Will Smith opened up about his marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith during his wide-ranging interview with Oprah Winfrey. The interview segment premiered on AppleTV+ on Friday (Nov. 5) ahead of Will’s self-titled memoir, which hits shelves next Tuesday (Nov. 9).
Addressing several longtime questions from fans about the couple’s high-profile relationship, Winfrey asked Will how long he and Jada were separated. It was during their separation, Jada previously revealed, that she had a romantic relationship with August Alsina.
The 53-year-old actor revealed that he and Jada never “officially separated,” but pinpointed a big fight after Jada’s 40th birthday party as the moment they both decided to look elsewhere for happiness.
“We realized that it was a fantasy illusion that we could make each other happy,” Will said, per Yahoo. “We agreed that she had to make herself happy and I had to make myself happy. Then we were going to present ourselves back to the relationship already happy, versus demanding that the other person fill our empty cup.”
“We just decided, ‘You have to figure out how to be happy,” he continued. Will admitted the conversation was more “contentious” from his side and recalled telling Jada, “Go figure out if you can be happy and prove to me it’s even possible. I’m gonna do me and you do you.”
In his memoir, Will wrote that the time apart helped them “to discover the power of loving in freedom.”
“We’re simultaneously, 100 percent bound together and 100 percent free,” he writes. “We agree that we were both imperfect people doing our best to how to figure out how to be in this world joyfully.”
During the interview, Winfrey asked Will to define what “loving in freedom” meant and whether or not the couple is in an open relationship.
“You love in freedom with everybody except your partner,” Will said, explaining how other relationships — friendships, for example — are not as restrictive or demanding as marriage. “[For us], it’s friendship versus marital prison,” he said.
Will acknowledged that his and Jada’s relationship has been thrust into the public eye several times, most recently with the airing of Jada’s latest “Red Table Talk” episode. After Winfrey asked if their nontraditional marriage meant they could have other sexual partners, Will said he and Jada “talk about everything,” but “people (fans) only think in terms of sex.”
“People are trying to put something on it. ‘Will and Jada — what they doing with other people?’ Will and Jada ain’t really doing too much of nothin’,” he said. “Will and Jada are on a spiritual journey to cleanse the poisonous, unloving parts of our hearts. And we’re doing it together in this lifetime no matter what.”
“But the goal is not a sexual goal. It’s spiritual. We are going to love each other no matter what,” he added. “… No woman can make me happy. So, I don’t need to look for one to try and make me happy. No man can make Jada happy. So, she don’t need to go look for one to make her happy. We both know that. There is no person that will fill your hole.”
He continued, “The spiritual journey is finding your joy and bliss without vampirically using others. So, the Will journey and the Jada journey is finding that joy without medication. Finding that joy without distraction. It’s about being able to find that contentment within yourself, not with external stimuli.”
See a teaser for Will’s interview with Winfrey below.