Jada Pinkett Smith is causing quite a stir with the press tour for her new memoir “Worthy”. The actress bares it all in the book as she delves into her upbringing, marriage to Will Smith, mental health struggles, friendship with Tupac and much more. While we can’t spoil the entire book, here are 10 surprising revelations from the memoir and accompanying interviews promoting the new release.
1. She and Smith have been living separate lives since 2016.
Pickett Smith’s marriage of over 20 years has long been subject to assumptions and rumors, despite the two being #couplegoals for many including J.Cole at one point. Yet, one more detail that could arguably be speculated but is newly confirmed is that she’s still legally married to Smith — but the two have been living separately since 2016. “By the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be,” she said in a recent interview with Today Hoda Kotb.
2. She was a drug dealer in her high school days.
Pinkett Smith always got candid about how substance abuse affected her childhood as her mom Adrienne “Gammy” Banfield-Norris struggled with addiction issues during that time. However, many fans are shocked to learn that some of her teen years included selling drugs despite being a rising talent within the Baltimore School for the Arts. “I knew that anything that I needed was something I needed to provide for. I decided to sell drugs,” she said in an interview with “People”.
3. Tupac proposed to her while he was incarcerated.
Another shocking revelation from Pinkett Smith came during a recent interview on the “All The Smoke” podcast. She claimed that Tupac proposed to her in 1995 while he was incarcerated at Rikers Island, which sparked much debate online about the validity of the story.
However, she added that Tupac needed a support system at that time – something was willing to provide without martial strings attached. “Because of our friendship and because of everything we have been through together, he just wanted to feel that solidified foundation, you know?” she reflected. “Because I promise you, he would have married and divorced me as soon as his ass left jail.”
4. Her friend Tom Cruise helped her overcome her fears.
Being in Hollywood, Pinkett Smith and fellow actor Tom Cruise struck up a friendship that blossomed after they bonded over his dirt bikes. In “Worthy”, she details her experience on his dirt bike track where she was thrown off the bike – but landed on her back as Cruise hurried to see if she was okay.
“Bringing myself to my elbows, I looked up at him and asked a really important question of him and of myself: ‘How many times have you reminded me to not let fear stand in my way? If I don’t get back on this bike right now and do another lap, I may never get on a bike again,’” she writes. Despite this being a wild moment, Pinkett Smith credits it with helping her face her fears as she went back on the bike for another ride.
5. She describes her son Jaden moving out as the ‘worst heartbreak’ she experienced.
Like many parents, Pinkett Smith felt sadness when her son Jaden moved out of their family home in 2013 when he was just 15. Although she describes Jaden as “an early bloomer, wise beyond his years and a restless seeker” in her book, she expresses that it was one of the most painful experiences she’s dealt with. “A flood of tears fell from my eyes. I did my best to keep from wailing, to maintain some control in the midst of the worst heartbreak I had ever felt,” she writes.
Still, she notes that her options were to enable his “determination to face life’s adversity on his own terms” by allowing him to be independent, or run the risk of “losing him for a very long time” by encouraging him to stay at home.
6. Her ‘entanglement’ with August Alsina wasn’t a surprise to Will.
Pinkett Smith’s 2020 “Red Table Talk” episode with Smith remains a shocker to many as it appears he was blindsided by her relationship with singer August Alsina. However, she writes that her husband acted as if it had “been a secret to him, when that wasn’t true.” The main reason for Pinkett Smith’s clarification is because they were each living their own lives.
Yet, she adds that she “took the blame” as she didn’t want to “oppose” her husband in front of the world. While this revelation does add more questions to her and Smith’s dynamic, Pinkett Smith writes: “I took a more honest stand on my own behalf, knowing all that had transpired between us.”
7. Chris Rock tried to go out on a date with her.
For many witnessing the infamous 2022 Oscars slap and the fallout that ensued, it seemed as if this encounter came out of left field. But, Pinkett Smith notes that she had a long-standing history with Chris Rock before then – one incident that included him wanting a date with her.
“At one point, during rumors that Will and I had divorced, Chris even called to ask me out on a date,” she writes. “Once he found out I wasn’t divorced, we laughed and he apologized profusely, and life went on.”
8. The Smiths partook in a psychedelic drug ceremony.
In “Worthy”, Pinkett Smith gets candid about her use of the plant-based psychedelic drug known as ayahuasca (which credits as giving her a “new deep willingness to live.”). An experience she recounts happened at the beginning of 2023, when she, her husband and a group of close friends all took the drug together as part of a special ceremony.
When the ceremony concluded, she says it brought them closer in a way that’s beyond romantic feelings. “Our multilayered, complicated history didn’t change the undefeated truth — that I could no longer deny our spiritual bond,” she writes.
9. She bought her own wedding ring before marrying Smith in 1997.
Pinkett Smith doesn’t shy away from expressing how marriage felt “scared as hell” before she tied the knot. Still, she went forward and decided to marry Smith – after much convincing from him and her mom – but only on her terms. “By buying my own ring, I took some measure of control and sent the message to myself: ‘All right, get with the program,’” she writes. The couple ended up marrying in a ceremony in her hometown of Baltimore on New Year’s Eve in 1997.
10. She was once living in a house that was haunted.
Just in time for spooky season, another key bombshell from “Worthy” is that Pinkett Smith was once reheating a two-story townhouse that was haunted. “The one thing that did not work for Will was staying over at my place, mainly because it was haunted. To me, there was nothing foreboding about the spirits there. But Will, like my friends, was creeped out,” she writes. Ultimately, this memoir is full of twists, turns, surprises and frankness that give you more perspective on Pinkett Smith’s life — when the cameras are on and when they’re off.
Featured image credit: Photo by Jordan Fisher/Red Table Talk via Associated Press