There’s no denying it; making a blended family work can be tough. While there are many horror stories about co-parenting, there’s been one shining celebrity light that gives parents hope: The Smiths.
Against seemingly impossible odds, Will, his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and his ex-wife, Sheree Fletcher, have appeared to master a healthy co-parenting relationship for their children, but according to Jada and Shree’s recent conversation, it hasn’t always been that way.
The ladies got together for Pinkett Smith’s new series, Red Table Talks, to discuss their unique co-mothering approach, which sometimes includes the whole family getting together to celebrate important moments.
And while the ladies shared a bit of juicy drama during their chat, we learned a lot of helpful tips for making a blended family work. Here are three of our favorites.
Know your boundaries
According to Pinkett Smith, when she first began dating Will, she immediately wanted to jump in and build a relationship with his young son, Trey. Though her willingness was admirable, she often ended up crossing the line and stepping on Fletcher’s toes.
The actor said when she started dating Smith (before his divorce was finalized, by the way), her expectation was that all of the feelings swirling around his marriage would be over. “Some of my insensitivity, some of my inconsideration just in regards to you guys unwinding a marriage,” Pinkett Smith said, “was unreasonable.”
Respect Is a must
Though Pinkett Smith and Fletcher have a good relationship now, during their conversation they did recall a moment the pair exchanged some “fighting words.”
“Very few times in my life I can recall being checked really hard where I didn’t have nothing to say, you did that,” Fletcher told Pinkett Smith. “But you weren’t out of line. You picked up the phone and I wasn’t really respectful…You basically let me know, ‘I don’t appreciate your tone,’ and you hung up on me.”
Fletcher didn’t appreciate the move and called back to have it out with Pinkett Smith. “I happened to say, ‘B–ch, you’re living in the house I picked out!’ And you said, ‘It’s my house now.’”
While the two women laughed about the moment, it taught them both a valuable lesson: They must respect each for their relationship to work.
Will even got in on the mix to lay down the law. As Pinkett Smith recalled, the Fresh Prince “let [her] have it!”
“I want you to know, Will Smith let me have it,” she said. “His take was, ‘That’s Trey’s mother, and that’s just not your place.’”
Along with their mutual respect and admiration for each other, the key to healing between the ladies is their willingness to admit when they’re wrong and apologize.
Remember, It’s All About The Kids
Though the pair had their issues in the past, Fletcher said a turning point in their relationship occurred when she realized her relationship with Will and Jada was all about her son, Trey.
“[Trey] wanted to get you a candle, that was a turning point for me because I did see your heart with Trey,” Fletcher said. “I saw a woman who was doing the very best she could.”
In spite of the challenges, both Pinkett Smith and Fletcher kept their eye on what was important: the children.
“On this side of things, my son could not have a better bonus mom,” Fletcher told Pinkett Smith. “We did it,” the pair said.
Raising children with your ex-partner can be difficult, but as Pinkett Smith and Fletcher show us, it’s not impossible. All you need is respect, communication, trust, and a whole lot of love.