Will Smith's strange family secrets

Will Smith was Hollywood's highest earner in 2008, but his influence waned steadily in the following years. After realizing he wasn't big the box office draw he used to be, the Philly-native acknowledged he was the architect of his own downfall, limiting himself to big, tentpole blockbusters regardless of artistic merit. The actor even admitted to The Guardian that something inside him was "broken" following the critical and commercial failure of 2013's After Earth, an ill-conceived sci-fi film starring himself and his son, Jaden Smith.

Jaden's performance was one of the main sticking points for critics, though in many ways his life to date has been one big act. He and his sister Willow Smith have grown up Hollywood, raised in the spotlight by an A-list dad and an actress mother, Jada Pinkett Smith. She may not have reached the same levels of fame as her husband at his peak, but she's certainly had equal influence on their children — in fact, she's just as, if not more outspoken than they are.

As such, the Smith are tabloid staples, and now that Will and Jada have been accused of sliding not-so-gracefully into middle age, and their kids are young adults, they've become all the more fascinating. And every family has its secrets. Rumor has it that if you shake the Smith family closet, more than a few skeletons will come rolling out.

There have been a lot of cheating rumors

Try as they might, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith can't put persistent infidelity rumors to bed. Both have been accused of playing away at different points over the years, with Will making unwanted headlines as recently as 2013. The actor was accused of going there with his Focus co-star Margot Robbie after photos of him and the Australian stunner looking more than a little cozy circulated online, but sources close to the production claimed the pictures were taken in an on-set photo booth.

"The entire cast and crew saw them taken," an insider told to E! News. "Will and Margot are absolutely just friends, that is all." Interestingly, a few months before that story broke, Jada shared her thoughts on cheaters to Facebook. "Should I stay with a mate after she or he has cheated on me?" the actress asked. "This is a very personal choice, and there is no right or wrong answer." She did not, however, name her husband in the post, and any claims that he did the dirty on her have never been substantiated.

Jada herself was at the center of a cheating scandal just a few years earlier when InTouch magazine (via the Daily Mail) alleged that she got jiggy with her HawthoRNe (2009-11) co-star, Marc Anthony. Sources claimed that Will was reduced to tears after he walked in on Jada and Marc (freshly divorced from Jennifer Lopez) doing the deed, but all parties denied it happened.

Will and Jada have been accused of 'bearding'

In 2012, Star magazine (via Hollywood Life) published a sensational story that somehow stuck around for years. The outlet alleged that the Wild Wild West star and his wife were headed for divorce because his bromance with actor Duane Martin had developed into a genuine romance. Will Smith and his Hollywood pal were spotted having lunch at a restaurant in Trinidad, one of many outings they had reportedly been on together in a short span of time.

"Will and Duane definitely looked very close," a source said. "It was clear Will and Duane both arrived and left together." Martin (whose wife Tisha Campbell-Martin filed for divorce in 2018) had already faced questions over his sexuality, and getting close to Will sent the rumor mill into overdrive. "[Jada] can't stand Will's relationship with Duane," the insider added. "She feels like Will flaunts it in her face, hanging out with him every day and taking him on exotic vacations while she's sitting home alone."

The late transgender actress Alexis Arquette also shaded Will's sexuality in 2016, claiming his first marriage to Sheree Zampino ended when she walked in on him with another man. In an explosive rant (via the Daily Mail), Arquette alleged that Jada was also gay and the marriage was one of convenience. However Zampino quickly denied Arquette's claims in a Facebook video (via Page Six), stating rather definitively, "Will was straight in 1992 and he's straight in 2016." 

Has Jaden been in a secret relationship with Tyler, the Creator?

Unlike his old man, Jaden Smith doesn't shy away from rumors that he's gay — in fact, he started them himself. In 2018, the 20-year-old musician and actor shocked fans at the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival when he announced that he and the event's founder Tyler, the Creator (who was in the front row at the time) had been in a romantic relationship for many years.

"I just want to say Tyler, the Creator is the best friend in the world and I love him so f*****g much," an emotional Smith confessed during his set at the California festival. "And I want to tell you guys something. I want to tell you. Tyler doesn't want to say, but Tyler's my mother f*****g boyfriend, and he's been my mother f*****g boyfriend my whole f*****g life. Tyler, the Creator is my f*****g boyfriend. It's true."

Tyler, the Creator reacted by laughing and shaking his head, but Smith later took to Twitter and a radio interview to restate his claim. "I told everyone you can't deny it now," Smith tweeted and deleted (via the Independent). Tyler (whose sexuality has been the subject of much speculation since the release of his 2017 album Flower Boy) responded with a tweet of his own, calling Smith "crazy." Whether Smith was simply playing on the rumors surrounding the controversial rapper or making a heartfelt confession still remains unclear as of January 2020.

Jada is 'biased' against blonde white women

When the #OscarsSoWhite controversy erupted in 2016, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith were among the most vocal critics of the Academy. For the second year running, all 20 actors nominated in the lead and supporting acting categories were white, something that hadn't happened since 1998. Jada released a much publicized (and mocked) video explaining why she was boycotting the event, hoping to shine a spotlight on institutional racism.

In 2018, however, the outspoken actress made headlines again when she confessed her own racial biases. During a particularly candid episode of her Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk (via the Huffington Post) Jada revealed she had a problem with blonde white women. "I do have my own biases, specifically with blonde women," she admitted. "Blonde hair on white women just triggers me, and I've had to catch myself." (The fact that blonde bombshell Margot Robbie told E! News that Will "tastes like Christmas" probably didn't help matters much.)

The Girls Trip star revealed that she's thought twice about doing interviews with blonde women in the past because they remind her of the type of kids who used to tease her in school, but she was quick to concede that this was wrong. "I think what crushes me, specifically in my relationship with white women, the thing that really breaks my heart is that white women understand what it feels to be oppressed [...] because of their sex," she said (via People).

Willow had a very unusual relationship with an adult man

In 2014, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's parenting techniques were called into question after 20-year-old Hannah Montana star Moises Arias posted a photo of himself and Willow Smith (who was only 13 at the time) lying on a bed together. The adult actor was topless in the shot, which sparked an immediate backlash. Sources close to the Smith camp told TMZ that Willow's parents believed she was mature enough "to make her own decisions" and that they saw the picture as "an expression of art," but concerned members of the public wanted an explanation.

TMZ was quick to quiz Jada about the incident when she arrived at LAX for a flight soon after the controversy broke, and the mother of two reacted angrily. "Here's the deal, there was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation," she said, blaming the press for the uproar. "You guys are projecting your trash onto it, and you're acting like covert pedophiles and that's not cool."

Willow and Moises were allowed to remain friends (the two were soon spotted together on a day out in New York, with the older actor inexplicably deciding to go topless once again), but that wouldn't be the end of it. The Smiths were allegedly investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services over the offending photo, but were later later cleared after it was determined that Willow hadn't been in any real danger.

Will's first son felt 'betrayed and abandoned' by him

Because he doesn't court media attention like his outlandish half-siblings Jaden and Willow Smith often do, Will Smith's first-born son tends to fly under the radar. Trey Smith (pictured above) was the product of his father's ill-fated marriage to Sheree Zampino, which actually overlapped with the actor's current relationship. In May 2018, Jada finally admitted that she began dating Will before his divorce from Sheree was finalized.

The two women got together for a highly awkward chat on Red Table Talk, discussing the violation of Sheree's marriage in front of the cameras. "Because I did not understand marriage," Jada said (via Cosmopolitan). "I did not understand divorce." A graceful Sheree thanked Jada for helping to raise her son, who always got along with Jada.

The ladies didn't get into the lasting effects their rivalry had on Trey during their chat, but in November 2018, Will spilled his own tea on the matter. He revealed that he and Trey were now in a good place, but that wasn't always the case. "We STRUGGLED FOR YEARS after my Divorce from his Mother," the I Am Legend star revealed in an emotional Instagram video. "He felt betrayed & abandoned. It is a Wild Blessing to recover & restore a Loving Relationship with My Beautiful Son!"

Jada 'isn't mature enough' to get divorced

Breakup rumors have dogged Will and Jada Pinkett Smith ever since they tied the knot back in 1997, but they rarely comment on the gossip. When the Margot Robbie stories began to gather pace in 2015, however, Will went against that rule and spoke up. "I don't usually respond to foolishness (because it's contagious) but so many people have extended me their 'deepest condolences' that I figured, 'What the hell, I can be foolish, too!'" the A-lister said in a Facebook post. "Jada and I are NOT GETTING A DIVORCE!"

Jada echoed the sentiment to Entertainment Tonight that year, questioning why people seemed to want them to fall apart. "Just so that you know, we're not getting a divorce ... again!" she said. "You'd think people would be rooting for you to stay together, not to break up, you know?" The life partners presented a united front, but more recent quotes suggest that divorce has been discussed at length in the Smith household.

In October 2018, Will appeared on Jada's internet show Red Table Talk (via People) and the topic of ending their marriage came up. "Because I had been divorced before, I wasn't getting divorced again," Will said. "Divorce wasn't an option." Jada joked that it was simply "cheaper" for Will to keep her around, but she got serious when her guest, Toni Braxton, asked about divorce. "For me, personally, I'm not mature enough to have a divorce," the host admitted.

There's a history of domestic violence

Long before he was a Hollywood star Will Smith was busy making a name for himself in music, peddling family-friendly rap that would ultimately define the jiggy era (a term that Smith himself coined). His debut album Big Willie Style remains a favorite throwback for those who grew up in the '90s, yet his music has been mocked for being rather tame in the years since. As it turns out, there's a reason he chose to rap about things other than violence and use zero profanity.

During his frank appearance on Red Table Talk, the "Miami" rapper revealed that he had to set his wife straight about cursing after she used a bad word in front of baby Trey. "I said 'Jada, this is the deal, I grew up in a household where I watched my father punch my mother in the face, and I will not create a house, a space, an interaction with a person where there's profanity and violence," Will said (via USA Today). "If you have to talk to me like that, we can't be together.'"

Will then claimed he and Jada didn't curse at each other for 20 years following that conversation. Jada (whose own mother and father were also physically abusive to one another) insists that if they didn't have that rule in place, they could have potentially ended up being like their parents. "We couldn't afford to [use profanity], because it could get ugly," she added.

Were they secret Scientologists?

Is it possible to study Scientology without actually becoming a Scientologist? Yes, according to Jada Pinkett Smith, because that's exactly what she did. The actress and her famous family have often been linked with the controversial religion, though no members of the Smith clan have ever publicly admitted to being members, despite the following evidence: The former principal at a now-closed school the Smiths founded alleged that the curriculum was Scientology-focused, and 2013's After Earth has been dubbed Scientology propaganda. And yet, Jada always denied becoming a fully-fledged member. According to Tony Ortega, she's lying.

The former Village Voice editor claims that while Will simply "dabbled" in Scientology, his other half was all in. "We have known for years that the dedicated Scientologist in the family was Will's wife," Ortega (who has become something of an authority on the church) wrote on his blog in 2017. "Anyone who reports on Scientology and knows about the Smith family involvement knows this very well. It's not even controversial."

Actress and former church member Leah Remini backed up these claims, telling the Daily Beast that she saw Jada at the Scientology Celebrity Centre "all the time." Jada promptly denied Remini's allegations on Facebook: "I have studied Dianetics, and appreciate the merits of Study Tech... but I am not a Scientologist." The two women squashed their beef in 2018, but questions over Scientology's sway over the Smiths remain unanswered.

Jada was a sex addict

Jada's Facebook Watch show quickly earned a reputation for juicy gossip, but a July 2018 episode of Red Table Talk went above and beyond the usual Smith family reveals. In it, the matriarch admitted that she recently realized she'd been a sex addict in her youth, telling her guests (which included, rather shockingly, her own mother) that at the time she believed "everything could be fixed by sex."

"I definitely think I had a sex addiction of some kind," the actress said (via The Independent). "It's the behavior that's attached to it, because if you want to have a lot of sex, that's great. But why are you having all that sex? That's what you've got to look at." Jada didn't go into her personal reasons for having all that sex back in the day, but she did offer a route out for anyone suffering the same affliction: "Go cold turkey."

"That's the thing about me, I can go cold turkey," she said. "I am a binger, and I always have to watch myself and I can just get obsessed with things." This wasn't the first time that Jada had went into detail about her sex life in front of family members. In a May 2018 episode of the show, the Bad Moms star revealed that she was also addicted to sex toys — right in front of her daughter. "I've had a lot of experience with sex toys," she said. "Lots."

Will admits he's responsible for his wacky kids

Jaden Smith's Twitter provides ample evidence of how out-there his musing on life can get, but it's nothing compared to the now-infamous 2014 joint interview he and Willow Smith gave to T magazine. Highlights included Willow's take on the nature of time ("I can make it go slow or fast... that's how I know it doesn't exist") and Jaden's thoughts on the duality of the human mind ("When you think about an apple, you also think about the opposite of an apple"). The interview sparked wide mockery, including from Sony execs, whose emails were made public after the studio was hacked. 

"They are home schooled," Tom Rothman, then head of TriStar productions, wrote to then co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Amy Pascal (via the Daily Beast). "Don't let this family date your movies!" Will Smith didn't care, despite his longstanding relationship with Sony: "Everybody disses my kids," he said, citing his actual distaste over the matter was the hacking of the information.   

Prior to the Sony scandal, Will seemed to take some responsibility for Jaden and Willow's eccentricity, telling Metro (via E! News) that he and Jada didn't discipline the kids because punishment "has a little too much of a negative quality to it." However, after seeing how Jaden and Willow were being perceived, he changed his tune. "Yeah, I think it may have been a mistake," the actor told BBC Radio 1Xtra, laughing. "We may have gone too far."