A Complete Timeline Of Will And Jada Pinkett Smith's Relationship

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been through plenty of ups and downs throughout their almost two-decades-long marriage. While their relationship has been anything but conventional, the pair have carved out a successful life for themselves and their children, Jaden Smith, and Willow Smith

Will and Jada married in 1997 and have not held back about what makes their relationship thrive, along with the factors that nearly caused it to crumble. However, as Will told TIDAL's "Rap Radar"podcast, the two appear to have a solid connection capable of withstanding any and all relationship troubles. Speaking about his deep connection to his wife, the "King Richard" star explained, "There's no deal breakers. There's nothing she could do — ever. Nothing that would break our relationship ... She has my support till death and it feels so good to get to that space."

From rumors of divorce and an open marriage to Scientology accusations and Oscar controversies, the pair have endured the most relentless of media scrutiny. Throughout it all, the couple have seemingly maintained a united front. So how did Will and Jada meet and what course has their relationship taken since? Here's a complete timeline of their relationship.

The two met during an audition

In the early 1990s, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were both up-and-coming television actors. While The Fresh Prince emerged from his successful music career with DJ Jazzy Jeff onto the acting scene for his eponymously-named role of Will in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Jada similarly got her start on the sitcom "A Different World." Little did either of them know that their worlds would collide during an audition for Will's classic '90s sitcom. Speaking to Vanity Fair, Jada revealed that she auditioned for the role of Will's girlfriend in the show when she was about 19, but claimed that she was deemed too short for the role. 

However, as the actor claimed in an interview with Extra in 2017, producers from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" soon invited her back after her career started to rise. She turned them down. "Once I got on my feet, and you know I was doing my thing ... I had done a couple of movies and I did 'Different World,' then 'Fresh Prince' wanna come back and be like, 'We need you on the show.' I was like, 'No, I'm a movie star, I don't have time.'"

Will's girlfriend on the show was eventually played by actor Nia Long, who later told People, "The joke that I have with Jada is that I got the job but she got the husband." The star's unsuccessful audition left a lasting impact on her future husband, regardless. 

Will was married when he caught feelings for Jada

After seeing her in "A Different World," Will Smith wanted to get to know Jada Pinkett Smith and enlisted the help of a mutual friend to formally introduce them. As he explained in a 2018 episode of "Red Table Talk," the friend had planned on setting the two up on the set of Jada's sitcom but plans changed when Smith caught eyes for someone else. "The dude that was going to introduce me to Jada was with another girl and I was like 'Who is that?'" The other woman was Sheree Zampino, whom Smith eventually married in 1992, per InStyle.

Smith and Zampino welcomed a son, Willard "Trey" Smith III in 1992. Throughout his first marriage, he and Jada would frequently bump into each other and enjoy each other's company. It was during these platonic incidents that the "Aladdin" star discovered that he had feelings for her. "I had a realization I wasn't with the person I was supposed to be with," he recalled on "Red Table Talk." "I was sitting in a [bathroom] stall and I was crying and laughing uncontrollably, and I knew [Jada] was the woman I was supposed to be with."

Will and Zampino divorced in 1995, and the actor wasted no time in connecting with his new lover that same year. With a phone call and the smooth line, "You're seeing me now," the two started dating.

Jada never wanted to get married

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were inseparable during the early stages of their relationship. In his 2019 memoir "Will," the "Ali" star recalled, "We drank every day, and had sex multiple times every day, for four straight months." Although their passionate relationship was thriving, Jada never had any intentions of getting hitched. As the actor told People in 2019, outside influences eventually changed her mind. "I never wanted to get married. But my mother was like, 'You have to get married' — she's so old school — and Will wanted a family. So I said, 'All right, maybe it's something I should do.'"

By 1997, Jada was pregnant, and the pressure to get married only intensified. On a 2018 episode of "Red Table Talk," she jokingly reflected on her attitude at the time saying, "I was like 'I don't wanna get married and now Gammy done gone to Will crying about I don't want a wedding." The two married on December 31, that same year. At its core, Jada's attitude towards marriage may not have changed much. However, it has far less to do with her husband and more to do with what marriage represents to her. In a 2019 interview with The Guardian, she revealed, "I knew that I was not built for conventional marriage ... Even the word 'wife': it's a golden cage, swallow the key."

They started a family fast

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith's wedding wasn't particularly enjoyable for the "Scream 2" star for a notable reason. As she explained during an episode of "Red Table Talk," she was three months pregnant with their first child and experiencing sickness from her first trimester. The two welcomed Jaden Christopher Syre Smith to the world on July 10, 1998, and as his mom explained to Fit Pregnancy two years later, she couldn't wait to meet him. "With Jaden, the doctor said it'd take an hour-and-a-half to deliver him," she explained. "And I said, 'Oh, it's not going to take that long. I'm too anxious to meet this baby.' It took me 20 minutes to push him out."

The couple continued to grow their family, and on October 31, 2000, their daughter, Willow Camille Reign Smith was born. Along with their two children, Jada has also helped to co-parent Smith's son Trey Smith from his previous marriage to Sheree Zampino. While in conversation with Will's ex-wife on "Red Table Talk," Jada copped to initially mishandling her duties as a stepmom in a blended family. "I will say that I probably should've fell back," she shared. Still, the actor remains proud of her parental achievements. In a different episode of her Facebook talk show, she reflected that when it comes to her children's kindness and accomplishments, "I'm a proud mama." 

The couple were rumored to be Scientologists

Throughout their marriage, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith's connection to Scientology has been long speculated about. It all began in 2004 when Jada starred alongside Tom Cruise in the thriller "Collateral." Speaking to Access Hollywood in 2007, Will suggested that it was the "Top Gun" star who introduced him to the belief system. However, he appeared to deny subscribing to Scientology and instead stated, "I'm a student of world religion."

Still, in 2008 eyebrows were raised when the pair donated $122,500 to several different organizations that were allegedly affiliated with Scientology, among other unrelated art and civic charities, per ABC News. While the Smiths had loose connections to the organization over the years, nothing quite cemented the belief that they were Scientologists like their alternative school, which was set up that same year. The home-based learning facility had humble beginnings, with their children Jaden and Willow Smith among its original 20 to 30 students, as reported by The Daily Beast. Eager to expand the school beyond their residence, Will was reported as having paid $890,000 to lease Indian Hills High School in California, and started the New Village Learning Academy.

The controversial school was accused of creating a curriculum around the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Will and Jada denied the allegations and maintained that the school was secular. Regardless, the academy closed in 2013 and the couple have continued to declare that they've never been Scientologists

Breakup rumors have been relentless

The alleged instability of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's marriage has been a focal point of rumors about the couple for years. In 2011, for instance, InTouch (via Washington Post) reported that the two were officially separating. At the time, Jada was rumored to have had an affair with her "HawthoRNe" co-star, Marc Anthony, following a report from the outlet that Smith walked in on the two at his home (via TMZ). As speculation about their alleged divorce broke, the Smiths released a statement denying the gossip. "Although we are reluctant to respond to these types of press reports, the rumors circulating about our relationship are completely false," the two said in a statement published by Billboard. "We are still together, and our marriage is intact."

Speculation around the couple's relationship was further complicated when Jada discussed their marriage in a 2013 interview with HuffPost Live. Suggesting that her husband was freely given liberties in their marriage, the "Set It Off" star explained, "At the end of the day, Will is his own man. I'm here as his partner, but he is his own man." She later clarified on Facebook that she did not mean they were in an open marriage. 

The breakup rumors resurfaced once again in 2015, and this time Will took to Facebook to firmly insist that he and his wife were not divorcing. He wrote, "If I ever decide to divorce my Queen — I SWEAR I'll tell you myself."

A notorious entanglement

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's world was seemingly dismantled when singer August Alsina alleged that he was in a relationship with the "Red Table Talk" host. The "No Love" performer addressed rumors and opened up about their relationship in an interview with Angela Yee on June 30, 2020, saying in part, "I totally gave myself to that relationship for years of my life, and I truly and really, really deeply love and have a ton of love for her." In the same interview, Alsina also claimed that Will gave him his blessing to pursue a relationship with his wife. 

That same day, representatives for Jada shared a statement with Page Six that claimed Alsina's account of the relationship was false. However, by that time the world had already swallowed the story. Just ten days after the singer's interview with Angela Yee, Jada brought herself to the Red Table to clarify the details of their relationship.

Jada publicly discussed her relationship with August

On July 10, 2020, Jada Pinkett Smith personally addressed her relationship with August Alsina on "Red Table Talk," and Will Smith joined her for the conversation. In the episode, both she and her husband revealed that they had gone through a rough patch as a couple. Sometime around 2016, the couple then decided to amicably separate. Meanwhile, Jada formed a friendship with Alsina, and the two eventually developed a romantic relationship which she famously referred to as an "entanglement."

Over time, the "Magic Mike XXL" star realized that she needed to heal, and that being away from her husband wasn't the solution. "I would definitely say that we tried everything we could to get away from each other, only to realize that that wasn't possible," Jada explained. In this realization, she and Alsina reportedly stopped talking and had not talked since ending their relationship. The Smiths also claimed that Will didn't give his blessing for the relationship. "The only person who can give permission in that particular circumstance is myself," Jada noted, adding that Alsina certainly wasn't at fault, either. 

While the episode may have cleared the air for the couple, Alsina may not have been quite as satisfied with his ex-girlfriend's account of their relationship. Two months later, his song "Entanglements" appeared to heavily reference the relationship with lyrics including, "Girl I know that we don't call it a relationship ... But you're still f****n' with me."

A marriage beyond traditional constraints

Jada Pinkett Smith had an unconventional idea of marriage from the start. So it stands to reason that her similarly unorthodox marriage to Will Smith would be redefined to better fit their needs as a couple. Discussing their relationship in TIDAL's "Rap Radar" podcast in 2018, Will explained, "We don't even say we're married anymore. We refer to ourselves as life partners, where you get into that space where you realize you are literally with somebody for the rest of your life." Though they have abandoned traditional terminology, the couple has maintained that they will remain dedicated to their union as a couple for the rest of their lives. And by all accounts, they seem to be doing so in some traditional, and less than traditional, ways. 

In 2020, for instance, Jada suggested that experiencing quarantine with her husband had also helped the two of them grow closer in a new way. On "Red Table Talk," she said, "The thing that Will and I are learning to do is be friends." A year later, her husband opened up about their modern relationship in an interview with GQ, wherein he suggested that allowing a partner to enjoy support and independence within a relationship is the peak of a loving union. "We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way," he said. "And marriage for us can't be a prison."

Will revealed all in his memoir

From their unique child-raising techniques to their unique marriage, neither Will Smith nor Jada Pinkett Smith has held back on sharing intimate details of their personal life. In Smith's 2019 memoir, "Will," the actor further elaborated on his relationship and on his insecurities as a husband. 

One particularly hot topic was Jada's relationship with Tupac Shakur. Per Will's memoir, the two met as teenagers at the Baltimore School for the Arts and developed a loyal, platonic friendship that lasted until his tragic death in 1996. The two remained friends as she started dating Will, which stirred up jealousy for the actor. He wrote, "In the beginning of our relationship, my mind was tortured by their connection. He was 'PAC! and I was me."

Will also revealed that their marriage hit a breaking point around Jada's 40th birthday. At that time, the two agreed to abandon their expectations and give each other the freedom to find what made each person happy. That ultimately meant letting go of their relationship. In "Will" he mused on the illusion of a perfect marriage and wrote (via Entertainment Tonight), "Neither of us wanted a divorce; we knew we loved each other, and some aspects of our union were magical. But the structure of the life that we had established was strangling both of us." The pair eventually got back together with a bond that Will claimed was healthier and stronger than before, in an interview with GQ.

Jada stands by her man

While Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been through many difficult times and personal setbacks, arguably one of their biggest happened at the 2022 Oscars ceremony. While presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature, Chris Rock made a joke at the expense of Jada's shaved head, telling the audience, "G.I. Jane Two, can't wait to see it." Having openly shared her struggles with alopecia — an autoimmune disorder that can cause hair loss — the star was shown immediately rolling her eyes at the gag. Shortly after, Smith walked up on stage, slapped Rock, returned to his seat, and yelled, "Keep my wife's name out your f***in' mouth!"

Will's shocking behavior caused a stir among viewers and the media, with many questioning whether or not the altercation was scripted (apparently, it was not). The actor ultimately won the best actor award for his role in "King Richard," but the accolade was greatly overshadowed by the outburst, which took place just minutes earlier. 

The actor consequently resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years, per Deadline. Jada appeared to address the incident on Instagram with a cryptic post that stated, "This is a season for healing and I'm here for it." Meanwhile, a source suggested to US Weekly that while the "Girls Trip" star didn't need anyone to fight her battles for her, she was going to stand by Will regardless.