Actress Jada Pinkett Smith revealed that her husband, Will Smith, felt “abandoned” by her efforts to gain more independence in their marriage.
Pinkett Smith was joined by her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, as well as the couple’s therapist, Esther Perel, in the latest episode of her Facebook watch series “Red Table Talk.” In the episode, the group gets candid about mending a relationship after infidelity.
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Pinkett Smith reveals that, while Will never cheated on her, there were “betrayals of the heart” that caused them to completely reassess their relationship and move forward outside the confines of traditional marriage rules.
“Specifically for me, in regards to redefining my marriage as a life partnership was the necessity of autonomy for myself and for Will, and finding the core of us that wanted to be together outside of the constraints of the traditional ideas of marriage because they weren’t working for us,” she shared.
In the midst of that self-reflection, Jada says she realized that she was living her life in service of Will’s happiness.
“Our whole life looked like his dream. I’m his energy source. That’s great, but I’ve got to create part of this life that is designed and looks like me,” she said.
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However, when asked if Will took that news well, Pinkett Smith revealed that it initially caused further strain.
“He felt abandoned at first, he felt really abandoned,” she admitted. “That’s one of the reasons why I stayed in it the way I did for so long. Because I was so terrified. First of all, you never want to hurt the person that you love. You never want to create instability that way.”
“It has been one of the most excruciating processes of my life,” she continued. “I’ve wanted to personally break out of Will needing to be something for me because I felt like that was so unfair. And a lot of it had to do with my father issues. I just realized one day, ‘This man is not your father!”
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The star concluded by noting that learning to trust Will to be the man that he is was the work she put in, while Will figured out a way to understand her need for independence.