Jada Pinkett Smith has made having open, honest, and vulnerable dialogues cool again. With the help of her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and daughter, Willow Smith, the actor’s latest project, Red Table Talk is a breath of fresh air, and it has been healing for many of its fans.
Nothing is off limits at the red table, and Pinkett Smith has discussed everything from co-parenting and coping with the loss of a loved one, to how she and her husband, Will Smith, keep their union strong. On the latest episode, Pinkett Smith and Banfield-Norris opened about their battle with addiction.
From the beginning, it was clear this episode would be an emotional one. A teary-eyed Banfield-Norris admitted, “This was not an easy decision. It’s difficult to talk about something that’s gonna go out to the world.”
When Pinkett-Smith was young, Banfield-Norris was hooked on drugs for over 20 years, which she says resulted in “devastating” damage.
“I couldn’t hide the unmanageability of my life and the emotional damage and the spiritual damage that I did to myself and to [Pinkett Smith] was devastating,” Banfield-Norris confessed.
According to Pinkett Smith, addiction runs in her family and she’s struggled with her own challenges throughout the years, namely being dependent on sex and alcohol.
“Alcoholism and drug addiction runs through my family and I’ve had my own addiction that I’ve had to get over,” Pinkett Smith admitted. “It’s just made me realize that really great people just get caught up.”
During the emotional conversation — which also included Pinkett Smith’s sister-in-law, Ashley Marie, and singer August Alsina — Pinkett Smith said her addictions have “jumped around.”
"My sort of addictions jump. They jump around,” she said. “When I was younger, I definitely think I had a sex addiction of some kind... everything could be fixed by sex. Then I became a gym addict.”
Later, Pinkett Smith said she knew she had a problem with alcohol after drinking multiple bottles of wine in one setting.
"I remember reaching a rock bottom that time I was in the house by myself and I had those two bottles of wine and was going for the third bottle," Pinkett Smith admitted. "And I was like, ‘Now hold up. You're in this house by yourself going onto your third bottle of wine? You might have a problem.'"
While everyone’s journey to healing is different, Pinkett Smith said she had to go “cold turkey” to break her addictions.
“I am a binger, and I always have to watch myself and I can just get obsessed with things. It's not what you're doing but how you're with it. Why you're doing it. It's the behavior that's attached to it because if you want to have a lot of sex, that's great, but why are you having all that sex? That's what you've got to look at,” she explained.
Though the conversation was extremely touching and, at times, difficult, Banfield-Norris said she hopes it will help others who are dependent on harmful substances or activities to seek help.
“There’s a stigma and a stereotype attached to addiction that makes it difficult for people to seek the help that they need,” she said. “If I can in any way help with just a little bit of some of that then it will be worth it.”