With a memoir on the way and having recently entered what he lovingly refers to as his “fuck-it-50’s,” Will Smith is no longer interested in painting himself as the picture-perfect Hollywood leading man with the ideal marriage and family life.
In a new feature with GQ, the actor discusses his desire to drop the curated act he’s cultivated over the years. He even takes a page off of his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Red Table and gets surprisingly candid about their untraditional marriage and some of the major bumps in their relationship.
And, while Jada has caught most of the heat from the public after revealing her extramarital entanglement with August Alsina on Red Table Talk in July 2020, Smith wants to set the record straight: she isn’t the only one to have had physical relationships outside of their marriage.
“…For the large part of our relationship, monogamy was what we chose, not thinking of monogamy as the only relational perfection,” Smith said of their unconventional commitment. “We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way. And marriage for us can’t be a prison.”
“I don’t suggest this road for anybody,” he said. “But the experiences that the freedoms that we’ve given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”
Smith even revealed once (briefly) entertaining a desire to exercise that freedom by keeping multiple girlfriends. He discussed how, during his first meeting with his now-longtime intimacy coach, he brought up the possibility of having a harem of beautiful women to travel with and care for. Among his top choices? Misty Copeland and Halle Berry.
However, once his coach encouraged him to reach out to the women on his list and they began to really map out how such a thing would work in reality, the idea quickly lost steam.
“After we played it out a little bit, I was like, ‘That would be horrific….like, can you imagine how miserable?’”
Without getting specific on the nature of either of his or Jada’s actual outside relationships (he felt as though that would be also telling other people’s stories rather than solely his own), Smith reveals that this type of arrangement was something that was always on the table, as his wife was never interested in having a traditional marriage.
“Jada never believed in conventional marriage,” he revealed. “Jada had family members that had an unconventional relationship. So she grew up in a way that was very different than how I grew up.”
Smith now realizes these differences often had him push his wife into compromises that didn’t align with her own desires nor aspirations in service to his own. Even their wedding, a secret New Year’s Eve ceremony in 1997 at Cloisters Castle just outside Baltimore, was a compromise for Jada. She had never wanted a wedding, to the point that, as she revealed on a 2018 episode of Red Table Talk, she was crying while walking down the aisle.
Smith reveals he and wife Jada have agreed as a couple that if they share the messy intimate details of their union straight from their own mouths, there’s no way it can be held against them by anyone else.
“The pursuit of truth is the only way to be happy in this lifetime,” Smith told GQ. “And [Jada and I] sort of came to the agreement that authenticity was the release from the shackles of fame and public scrutiny.”
Smith’s upcoming memoir Will, releasing in November, promises to break even more of those shackles. The actor hopes the book will serve as a removal of the carefully crafted “Will Smith” facade to provide an honest deep dive into his childhood, his relationship, and his newly-chosen direction as a leading man in Hollywood.