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Divorce Is Not An Option For Jada Pinkett Smith And Her Husband Will Smith, After Revealing They've Been Separated For 7 Years

Jada's ready to tell her side of the story.

Before her new memoir Worthy hits stands next week, Jada Pinkett Smith is giving fans a little snippet of what they can expect and some of it is quite surprising.

A closeup of Jada in a leather jacket

In a new clip from her upcoming exclusive NBC News primetime special with Hoda Kotb, Jada revealed that she's been separated from Will Smith since 2016.

will kissing the top of Jada's head on the red carpet

Will and Jada have been married since 1997 and share two children together — Jaden, 25, and Willow, 22. Jada is also the stepmother to Will's oldest son, Trey, 30.

A closeup of the family at the Oscars with Will holding his award

Nearly 20 years after tying the knot, they decided to live "completely separate lives." And while talking with Hoda, Jada confirmed that "it was not a divorce on paper, but it was a divorce."

A closeup of jada on the news segment

News of their 2016 separation was kept private as the two still made public appearances together and openly talked about their marriage in interviews.

a split screen of jada and will

During this split, their union also faced several media scandals, including rumors of Will getting close to his Focus costar Margot Robbie, as well as Jada's entanglement with singer August Alsina.

closeup of August with his arm around Jada at the BET awards

First mentions of their separation actually happened during a 2020 episode of Jada's Facebook Watch talk show, Red Table Talk, where she addressed her relationship with August and how she and Will were "going through a very difficult time."

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Will added, "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."

And when Hoda asked why Jada wasn't more vocal about their issues and separation throughout the years, she admitted it came down to them "just not being ready yet...still trying to figure out between the two of us how to be in partnership. In regards to, how do we present that to people? We hadn't figured that out."

closeup of jada and will at an event

She went on to admit that the reasoning behind their breakup was a culmination of things. They eventually reached a point where trying to fix things in their relationship became tiring.

“Why it fractured? That’s a lot of things," Jada said. "By the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be."

Will and Jada on the Oscars red carpet

During a special family episode of Red Table Talk, where Will was a guest, Jada opened up about feeling like she was living "inauthentically" and "living up to an idea for [Will]." They had to break up within their marriage and rebuild with new rules. They had to go their separate ways to regain their strength and she did it so she could rediscover who Jada is — not her as a mother, not as a wife, but as Jada.

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Jada thought about getting a legal divorce, but ultimately she could never go through with it. "I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever,” Jada added. “I just haven’t been able to break that promise."

will kissing jada on the cheek

Both Will and Jada have been adamant about a legal divorce not being the right solution for them and something that they want to avoid as they learn to work through their marital issues.

the two kissing at an award ceremony

To learn more about Jada, be sure to watch her full NBC News interview with Hoda when it airs at 8 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 13.

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And don't forget to checkout her upcoming memoir, Worthy, which hits stores on Oct. 17.