What was Jada Pinkett Smith and August Alsina’s ‘entanglement’?

Jada Pinkett Smith previously admitted to being in an ‘entanglement’ with Alsina while she and her husband were ‘separated amicably’

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 11 October 2023 15:01 BST
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Related: Chris Rock roasts Will Smith’s relationship with Jada as he addresses Oscars slap

Jada Pinkett Smith has revealed that she and husband Will Smith have been separated for the last seven years.

In a new interview with People published on 11 October, the Girls Trip star shared that she and the King Richard actor are “still figuring it out” when it comes to their relationship. She explained at the time of the 2022 Academy Awards, when Will slapped Chris Rock, they had been separated for six years.

“We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together,” Jada said. “We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”

The pair have been married since 1997 and share son Jaden, 25, and daughter Willow, 22. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star also has a son Trey, 30, whom he shares with his first wife, Sheree Zampino.

Will and Jada’s marriage has made headlines over the years, from rumours of infidelity to claims the couple have an open marriage. All that came to a head in March 2022, when Will infamously slapped the comedian after he made a joke about Jada’s shaved head.

One year after the so-called Oscars slap, Rock didn’t hold back in his first stand-up special since the incident, titled Chris Rock: Selective Outrage. Not only did he directly address the slap, but he also mocked Jada’s relationship with singer August Alsina during her marriage to Will. During his live-streamed Netflix special, Rock quipped that he “didn’t have any entanglements,” referencing the term Jada used to describe her relationship with Alsina back in 2020.

“His wife was f***ing her son’s friend,” Rock said.

“Now, I normally would not talk about this s***. But for some reason [they] put that s*** on the internet... We all been cheated on. Everybody in here’s been cheated on. None of us have ever been interviewed by the person that cheated on us on television.”

He added: “She hurt him way more than he hurt me, OK?”

In July 2020, Jada confirmed during an episode of her Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk, that she had a relationship with Alsina. Will appeared alongside Jada in the episode, in which she explained that she and her husband were “separated amicably” when the romance occurred, which had not been disclosed to the press at the time.

“We decided that we were going to separate for a period of time and you go figure out how to make yourself happy and I’ll figure out how to make myself happy,” Jada said.

The Set It Off star went on to use the term “entanglement” when describing her involvement with Alsina. “From there, as time went on, I got into a different kind of entanglement with August,” she said, before being prompted by Will to confirm it “was a relationship, absolutely.”

The Red Table Talk episode came two weeks after Alsina spoke out about their relationship, claiming that Will gave him “his blessing” to have a relationship with the actor’s wife. In an interview with The Breakfast Club, Alsina claimed Will approved of the relationship after his marriage “transformed” into what he described as a non-romantic “life partnership”.

“I actually sat down with Will and had a conversation due to the transformation from their marriage to life partnership that they’ve spoken on several times and it not involving romanticism,” Alsina said. He added that he “totally gave myself to that relationship for years of my life and I truly and really, really deeply loved and have a ton of love for her.”

Jada’s representative has since said that Alsina’s claims are “absolutely not true”. She also denied the details of Alsina’s account about her husband giving “permission” during Red Table Talk episode. “The only person who could give permission in that particular circumstance was myself,” she said.

“What August was probably trying to communicate - because I could see how he would perceive it as permission, because we were separated amicably - I think he wanted to make it clear that he’s not a homewrecker. Which he’s not,” she added.

Alsina reportedly met Jada in 2015 after being introduced by her son, actor and rapper Jaden Smith.

Will and Jada tied the knot in 1997. While the two have fielded rumours about an open relationship in the past, they’ve both spoken candidly about having a non-conventional marriage.

In 2013, Jada took to Facebook to address rumours she and her husband were in an open relationship, writing: “Here is how I will change my statement... Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship... this means we have a GROWN one.”

Two years later, Will addressed rumours that the two were separating, and clarified they were not getting a divorce. “Under normal circumstances, I don’t usually respond to foolishness,” he wrote in a Facebook post at the time. “But, so many people have extended [to] me their ‘deepest condolences’ that I figured – ‘What the hell… I can be foolish, too!’ So, in the interest of redundant, repetitious, over and over-again-ness… Jada and I are… NOT GETTING A DIVORCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

In 2018, Will admitted in an episode of TIDAL’s Rap Radar podcast that he and his wife “refer to ourselves as life partners”. He then elaborated on their complex dynamic in his 2021 self-titled memoir, Will, writing that they were “suffering the brutal death of our romantic fantasies, the burning away of the idealistic illusion of the perfect marriage and the perfect family. Neither of us wanted a divorce; we knew we loved each other, and some aspects of our union were magical. But the structure of the life that we had established was strangling both of us.”

That same year, the I Am Legend star confessed in a sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey that he and his wife believe it’s “fantasy” that they can make each other happy.

“We realised that it was a fantasy illusion that we could make each other happy. We agreed that she had to make herself happy and I had to make myself happy,” he said. “Then we were going to present ourselves back to the relationship already happy – versus demanding that the other person fill our empty cup.”

Nearly two weeks before the 2022 Oscars and the infamous Oscars slap, Will discussed some of the rumours surrounding his relationship with Jada in an interview with Gayle King for CBS Mornings.

“There’s never been infidelity in our marriage,” he said. “Jada and I talk about everything, and we have never surprised one another with anything, ever.”

The couple also joked there would be “no more entanglements” in their marriage during a conversation with Laverne Cox at the 2022 SAG Awards, where Jada said: “No more of those, yeah, no more” in response to a question about the relationships.

After Will stormed onstage and hit Rock across the face with an open palm before returning to his seat, he was awarded his first Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard, a biopic about the father of Serena and Venus Williams. Following the “Oscars slap”, Smith was banned from attending the Academy Awards for 10 years and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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