
Ironically enough, though, Will's mind was actually more confused than ever. You see, if you asked him? "I was happy that I figured it out, but devastated emotionally." In his head, "[I thought] it was never gonna happen." Sure enough, he was wrong: On February 14, 1995, his wife of three years officially filed for divorce.
The Start of Will & Jada
Will was more than ready for what the future had in store. And as the newly divorced star made his way down those courthouse steps, he knew exactly what he was going to do next. "I remember [after signing divorce papers]... I walked out of there and... I had Jada's number," Smith revealed. "I literally called [her]."
“Cool, you’re seeing me now,” Smith recalled of the sly words Jada was met with. How did his love interest respond? In the blink of an eye, the smitten star packed a bag as she said goodbye to her hometown of Baltimore to join Will in L.A. And the rest was history.
Making it Official
It all happened so fast. In the span of months, Will and Jada went from engaged to expecting a child – to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It all started in November of ’97, as the actor got down on one knee to pop the question. Little did they know the events that would soon transpire.
"I was like, 'What am I gonna do now?'" Jada recalled of the panic that crept in the following day. She was pregnant; Something neither of them had planned for. What they did know, though, was that they loved each other. So, on New Year's Eve 1997, the two exchanged "I Do"s as they braced themselves for the future.
Becoming a Family
On July 8th, 1998, Will and Jada Smith welcomed Jaden Christopher Syre Smith. From the minute he was born, nothing about him was ordinary. "It took me 20 minutes to [deliver him]," the proud mom gushed. "My mother's a nurse, and she was in there with me, and she was amazed!"
Their little baby boy had officially turned them into a family. And in only a matter of time, Jaden would follow in his parents' footsteps. But long before the child was propped into the spotlight, the Smiths welcomed another addition to their family.
About two years later, the Smiths were officially a family of four. On October 31st, 2000, Will and Jada welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world: Willow Camille Reign Smith. And just like her brother, the child was named after her proud parents.
Except that's not the only similarity she shared with mom and dad. Years down the line, young Willow's talents would also help morph her into a star. But before the child's life was turned around, there were other major changes inside the Smith household. At least where her father was concerned.
Will's Career Reached New Heights
From kicking off a music career to endless Golden Globe nominations, Will Smith was just getting started. As the years continued to fly by, so did the success the actor welcomed with open arms. In fact, by the early 2000s, the rising star had officially taken Hollywood by storm.
There was no doubt about it. He was no longer the same troublemaking teen viewers fell in love with on TV. Smith was finally a leading man out in Hollywood, a force to be reckoned with. And soon enough, the star's children would also be. Keep scrolling.
Their Big Breaks
As we already know, Jaden and Willow ticked off a whole lot during their time in the spotlight. It all started back in '06, when we watched an adorable 8-year-old boy join his father on our screens. Of course, we're talking about the moment Jaden made his film debut in Pursuit of Happyness. And it's only been up from there.
From co-starring alongside dad to critically acclaimed roles, the child-star has made quite the name for himself. And that's not even mentioning his recent musical successes. As for his sister? After her debut hit single, Whip My Hair, the little legend managed to ink a deal with Jay-Z's label, Roc Nation. (Remember that?)
Friends in High Places
What comes next when you've got record-breaking deals and hoards of screaming fans? A-list acquaintances, of course. It's no surprise the Smiths have picked up some pretty famous friends along the way. But aside from Jay-Z, who else grew fond of Will's talented family?
From Oprah to Tom Cruise, it's pretty hard to find a face out in Hollywood who wasn't in the family's circle. Then again, there's a reason Will's title as the Fresh Prince still stands to this very day. He was as charming as he is talented, something that propped him onto our screens back in 1990.
Their Net Worth
With every year that passed by, the Smiths continued to dominate the world of Hollywood. The family was seemingly unstoppable - and they had the fortune to show for it. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Will and Jada allegedly had a combined $400 million tucked away in the bank. But that's not all.
It appears that their mini-mes have since followed in their steps. And not only when it came to our screens. As Celebrity Net Worth revealed, both Jaden and Willow have actually landed themselves millionaire status. As for how much they've earned? Apparently, $8 and $6 million, respectively.
Everything Seemed Perfect
To their millions of fans, there was no denying it: The Smiths were living out their very own fairytale. "The Karate Kid, Whip My Hair, Hawthorne, and the Nobel Peace Price: Our family did that within a 6 month period," Will gushed. "We were on top of the world." Or so it seemed.
The reality? Behind their 25,000 square foot mansion's gates, there was a whole lot more going on than we may have realized. And it wasn't long before fans started asking questions. Have the signs of a crumbling relationship been there all along? people began to wonder.
Trouble in Paradise
Sure enough, fast forward to 2011, and life for the Smith family suddenly took a sharp turn. Instead of their fame and fortune plastering headlines, whispers of infidelity began to take its place. More specifically, Jada's relationship with married Hawthorne co-star, Marc Anthony.
Was there any truth to the rumors? In only a matter of time, Will and Jada rushed to share their side of the story. And they had lots to say. "The rumors circulating… are completely false," they assured. As for the reports of their alleged split? "I'm not commenting," Jada's rep answered, leaving fans with even more questions.
The Turning Point in Their Relationship
Whatever the truth behind the swirling rumors may have been, everything changed months later; The moment Jada rang in her 40th birthday. It should have been a joyous occasion, celebrated by those near and dear. And while it was rung in alongside family and friends, it was far from happy times.
"I was just like, 'I can't do this like this anymore,'" Jada revealed of "the turning point in their relationship:" An elaborate birthday party - all put together by her eager husband. But it didn't end well. "She told me the party was the most ridiculous display of my ego," Will revealed. "I was crushed because it was true."
Rumors of an Open Marriage
Unfortunately, by 2013, Will and Jada's struggles were just getting started. This time around, everything their marriage stood for was called into question. As fans continued to speculate, rumors continued to grow that the two were actually in an open relationship.
But even more so, people were pointing the finger at a different face: Margot Robbie, who fans were convinced had cozied up to Will, her Focus costar. "Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other," Jada hit back. "This does NOT mean we have an open relationship… this means we have a GROWN one."
They Secretly Broke Up
From rumors of infidelity to talks of open marriage, the couple had certainly been put to the test. But by 2016? Will and Jada Smith simply couldn't take it any longer: "We decided we were going to separate for a period of time," Smith revealed of their secret split.
"You go figure out how to make yourself happy, and I figure out how to make myself happy," the actor recalled of the words he was met with. No, they didn't head to the courthouse to make it official. Instead, they had their own approach to handling things; Something that'd soon come back to haunt them.
August Alsina Revealed He Was Dating Jada
You see, as the former sweethearts headed separate ways, it soon led Jada down a slippery path. But in order to understand the events that soon transpired later that year, we're taking you back to 2020: The moment rapper August Alsina dropped a bombshell that sent the internet running wild.
"It's just a part of life, and it's a part of the journey," Alsina revealed to People in the summer of 2020. What happened? As he put it, he and Jada embarked on their own relationship shortly after she and Will split. But that's not all he said. According to the rapper, he even earned Will's stamp of approval.
Jada Sets the Story Straight
Of course, it wasn't long before the online world was sent scrambling. With the Smiths' split formerly kept a secret, the lines between faithfulness and betrayal were suddenly blurred; At least as far as spectators were concerned. Perhaps that's why Jada soon took to her talkshow The Red Table Talk, to set the story straight.
"One thing I wanna clean up… [August's] not a homewrecker," Pinkett Smith promised viewers at home. As she explained it, "I just wanted to feel good. It had been so long since I had felt good." Sure enough, her little road bump would go on to change her relationship in more ways than she could've ever imagined.
They Repaired the Relationship
They say when you love something to set it free. And for Will and Jada? They came to learn that the hard way. "We did everything we could to get away from each other, only to realize that that wasn't possible," an emotional Jada revealed of the events that followed.
"It [was] a huge healing in my life - what I had to confront and discover, the ugly truths and the beauty," Jada explained of their time spent apart. Throughout the highs and the lows, they had made it to the other side. They had survived. "There's a real power in knowing somebody's riding with you no matter what."
Their Mysterious Relationship With their Kids
Fast forward to today, and Will and Jada are still riding out their journey together: The "ugly truths," the "beauty," and everything in between. But what about their relationship with their children? Where do they stand? For starters, their family dynamic has, too, come to raise many questions over the years.
"The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives," Will revealed of their unique parenting approach. "Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives." But what exactly does that call for?
The Smith "Circle of Safety"
In the Smith household, there's no such thing as punishment. "It has a little too much of a negative quality," as Will explained. Instead? *Enter the mysterious "circle of safety."* So long as Jaden and Willow admit to any wrong doings they may have done in the past, they won't be punished for them.
But there is a catch: If it ever comes to light that either of the children withheld information, there is "h*ll to pay." And you can bet it hasn't always been easy. "I'm like, [Willow], you need to start lying!'" Will joked of the uncomfortable conversations his role has called for.
Willow & Jaden's "Mystery School" Beliefs
Willow and Jaden are clearly unlike any other children. But not only because of their famous parents. When the time came to hit the books, the young stars were enrolled in interesting homeschooling; A "mystery school," where they were taught things like making records and building pyramids.
But in 2014, their interview with T Magazine left the world speechless; Full of questions about everything the Smiths had thought to be true. "Time, for me? I can make it go slow or fast. However I please. And that's how I know it doesn't exist," Willow assured. Her brother Jaden? Couldn't agree more.
Are They Secret Scientologists?
We already know that the Smith family is far from ordinary. But exactly what does that mean? According to former celebrity scientologist, Leah Remini there's a massive secret they've been keeping tucked away for decades. "I know Jada's in," the actress began. "She's been in Scientology a long time." But Remini wasn't done just yet.
As she put it, The New Village Leadership Academy - a school the Smiths once founded - was a secret Scientology institution. Sure enough, her accusation left the online world buzzing. And with the family's inner circle consisting of famed Scientologist Tom Cruise, fans couldn't help but wonder: Could it be?
Will's First Son Felt "Abandoned"
But what about their son who never made it into the spotlight? Unfortunately, the actor's relationship with his firstborn, Trey, wasn't exactly smooth sailing. "We struggled for years after my divorce from his mother [Sheree]," an emotional Smith revealed.
You see, life as he knew it changed the minute Will crossed paths with Jada. Trey had felt "betrayed, abandoned." But as we've seen before, it's never too late to turn things around. And that's exactly what Will did. "It's been a wild blessing to recover and restore a loving relationship with my beautiful son!" the dad gushed.
Jaden's "Devastating" Revelation
Unfortunately for Will and Jada, their time as parents was eventually met with a heartbreaking revelation. On July 8th, 2013, as Jaden welcomed his 15th birthday, he also welcomed an idea he'd soon bring to mom and dad; The best "birthday gift" he could receive - or at least that's how he saw it.
"It was probably one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life," Jada revealed of the moment her baby boy came asking for an emancipation; The same child she'd called a son for the past 15 years. But as devastated as she was, the truth was simply unavoidable: "He's right. The time is now.'"
Jada Set Jaden Free
How did Jada put it? "Being in this lifestyle - in this world - is a bubble, and he wanted out." The reality was that the heartbroken mom never wanted to say bye to the little boy she once raised. But it was inevitable. It was only a matter of time before he'd want to spread his wings.
"I knew the sooner I let him go, the faster he was going to come back," she revealed, after agreeing to let him move out. Sure enough, she was right. Not only did Jaden never file the paperwork, but when he finally did pack up his bags in 2017? He moved to Hidden Hills, only a short drive from his family's Malibu home.
Willow Struggled With the Fame
As we already know, Jaden reached a point where he wanted out from under all of the blinding lights. But so did his little sister. Back in 2010, Willow was just 10-years-old when she stepped out onto the scene; A child. And what we didn't know at the time, was that it was all too much for the young girl.
"Everyone was trying to make me better, trying to make my dream. But I didn't really understand what my dream entailed," she reflected. Only that "dream" was inescapable. By '14, the same fame that once placed her on top led to utter chaos; An investigation, from Child Protective Services all thanks to rumors running wild online.
Well, where do they go from here? There's no doubt about it: Will and Jada's road to Hollywood has had its fair share of obstacles. But throughout the hurdles along the way, they've come out on the other side - even stronger. "We've really gotten to that new place of unconditional love," as Jada gushed.
We watched them go from star-crossed lovers to a united force to be reckoned with; Building their very own empire in the process. And while we can't tell you what the future has in store for them and their family, something tells us this is only the beginning.