Jada Pinkett Smith breaks down in tears talking to the mother of late ex-Miss USA Cheslie Kryst

Cheslie Kryst died by suicide in January this year

Tom Murray
Thursday 05 May 2022 05:32 BST
Jada Pinkett Smith breaks down introducing mother of ex-Miss USA Cheslie Kryst
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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Jada Pinkett Smith had a hard time introducing the latest guest to her talk show, Red Table Talk, the mother of ex-Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, who died by suicide in January this year.

Before Cheslie’s mother April Simpkins joined Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, the trio watched a montage about the pageant winner’s life and career.

“What many didn’t know is that underneath it all, Cheslie was reeling from debilitating depression,” Pinkett Smith said in a voiceover.

When the camera cut to the trio, who had been watching the montage, Pinkett Smith broke down in tears before speaking and was comforted by her daughter.

Red Table Talk has featured plenty of emotional moments, including Pinkett Smith and husband Will speaking about her “entanglement” with singer August Alsina, but this was arguably the most tearful yet.

During the episode, Simpkins spoke about the day Kryst died, including reading out the final text she received from her daughter. “I would read some sentences and then I would just collapse,” she said.

Kryst died 30 January, 2022.

Cheslie Kryst walks on stage during the 2019 Miss Universe pageant
Cheslie Kryst walks on stage during the 2019 Miss Universe pageant (AFP via Getty Images)

Simpkins said her daughter suffered from “high-functioning depression”, where someone who appears to be fine is suffering silently, and revealed that she had attempted suicide in the past.

Kryst, who was also an attorney, was crowned Miss USA as Miss North Carolina in 2019. She made history that year alongside Nia Imani Franklin, Kaliegh Garris and Zozibini Tunzi marking the first time that Black women held all four major titles in pageant history.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

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