Separate but together: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

As one of Hollywood’s elite couples, the marriage of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith seemed to have weathered the storms and intense scrutiny internal fame brings.

However, in an interview, actress and talk show host Jada Pinkett Smith announced that she and her husband Will had been living separate lives since 2016. The couple have not divorced, and seemingly have no intention of doing so.


Sticking together

Whist it is not unusual for even long-term marriages in Hollywood to falter, (as it did recently for Kevin Costner) it is unusual for a couple to stay together and keep their split quiet.

Jade Pinkett Smith has seemingly only “gone public” due to the publication of her new book and the accompanying publicity round interviews. Discussing the reasons why they had split on an interview on NBC News, she said:

“Why it fractured — that’s a lot of things. I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. We were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be.”

As she further explained to Fox News Digital:

“We really wanted to take our time to uncouple consciously in trying to figure out how we wanted to separate. And in that process, we really wanted to learn a lot about ourselves and one another to the point that we eventually decided that we didn’t want to be divorced."

She revealed that as a couple, they had also struggled as to how to tell people:

“How do we present that to people? And we hadn’t figured that out.”

The only people who did know were the couple’s two children, Jaden Smith and Willow Smith, both of whom work in the entertainment industry.


A promise is a promise

Pinkett Smith also revealed that she and Smith had stuck with their marriage as:

“I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever. I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

It may be a promise made by Will Smith as well. He famously slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars ceremony for a remark about his wife’s hair, which led him to being banned from the ceremony for 10 years.


Separation agreements

As family lawyers, we see couples who have grown apart and want to go their own way, whilst keeping the family unit intact through considered co-parenting. However, it can be hard to see how to disentangle all aspect of their partnership; financial, practical, logistical and emotional, without actually divorcing. This is where a separation agreement in.

As the government’s MoneyHelper website says:

“A separation agreement is useful if you haven’t decided whether to divorce or dissolve your civil partnership, or if you can’t do so yet.”

A separation agreement can set out financial and other arrangements, including:

  • who pays the mortgage or rent
  • why pays the utility bills on the family home
  • who lives in the family home
  • which parent do the children live with
  • whether child maintenance is paid
  • how any debts or loans will be paid off
  • how joint assets are to be divided


Separating or considering it?

Contact us first for practical, pragmatic legal advice. At LGFL, we have found that our holistic approach, including mediation and collaborative law, can help couples discuss and work through the logistics of their separation without the need to go to court. With our advice and assistance, you can reach a separation agreement that works for both of you and your children, whilst also being legally binding.

We can also help with Judicial Separation court orders if for cultural or religious reasons divorce proceedings are not appropriate for you.

- Call us

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- Book your initial 1 hour consultation here