Jada Pinkett Smith reveals she and Will Smith were separated at the time of the Oscars slap, and had been for some time

Jada Pinkett Smith and her husband Will Smith married in 1997.

Their marriage came under an intense public gaze last year when Smith slapped Chris Rock after he mocked Pinkett Smith’s alopecia while presenting at the Oscars.

“Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth,” Smith shouted at Rock before he assaulted him on stage, all while people around the world watched the ceremony live.

And Pinkett Smith has decided that now, a week before her tell-all memoir goes on sale, is the time to reveal that she’s still technically Smith’s wife, but they’ve been separated for seven years.

And they were separated at the time of that now infamous Oscars ceremony.

As part of the publicity campaign for her memoir, Pinkett Smith sat for an interview with US television journalist Hoda Kotb and a cover story with People Magazine.

Kotb’s interview with Pinkett Smith will air on Friday night in the US as a one-off TV special.

But overnight, snippets of the interview were broadcast on American morning show Today, featuring the revelations about the Smiths’ marriage.

Here’s what Pinkett Smith said.

Living separate lives

Pinkett Smith tells Kotb that, since 2016, she and Smith have been living separately.

Kotb says it was a “pretend life” they were living.

“As time went on, there were different stages in my marriage where Will and I decided we were not together where we didn’t tell the public,” she tells the magazine.

“I was actually thinking about divorcing, separating and there have been several of those [stages] where we’ve gone and lived our separate lives.”

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Why not just divorce?

Pinkett Smith tells Kotb she considered a legal divorce, but couldn’t 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 says.

“And I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

The pair also don’t plan on getting legally divorced.

“We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together,” she tells People.

“We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”

They went to the Oscars as a family

Back to the Oscars incident, where Smith called Pinkett Smith “my wife”.

In an excerpt from her book published by People Magazine, Pinkett Smith writes that they were at the event as a family, not a couple.

She says there was a moment after he said “my wife” when she realised that she was, despite living a separate life from him, his wife.

Separate portraits of Chris Rock and Will Smith side by side.

Pinkett Smith thought the slap was a skit

She tells People she didn’t think the confrontation between Smith and Rock was real.

“It didn’t look like Will hit Chris, because, number one, I’d seen Will in the boxing ring with pro fighters — Will’s a heavy hitter,” she says.

“So when Chris moved, it looked like he ducked or he missed the shot.”

But it became clear to her that it was no act.

“It wasn’t until Will started to walk back to his chair that I even realised it wasn’t a skit,” she says.

In a separate article on People’s website, Pinkett Smith says Rock tried to apologise to her.

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“He said, ‘I didn’t mean you any harm,'” she says.

She says the pair haven’t spoken since the incident.

Why reveal this about their marriage now?

“There’s a time in your life where you say, ‘Why am I still pretending, let me just say it,'” speculates Kotb.

“So this book, Worthy, is that.”

In her interview with Kotb, Pinkett Smith says she and her husband kept their living arrangement secret because they weren’t ready to reveal it.

“[We were] still trying to figure out between the two of us how to be in partnership,” she says.

“We hadn’t figured that out.”

She tells People magazine they didn’t want people to know the dynamic between them.

“We didn’t think that that was anybody else’s business,” she says.

Is there more to the story?

Of course there will be.

All these snippets are coming out before the special airs this weekend and Pinkett Smith’s book goes on sale next week.

“There’s a whole chunk of the book that we’re going to get into in the Dateline special … of what happened in that moment,” Kotb says.

“There’s a whole backstory there too.”

What has Will Smith said?

Nothing on his social media accounts, as yet.

However, he’s also got a new podcast, Class of ’88, coming out later this month.

It hasn’t been promoted as touching on the issue though. It’s being sold as a series of interviews with his “old friends” like Queen Latifa and Salt-N-Pepa.

The Oscar-winner has been banned from the Academy Awards for the next 10 years.

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Smith apologised to Rock and Oscars viewers later in March before releasing a video apology in July.

In that video, he says he’s open to talking with Rock about it when he is ready.


What about Chris Rock?

He’s also not said anything on his social media account since these recent Pinkett Smith stories were published, but his social media accounts don’t appear to be overly active.

As for the Oscars incident, he told a crowd in Boston that he was “still kind of processing what happened” three days after the ceremony.

Rock reportedly did not want Smith arrested and did not file any legal proceedings against him.

He also turned down many interview requests about the incident and mentioned it only briefly on the Sydney leg of his stand-up tour last year.

Instead, he opted to speak about it in a stand-up show called Selective Outrage earlier this year, saving most of his insight until the final few minutes of the show.

Right at the end of the show Rock said: “A lot of people go, ‘Chris, how come you didn’t do nothing back that night?’

“Because I got parents. Because I was raised. I got parents.

“And you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people,” he said, before dropping his microphone and ending the show.