All of Will Smith’s Leading Ladies Before Marrying Jada Pinkett Smith

Before Will and Jada even got together, he had feelings for her. He was looking for her on the set of “A Different World” when he originally met Zampino. “I didn’t meet Jada that day . . . We had all these near misses,” he said on a 2018 episode of “Red Table Talk.”

He and Jada didn’t actually meet until 1994 when she auditioned for a role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” She didn’t get the gig, but when the two linked up for a dinner with friends during his marriage to Zampino, they commiserated over both of their respective

“dysfunctional” relationships and gave each other advice. “When everyone else left, Jada and I stayed, and I was surprised at how smart she was. Generally, people don’t arouse your intellect and your loins,” Will told Rolling Stone in 1998 about the dinner that changed everything. Will later said on “Red Table Talk” that the connection was “real, unique, beautiful power” and showed him what his life could be like.

The pair knew they had a connection, and that’s why they made a concerted effort to stay away from each other. “I didn’t talk to him for six months,” Jada told Rolling Stone. “When you know there’s a connection, you think, ‘This is not something I want to fool around with.’ . . . It was like a secret we had. I knew, but I didn’t get any signal from him.”

After Will and Zampino divorced in 1995, Will called Jada, and they got together for real. They married in 1997 and now have two kids together, Jaden and Willow.

Will and Jada have had their own relationship ups and downs through the years. “We decided that we were going to separate for a period of time, and you go figure out how to make yourself happy, and I’ll figure out how to make myself happy,” Will said in 2020 on “Red Table Talk” about their separation a few years prior. Jada engaged in a romantic relationship with singer August Alsina at the time, but the relationship was short-lived, and the couple ultimately knew they still wanted to be together.

Will opened up to GQ in late 2021 about how they’ve had periods of nonmonogamy in their marriage because that’s what works for them. “There were significant endless discussions about, what is relational perfection?” he told GQ, adding, “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.”

Two years later, Jada is now revealing that she and Will have been separated since 2016, per Today. In an exclusive clip of her upcoming interview with Hoda Kotb, Jada said that she and Will have been living “completely separate lives” for the past seven years, though they’re still legally married. When asked why she didn’t previously share their relationship status, Jada said it was “just not being ready yet … Still trying to figure out between the two of us how to be in partnership … In regards to, how do we present that to people? We hadn’t figured that out.”

Of the reason for their separation, Jada explained, “Why it fractured… that — that’s a lot of things … By the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be.”

Jada admitted to considering a legal divorce, though she’s never been able to go through with it. “I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through … whatever,” she noted. “I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”