Jada Pinkett Smith is opening up about the strains in her marriage to Will Smith.
On Monday’s episode of Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk, the actress, 47, spoke to world-renowned therapist Esther Perel about trying to gain control of her life within and outside of her marriage to the 50-year-old actor.
“Specifically for me, in regards to redefining my marriage as a life partnership was the necessity of autonomy for myself and for Will,” Pinkett Smith said. “And finding the core of us that wanted to be together outside of the constraints of the traditional ideas of marriage because they weren’t working for us.”
She continued, “We went on that journey to find that autonomy and to find the true authentic bond outside of obligation. I don’t want you to be obligated.”
Instead, Pinkett Smith said she forced herself and her husband to look at what they each wanted from their marriage outside of societal norms, as well as what they each wanted for themselves.
“You have to be the perfect wife, you have to be the source that supports his dreams, no matter what it is, whatever he wants to build you’re there to support that,” Pinkett Smith said of the pressure she felt when it came to a conventional idea of marriage.
She added, “Our whole life looked like his dream. I’m his energy source. That’s great, but I’ve got to create part of this life that is designed and looks like me.”
When Perel asked her how the Men in Black actor received the news, Pinkett Smith admitted it was a tough pill for him to swallow.
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“He felt abandoned at first, he felt really abandoned,” she said. “You never want to hurt the person that you love. You never want to create instability that way.”
Working on her emotional independence from her husband wasn’t easy, though.
“It has been one of the most excruciating processes of my life,” Pinkett Smith said. “I’ve wanted to personally break out of Will needing to be something for me because I felt like that was so unfair. And a lot of it had to do with my father issues. I just realized one day, ‘This man is not your father!'”
Perel added, “Or he’s not meant to be everything your father was not.”
Nodding, Pinkett Smith said, “That was the thing, I was like, ‘[Jada], you gotta grow up. You gotta be a woman. That little girl trauma does not work here.’ That was the work I had to do.”
In February, Pinkett Smith revealed in an episode of Red Table Talk that she and Smith put in a lot of work to keep their marriage together.
“Personally, in my journey, what I had to realize was that I had to find all the peace, love and joy within my heart in order to bring it to the table to share,” the mother of two said. “Will had to go away and find the peace, love and joy in his heart to share.”
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“So that’s what we share instead of our traumas from our childhood, all of our insecurities and fears that we usually come to the table within our relationships to have our partners fix,” she continued.
The Bad Boys for Life actor, 50, was previously on the show in October, where he also opened up about how he healed his marriage to Pinkett Smith after a trying period.
“I was devastated even worse than a divorce. We broke up within our marriage and got back together again,” Smith said. “We had to rebuild with new rules and something way, completely different.”
Red Table Talk airs Mondays on Facebook Watch.