Exclusive Photos of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

Though Will and Jada ran in the same circles for years, the two were formally set up on a date by good friends Duane Martin and Tisha Campbell-Martin. "After our first real conversation, it was clear this was a cat I could settle down with," Jada says. "And this was before the shine was on him."
ESSENCE.COM Aug, 27, 2008

1 of 10 Mark Liddelll

Though Will and Jada ran in the same circles for years, the two were formally set up on a date by good friends Duane Martin and Tisha Campbell-Martin.

“After our first real conversation, it was clear this was a cat I could settle down with,” Jada says. “And this was before the shine was on him.”

Read a preview of ESSENCE’s December 2008 issue »

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“We had a weird connection,” Will Smith says of the beginning of his relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith. “I was the only person who could see her. Jada had this fake mean thing going on. I never believed it.”

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith Open Private School »

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“We’ve spent time talking to elders, watching some relationships fail, others flourish,” Jada says. “Men and women experience things differently. I work hard every day to understand Will’s language. It’s like he speaks French and I speak German.”

Read our exclusive interview with Jada Pinkett Smith »

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“It’s hard to express our connection,” Jada Pinkett Smith says. “I can only say it was a freak thing that was meant to be. I knew he’d kill to protect me. But I also knew he’d do everything in his power to talk his way out of ever having to.” She sighs. “Look. I need a man who can take me to the Ice Cube concert one night, and then parley with President Clinton the next. Brainiac, thug—it’s hard to find both in the same guy. But I’m that type of chick, so I need a guy who can deal in many different circles. I like all those aspects of Will.”

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Will topped our 2008 Hollywood Power List. His last five movies I Am Legend, The Pursuit of Happyness, Hitch, Shark Tale and I, Robot made $889 million.

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Back in 1994, Jada had auditioned for the role of the Fresh Prince’s girlfriend that eventually went to Nia Long. The actors have all continued to be friends.

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Will and Jada Pinkett Smith were joined by good friends and fellow Hollywood power couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon.

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Will is introduced with a smile by Tom Cruise.

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Will beams as he prepares to present wife Jada with the Power Award at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon.

10 of 10 Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Essence

The happy couple take the stage.

Read a preview of ESSENCE’s December 2008 issue »

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