For decades, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith were the epitomai of Black love due to what looked like a successful marriage, a beautiful family, and their constant support of one another. Social media was filled with #couplegoals memes of the actors and even J. Cole said he wanted “that Jada and that Will love” in his song “No Role Modelz.”
But like most celebrity couples, they were plagued with rumors like having an open marriage. However, over the last few years, the public perception of their marriage changed. The couple individually became more vocal about their relationship thanks to Jada’s popular Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk and Will’s self-titled memoir and the once pedestal that fans put them on was knocked from under their feet and they began to face back-to-back criticism.
The first shocking moment was when Jada admitted she had an “entanglement” with singer August Alsina after he revealed their relationship in an interview with Angela Yee. Jada continued to face backlash for other comments she said about her and Will’s relationship on her show. And then it was Will’s turn. The King Richard star’s memoir made several revelations about his and Jada’s relationship that many fans were becoming exhausted by them and there was even a petition started to stop the couple from sharing so many intimate details about their lives.
The #couplegoals memes quickly became jokes about their relationship. However, the couple still received support from others who applauded them for their authenticity. No relationship is perfect and after 25 years of marriage, it should be no surprise that they have dealt with a lot of ups and downs.
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But one takeaway from their nontraditional marriage is that they each allow the other person to have the freedom to be and do what they want. They also love each other no matter what, giving a new meaning to the viral clip “I’mma stick beside him/her.”
Here’s everything Will and Jada said about their marriage.
In an interview with Gayle King for 'CBS This Morning,' Will dismissed the notion that there was infidelity in their marriage.
"There's never been infidelity in our marriage. Never. Jada and I talk about everything, and we have never surprised one another with anything ever," he clarified to Gayle.
Jada dispelled rumors about having an open marriage.
"Should we be married to individuals who can not be responsible for themselves and their families within their freedom? Should we be in relationships with individuals who we can not entrust to their own values, integrity, and LOVE...for us??? Here is how I will change my statement...Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship...this means we have a GROWN one."
The “Fresh Prince” opened up about their unconventional marriage and unconditional love for one another in an interview with GQ.
"The pursuit of truth is the only way to be happy in this lifetime. And we sort of came to the agreement that authenticity was the release from the shackles of fame and public scrutiny."
"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. 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."
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"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 said via GQ.
Jada also spoke of not wanting a conventional marriage.
“I knew that I was not built for conventional marriage. Even the word ‘wife’: it’s a golden cage, swallow the key. Even before I was married, I was like, ‘That’ll kill me.’ And it damn near did!”
“Will is my life partner and I could not ask for a better one. I adore him, I never want people to think it was Will I didn’t want to marry,” she told the outlet. “But I can assure you that some of the most powerful women in the world feel caged and tied, because of the sacrifices they have to make to be in that position. So I wanted to talk about how we really feel about marriage.” via The Guardian.
In an interview with Oprah, Will discussed the importance of him and Jada finding happiness on their own.
“People only think of things in terms of sex… But the goal [of our marriage] is not a sexual goal. It’s spiritual. We are going to love each other no matter what.”
“To this day, if we start talking, it’s four hours. It’s four hours if we exchange a sentence. It’s the center of why we’ve been able to sustain and, you know, and why we’re still together, not choking the life out of each other. It’s like the ability to work through issues. I’ve just never met another person that I connect with in conversation more blissfully and productively than Jada.”
“We never actually like officially separated. Right? What happened was that we realized that it was a fantasy illusion that we could make each other happy. And we agreed that she had to make herself happy and I had to make myself happy. And then we were gonna present ourselves back to the relationship already happy. Versus demanding the other person fill our empty cup.”
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“The problem is that when you come [broken] like that, the cup actually has a hole in the bottom. So you pour all your good love in there and it goes out onto the floor… You got two broken people and that’s what we’re doing. We just decided that you have to figure out how to be happy, you know? And it was a little bit more contentious from my side. I was like, ‘You know what, you go figure it out. You go figure out if you can be happy and just prove to me it’s even possible.’ I’ma do me and you do you.”
“The simple idea [of loving in freedom] is, you love in freedom with everybody except your partner, right? Your kids are gonna go off to college and you’re going to wait for them to come back and they might not be able to come back this Christmas, and you know, you let them go. Your friends–there’s a certain fluidity in your interactions, right? It’s…it’s friendship versus marital prison." via The Oprah Conversation on AppleTV+.
Jada talked about needing freedom in her marriage to Will.
“I just felt like, I needed more freedom. And freedom in the sense of like … the public wants you to be a certain way, your family needs you in a certain way, your partner needs you to be something. And for me, that just was never … I’m really a free spirit at heart, I really am. And I always have been. And I just felt like my life had got constricted into this little box and it was strangling me, basically.” viaEntertainment Tonight.
Jada further explained her views on open marriage and why she and I Will aren't in one.
“Open marriage? Let me first say this, there are far more important things to talk about in regards to what is happening in the world than whether I have an open marriage or not. I am addressing this issue because a very important subject has been born from discussions about my statement that may be worthy of addressing.”
“The statement I made in regard to, 'Will can do whatever he wants,' has illuminated the need to discuss the relationship between trust and love and how they co-exist. Do we believe loving someone means owning them? Do we believe that ownership is the reason someone should 'behave'? Do we believe that all the expectations, conditions, and underlying threats of “you better act right or else” keep one honest and true? Do we believe that we can have meaningful relationships with people who have not defined nor live by the integrity of his or her higher self? What of unconditional love? Or does love look like, feel like, and operate as enslavement? Do we believe that the more control we put on someone the safer we are? What of TRUST and LOVE?”
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“Should we be married to individuals who can not be responsible for themselves and their families within their freedom? Should we be in relationships with individuals who we can not entrust to their own values, integrity, and LOVE…for us???Here is how I will change my statement…Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship…this means we have a GROWN one.” via Facebook April 2013
Will’s memoir gave insight into the time they were separated.
“Our time apart had helped us both to discover the power of loving in freedom. We are simultaneously one hundred percent bound together, and one hundred percent free. We agreed that we are both imperfect people, doing our best to figure out how to be in this world joyfully.”
Jada opened up about trust in their relationship.
"You gotta trust who you're with, and at the end of the day, I'm not here to be anybody's watcher. I'm not his watcher. He's a grown man. I trust that the man that Will is is a man of integrity. HE's got all the freedom in the world, and as long as Will can look at himself in the mirror and be OK, I'm good." via The Howard Stern Show.
Will explained why he and Jada don’t consider themselves married anymore.
"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. 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." via Rap Radar’s podcast
Jada spoke on rumors surrounding their marriage.
"I've heard all the things—their marriage is not real, he's gay, she's gay, they swing. But at the end of the day, people have to believe what they have to believe. I'll tell you what, it's too hard to be in a pretend marriage. Life's too short for that one." via Atlanta’s Q100 radio
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Will spoke on the fake concept of marriage.
“I remember the day I retired. I literally said to Jada ‘That’s it. I retire. I retire from trying to make you happy. I need you to go make yourself happy and just prove to me that it’s even possible.’”
“We cracked the hell up. We started talking about [how] we came into this fake romantic concept that somehow when we got married that we would become one. And, what we realized is that we were two completely separate people on two completely separate individual journeys and that we were choosing to walk our separate journeys together. But her happiness was her responsibility and my happiness was my responsibility.” via Instagram.
Jada believed she would never get married.
"I never thought about being married or having a family. I didn't know anything about that because I came from a single mom so I always thought I'd be a single mom and have a career. Then I found this beautiful man, Will. I got married to him and I got my bonus son Trey and then I got Jaden and I got Willow and I was able to create, for myself, something I never had—which means family." via Vh1's Dear Mama Event
Both Will and Jada explained their views on monogamy.
Will: “Our perspective is, you don’t avoid what’s natural and you’re going to be attracted to people. And if it came down to it, then one would say to the other: ‘Look, I need to have sex with somebody. Now, I’m not going to if you don’t approve of it.’… In our marriage vows, we didn’t say ‘forsaking all others.’ We said, ‘you will never hear I did something afterwards.’ Because if that happens the relationship is destroyed.” via U.K. magazine Reveal, July 2008
Jada: “We always have people that we’re attracted to that we talk about. That don’t stop just because you’re married. Somebody’s always gonna catch your eye. That’s real. Somebody’s gonna always be prettier than me, and somebody’s always gonna be more in awe of him than me, and he gonna be like *in Will’s voice* ‘yo, she really like me’ (laughter), but as far as somebody being right for us… is there somebody right for a nice night? Maybe. But somebody that can sustain our life and sustain what we’ve built together, absolutely not!” via WJLB Morning Show, June 2010
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Jada called Will her best friend.
"He's been by my side through some of the most difficult parts of my life. And so that's something you can never take away. A lot of other things, you never know, other things might change...but one thing is for sure: I love him deeply and he is my best friend." viaHuffPost Live
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
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Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
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Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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