Jada Pinkett Smith Revealed the Truth About Her Son’s Heartbreaking Request

Wed Jan 25 2023

Jada Pinkett and Will Smith’s parenting style isn’t to everyone’s taste. Even Jada’s own mother has admitted to having reservations about the way the Hollywood actors choose to raise their children, going so far as to call their parenting approach “crazy.” But perhaps that’s to be expected as Jada and Will have always opted for an unconventional route in their lives.

But that may have just backfired when their son Jaden came to his mom with an unusual request. The famous couple has famously been through some ups and downs in their own relationship, but they generally seemed to have everything in control when it came to their kids. That was until Jaden said the words that no mother wants to hear, and it became almost too much for Jada to bear.

What Jaden Had To Say Left Jada “Devastated”

It was during an appearance on Jada’s talk show, Red Table Talk, that the mom of two admitted that things hadn’t been easy back home. The chat show is all about allowing candid conversations to take place, which is how things quickly got real when the topic of her son was brought up. Luckily for us, they included this moment on the show.

That’s when Jada revealed that she had been “devastated” by something that her oldest child had said to her. Without her knowing, Jaden had made a big decision about his life, and he had finally mustered up the courage to tell his mom what was really on his mind. But it was never going to be an easy conversation to have.

It Was “One of the Most Heartbreaking Moments” of Jada’s Life

Jaden was 19 years old at the time when Jada brought this confession to the Red Table Talk. To make matters even more tense, Jada wasn’t alone at the studio – she was joined by her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris. Luckily for Jada, her mother seemed to be in a sympathetic mood that day.

What Jaden had to say to his famous mom didn’t just “devastate” her. She called it “one of the most heartbreaking moments” of her life. Interestingly, she did admit that to some extent, she saw it coming. It didn’t completely catch her off guard, but she was still shocked to hear the words come out of Jaden’s mouth nonetheless.

There Had Been No Reason To Keep Any Secrets In Their Household

What made Jaden’s request so surprising for Jada was that they were so close and seemingly had no secrets. Jada and Will had strived to create a family dynamic in which neither Jaden nor Willow should need to feel as though they can’t be their authentic selves. They tried to foster an unjudgemental environment for both their kids and themselves.

Even on social media, the mother and son appeared to be very close. It’s not unusual for most kids – especially teenagers – to shy away from being seen with their mom or dad in public. But, for Jaden and Willow, neither of them were embarrassed about their parents. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The teenagers seemed to be super proud to be part of the Pinkett-Smith clan.

Everything Needs To Be Out on the Table

It’s one thing to have an open conversation policy back at home, but it’s another thing to have it on television. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what Jada had with her Facebook Watch talk show Red Table Talk, which she co-hosts with the other women in her family, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris and her daughter Willow Smith.

If you’ve ever tuned in to the show, you’ll know that absolutely no topic is off-limits there, too. Jaden joined his mother, sister, and grandmother one day to talk about that difficult conversation and reveal everything that was going through his head at the time. Not only did they have an honest approach within their family dynamic, but also for the sake of the show.

Jada Had Been Notably Absent During a Significant Moment In Jaden’s Life

Troubles between Jaden and his mother Jada had been hinted at before if you knew where to look for the signs. For instance, back in 2019 Jaden, who was an up-and-coming musician at the time, was asked to perform at Coachella Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. It sits within the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert.

It was a big moment for Jaden, as he would be performing in front of hundreds of thousands of people for the festival’s 20th anniversary. Because of this, he invited his family to come and join him on stage – after all, each of them is famous in their own right. But his mom Jada, however, didn’t join the rest of them on stage for his set.

Jaden Had Tried To Give Her Children Her Full Support No Matter What

Another reason why Jaden’s admission caught Jada off-guard was that not only did she have an open-conversation policy, but she was also extremely lenient when it came to parenting. With both Jaden and Willow, she and Will had been wholeheartedly supportive of their creative pursuits in life and would have been just as supportive no matter what they had chosen to do.

And it’s not as though Jaden and Willow’s personal interests aligned perfectly with her own. Nonetheless, she was adamant about her kids following their passions rather than following in their parent’s footsteps. So, seeing as how she didn’t have a strict parenting style, she never expected to be caught off-guard by Jaden’s comments in such a way.

Will Had Another Son From a Previous Relationship

While Jada gave birth to Jaden in 1998 and Willow a couple of years later, Will Smith had actually already had children in a previous relationship. He was no stranger to parenting, having welcomed a son with his first wife, actress and producer Sheree Zampino. You may remember her from movies such as When the Time Comes, Our Journey, and Games People Play.

Will once revealed how seriously he took parenting, explaining “From the time I was six years old, I wanted to be a father. I loved how my family was, but there were massive critical deficiencies in my father’s parenting that I wanted to correct. By the time I was 10 years old, I remember looking at my father and thinking I could do it better than him.” This way, Will knew he was going to be a good father to all his children.

The Kids Weren’t Punished at Home For Misbehavior

With Jada’s supportive parenting style and Will’s promise to be a better father than his own dad had been, it would seem as though Jaden and Willow had everything they ever could have dreamed of in terms of family. To add to that, they had the financial backing of their mega-wealthy parents, who also just so happened to have every Hollywood contact they could think of.

On top of all the benefits that Will and Jada could give their kids, they opted for a non-traditional way of parenting. That is to say that they simply didn’t believe in punishing Jaden or Willow for misbehavior. In 2013, Will gave an interview with Metro magazine in which he revealed his and Jada’s relaxed rules: bout the relaxed view on discipline in their household, for example. And in 2013 Will explained to Metro: “We don’t do punishment.”

Their Unusual Parenting Rules Set the Scene for What Was to Come

What Will revealed in that 2013 interview with Metro magazine was key to what Jaden eventually said to his mother. Jaden’s unusual request hardly seemed to come out of the blue upon reading Will’s revelation. The I Am Legend actor explained that, for him and Jada, they didn’t need to punish their kids, as they wanted them to have total independence.

“The way that we deal with our kids is [that] they are responsible for their lives…” Will revealed. He continued, “Our concept is as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible. And the concept of punishment – our experience has been [that] it has a little too much of a negative quality.”

Jada and Will Created a “Circle of Trust” For Everyone To Share Their True Feelings

It wasn’t just a general rule that everyone in their family should be open and communicative. Will and Jada actually created a safe space in which everyone should be able to speak about what’s really on their mind. They established this system while their kids were still young, so for the majority of their lives it was normal for the Smith family to gather for the “circle of safety.”

The whole point of the “circle of safety” was to allow for each family member have honest conversation with one another, without the fear that any one of them is being judged. That’s just another reason why it was so surprising that Jaden approached his mother with an unusual request. As far as we can tell, there were many opportunities for Jaden to have hinted at the fact that he wasn’t completely happy.

If You Hid Something From the “Circle of Trust” There Were Big Ramifications

Will and Jada didn’t punish their children in the traditional sense, but there were consequences to their actions if they hadn’t owned up to having done something wrong. It was during an appearance on The Tonight Show that Will explained to talk show host Jimmy Fallon just how important these “circle of safety” meetings were to their family.

Will told Jimmy, “[In the circle of safety, the kids are] allowed to tell us everything that they did, and they can’t get in trouble…” In this way, Will and Jada encouraged their kids to take responsibility for their actions. But, WIll added, “The rule is, if we find out after the circle of safety that there was something you didn’t say, there was hell to pay.”

Will Smith Learned To Be Careful What You Wish For

While their family benefitted greatly from these “circle of safety” meetings, it wasn’t entirely without its difficulties. This parenting choice allowed for their children to be open and share what was really going on in their lives, but that in and of itself was occasionally challenging for the parents as no details would be spared.

Will would later admit that while he enjoyed these meetings with the family members, it would become more difficult for him to hear some of his kids’ admissions as they got older. Especially in the case of his daughter Willow, he found himself having a hard time hearing the whole truth about what she had to share.

There Were Times When Will Would Pass the Buck To Jada When It Came To Hearing His Kids Out

Will appeared on the tonight show, where he revealed what it was like to have a “circle of trust” meeting with his teenage daughter. He outright stated to talk show host Jimmy Fallon that “As a father, you do not want a circle of safety with a 15-year-old daughter.” He was explaining this in a half-joking manner, but clearly, it came from a very real place.

He continued: You do not… I’m like, ‘Baby, you need to start lying!’” Will added that sometimes the conversations were so challenging for him to be a part of that he passed the buck to his wife Jada, thinking that she would be better equipped to listen. “[I’m like,] ‘Nope! You and your mom can talk about that one!’ ”

Willow Confesses That Her Relationship With Will Was Strained Following Her Emergence Into the Music Scene

Will’s inability to listen to all of Willow’s admissions during their “circle of trust” meetings may have been indicative of their difficult relationship throughout those early years. During one particular episode of Jada’s talk show, Red Table Talk, Willow made a revelation about her relationship with her famous father.

In that Red Table Talk episode, Willow confessed that her trust in her father dwindled when she started to emerge onto the music scene and experience fame for herself. “I definitely had to forgive you and daddy for that whole ‘Whip My Hair’ thing,” she revealed later on in her life. However, its likely that those early years help set her up for what she wanted to do later in life.

Willow Reveals That Her Famous Father Was Putting Her Under a Lot of Pressure

In the same Red Table Talk episode, Willow explained that her relationship had suffered more with her father as she was getting more pressure from his side than from her mother’s side. But, for those who saw the episode, it was clear that while Willow was revealing some details, she didn’t want to reveal too much information.

While sitting in front of her mother and grandmother, Willow stated that “It was mostly daddy because he was so harsh at certain times,” referring to the increased pressure. She went on to explain that this increased pressure didn’t let up for around two years during her teenage years, which must have been quite the challenge.

Willow Needed To Learn How To Regain Trust After “No One Cared How I Felt”

Despite being so young in age, Willow began to realize that she didn’t like the career trajectory that she was on. She realized that even though her father was pushing her down a particular road, it wasn’t what she wanted for herself. “It was a couple of years, honestly. Trying to regain trust for not feeling like I was being listened to or like no one cared how I felt.”

Willow continued: “And I had to forgive myself because I felt guilty because everyone is trying to make me better, trying to make my dream. But I didn’t really understand what my dream entailed.” She added, “I had just stopped doing singing lessons and I was kind of just in this gray area of, ‘Who am I? Do I have a purpose? Is there anything I can do besides this?’

Jada and Will Are Very Accepting of Willow and Jaden’s Experimental Sense of Style

Willow’s honest admission about the true nature of her relationship with her father makes sense considering how ill and Jada strived to create an open and communicative household. But their openness extended to their personal style just as much as it did to their communication skills. Both Willow and Jaden have dabbled in some extreme fashions.

Will and Jada have supported not only their children’s career choices or personal interests but also their experimental styles. Even when the kids have caused controversy with what they are wearing, both Will and Jada have stood proudly by their side no matter the look that they are serving. Even when the public derided the famous kids for their unusual looks.

Jaden Has Established Himself as an LGBTQ+ Icon With His Gender Non-Conforming Style

Jaden in particular has raised a few eyebrows for his gender-non-conforming fashion, which often sees him wearing anything from convention-defying skirts to gender-fluid dresses. And it seems as though both Jada and Will are truly proud of the non-binary style that Jaden has adopted for himself over the years.

Jaden has established himself as. genderqueer fashion icon, which Will admitted he is totally supportive of. He told BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2016, “Jaden is 100 percent fearless; he will do anything,” adding “As a parent, it’s really terrifying, but he is completely willing to live and die by his artistic decisions, and he doesn’t concern himself with what people think.”

Jaden Chooses To Dress This Way in Order To Set a New Standard for Future Generations

It appears as though Will and Jada’s approach has allowed for Jaden’s boundary-pushing style to flourish. Speaking to Nylon magazine, Jaden explained his approach, stating: “You just have to believe in yourself, you know. The world is going to keep bashing me for whatever I do and I’m going to keep not caring.”

Jaden continued: “I’m going to take most of the blows for my fellow MSFTS [his brand]. So you know, in five years when a kid goes to school wearing a skirt, he won’t get beat up and kids won’t get mad at him. It just doesn’t matter.” He concluded, “I’m taking the brunt of it so that later on, my kids and the next generations of kids will all think that certain things are normal that weren’t expected before my time.”

Will Believes That Being a Parent Challenges What You’re Comfortable With

Will has stated that being uncomfortable with your children’s decisions is all part of the parenting process. It was never going to be easy, and surprises are likely to crop up here and there. Will explained that “There’s a really powerful internal quality as an artist that as parents we encourage,” when talking about Jaden.

In speaking about the mindset of his children, Will continued, “You gotta get out on the edge, [and] you have to try things. You have to be comfortable doing things that people don’t agree with, and you have to be comfortable doing things that you could fail.” Despite him and Jada’s wish to have open communication, it seems as though they understand that their children will need room to grow.

When Jaden Switched Up His Diet, Will and Jada Thought He Had Taken Things Too Far

What Will stated implies that no matter what choices Jaden makes about his life, his parents will both be there to support him and understand him as best as they can. But it appears that that hasn’t always been the case for both Will and Jada, as they have admitted to a time in Jaden’s life when they once decided to encourage him down a different path.

The time in which Jada and Will went against Jaden’s decision was when he decided to change his diet. Jaden had chosen to become vegan, which was a step too far for the Hollywood couple. That’s when they decided to take matters into their own hands and stage some kind of an intervention in Jaden’s life.

Will and Jada Staged An Intervention When They Saw How Much Weight Jaden Had Lost

Jada and Will grew concerned when they saw the physical effects that veganism was having on his body. It was during a 2019 episode of Facebook’s Red Table Talk that Jada explained what it was that drew their concern. “Will and I had a bit of an intervention with Jaden because he’s a vegan now,” she stated.

Jada then went on to state that his veganism was resulting in a significant reduction of his protein intake, and it was taking its toll. “But we realised he wasn’t getting enough protein… So he was wasting away. He just looked drained, he was just depleted. He wasn’t getting the nutrients.” It seems as though Will and Jada are willing to step in when they think it’s important.

The Intervention Worked, and Jaden Decided To Start Consuming Some Animal Products Again

In fact, it wasn’t just Jada who noticed that Jaden was looking a little different. Will was also present during this particular Red Table Talk episode, and he backed up Jada’s claims that there was clearly something very wrong with Jaden. “There was even a little greyness to his skin. We got really nervous,” Will stated.

Thanks to Will and Jada stepping in, Jaden decided to change up his diet and drop veganism for the time being. He didn’t want to go back to eating meat, but he did choose to start consuming other animal products such as milk, cheese, and eggs. On the show, Jaden stated, “I’ll go vegan for a week or so but for the past year I’ve been vegetarian.”

Jaden Was Only 15 Years Old When he Knew That He Wanted To Leave the Family Home

“It was probably one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life,” Jada admitted on Red Table Talk when talking about Jaden’s shocking request. Jaden was only 15 years old at the time, but he saw himself as ready to leave the family home and start his own life away from his parents. He had requested to be set free which, seemingly, caught Jada totally off-guard.

Jada, explaining the emotional conversation, recalled how Jaden didn’t feel like he could fully spread his wings and fly. Addressing Jaden, she stated, “You got to a point where you told me straight up. You were like, ‘Mom, I have to leave here to live my life.’ ” Jaden agreed with his mom’s sentiment, replying back “Totally.”

Jaden Made Up His Mind After Filming For the Movie After Earth

As far as Will Smith was concerned, Jaden’s life was heading in a positive direction. His latest movie, a post-apocalyptic action film directed by M. Night Shyamalan called After Earth, had just been released and was set up to be the next big box office hit. But the reception wasn’t what Jaden had hoped for.

The reviews were coming in and they were very critical of Jaden’s performance. Will later admitted that he was the one who encouraged Jaden to join After Earth: “Wild Wild West was less painful than After Earth because my son was involved in After Earth and I led him into it. That was excruciating.”

Jaden Found Out About Will’s Cancer Diagnosis Soon After the Box Office Flop

Jaden took the negative reviews to heart – after all, he was only just about 15 years old. And things were about to get even more difficult as Will had just been diagnosed with cancer, which was going to switch u his whole approach to his family. “That Monday started the new phase of my life, a new concept: Only love is going to fill that hole,” Will later explained.

Will continued: “You can’t win enough, you can’t have enough money, you can’t succeed enough. There is not enough. The only thing that will ever satiate that existential thirst is love. And I just remember that day I made the shift from wanting to be a winner to wanting to have the most powerful, deep and beautiful relationships I could possibly have.”

Will and Jada’s Relationship Began To Suffer After the Movie Released

Will and Jada’s relationship also began to suffer under the strain of the unsuccessful movie, After Earth. It’s possible that Jaden was also feeling the growing tension in the family home, further encouraging him to ask for emancipation. Will recalled the emotional moment Jaden came to them and what was going through his mind.

“He says, ‘Dad, I want to be emancipated.’ I know if we do this, he can be an emancipated minor, because he really wants to have his own place, like ‘Ooh,’ ” Will revealed. But he couldn’t help but feel understanding towards his son: “That’s the backlash. On the other side, if kids just want to have command of their lives, I understand.”