Jada Pinkett Smith Says She's 'Proud' of Husband Will for Being So Open About Marriage Issues (Exclusive)

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Jada Pinkett Smith says husband Will Smith insisted on being a part of her Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk, that aired on Monday, when they talked bluntly about serious problems during their 20-year marriage.

In the latest episode, Will got candid about how he was affected by what he describes as an abusive childhood -- claiming his father physically abused his mother -- and also admits to trying to force a certain image he wanted on his family that wasn't realistic. Though the 50-year-old actor rarely speaks about his personal life, Jada and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, told ET on Monday that Will was all for his much-talked-about appearance on the show. 

"He wanted to," Jada tells ET. "I really didn't want him to come! He wasn't a part of the first round of Red Table Talk. I was like, 'Listen, dude. Let me just see how everything goes.' And when we decided to do a second run, he was like, 'All right, listen. You bringing me this time to the red table.' So I was like, 'OK, cool.'"

Jada says Will was able to be so open because he's at a time in his life where he's "healing."

"He's also kind of breaking down some of the constructs that he's built around himself, of who he is and who he's not, and all of those kinds of things," she says. "I actually think this has been kind of him coming to the table. It's been kind of a release for him to not have to live up to this certain thing. ... And I'm proud of him."

"And that takes work!" Adrienne adds. "It takes work and its not easy. It can be painful."

During the episode, Will talks about trying to protect the public perception of his family when it came to his kids -- 25-year-old son Trey, whom he shares with his first wife, Sheree Zampino, 20-year-old Jaden and 17-year-old Willow -- as well as his relationship with Jada. Will recalls Jada "crying for 45 days straight" during an intense period of unhappiness.

"I just felt like, I needed more freedom," Jada now tells ET about what the issue was. "And freedom in the sense of like ... the public wants you to be a certain way, your family needs you in a certain way, your partner needs you to be something. And for me, that just was never ... I'm really a free spirit at heart, I really am. And I always have been. And I just felt like my life had got constricted into this little box and it was strangling me, basically."

Ultimately, she says it wasn't up to Will to resolve the issue.

"It wasn't his fix," she notes. "And so it was really me having ... People very rarely talk about the courage it takes to be happy -- how much bravery it takes to be happy. And really, that's what I needed to gain, was the courage and the bravery to do what Jada needed to do, to be happy, you know? And that was to dissolve everything that was and create something completely different."

On a lighter note, she also clarifies her revelation that she went on a date with Will's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Alfonso Ribeiro before ending up with Will.

"I'm telling you, this was before Alf was on Fresh Prince," she says with laugh. "I tell you, it was literally one date! We went out one time! And I remember saying to myself, 'Oh my goodness, I'm going out with a guy from Silver Spoons.' Fresh Prince wasn't even out yet!"

"I think I just remember him being cheerful and fun," she continues. "And it was simple. I think we just went out to get something to eat? ... Like, literally, I hadn't done A Different World yet. Alfonso is probably like, 'Did we go out?' It was so long ago!"

For more on Will's appearance on Red Table Talk, watch the video below:


Will Smith Recalls the Time He Broke Up With Jada Pinkett Smith: 'I Was Devastated'

Will Smith Talks to Jada Pinkett Smith About 'Failing Miserably' in Their Marriage

Jada Pinkett Smith Shows Off Three Generations of Abs With Daughter Willow and Mom Adrienne