Jada Pinkett Smith Insists On This Strict Rule For Her Family And Friends

Few celebrities have been more open about their personal life than Jada Pinkett Smith. The actress has discussed everything from her marriage problems with Will Smith to her struggles with substance abuse as the co-host of Red Table Talk. And Jada certainly got everyone talking after revealing one particular rule for family and friends she always adheres to.

An affair to remember

Since 2018, Jada has made headlines for getting extraordinarily candid on Red Table Talk. The Facebook Watch show sees Jada discuss various issues with her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and her daughter, Willow. In 2020, for instance, Jada made audiences gasp when she admitted to having had an extra-marital affair with vocalist August Alsina.

The world-famous entanglement

This confession came right in front of her husband, too! That’s right: the couple was having a very public discussion about their relationship when Jada confirmed that rumors about an “entanglement” with Alsina were true. She added, “I was in a lot of pain, and I was very broken.” But this was all part of Jada's journey with the show.

A woman on a mission

In 2021 she told NPR, “I guess at this point in my life, I’ve really been doing a lot of interior work. And I just realized that in part of my growth, the women and the people who had the courage to be very transparent with me with certain aspects of their journey really, really helped my journey tremendously.”

A conversation-starter

Jada continued, “And so I was like: I really want to create conversation where people don’t have to feel like they’re alone. And whatever pieces individuals can take with them to make whatever changes they might feel is necessary for more happiness, more joy, more peace – I want to be part of that journey.”

Jada is the bad cop

Of course, Jada has never been afraid to open up about life in the Smith family — and particularly the rules that she imposes upon them. In 2008 the actress told People that she was often the bad cop when it came to parenting. Jada said, “We’re not strict, but we definitely believe it’s a very important component for rearing children. It creates safety for them. They understand that they need guidance.”

Will took the easy way

Luckily for son Jaden and daughter Willow, their father was something of a pushover when it comes to rules. Referring to mealtimes, Jada revealed, “[Will is] so lenient on that stuff. Daddy tends to [say], ‘Yeah! Have chocolate cake for dinner! It’s all right with me.’ I’ll come home and it’s just, ‘Has anyone had lunch?’ ‘Yeah, I had some Frosted Flakes!’”

Letting the kids decide for themselves

Yet within five years Jada appeared to have succumbed to Will’s approach to discipline. Will told E! Online, “We don’t do punishment. The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives. 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 — it has a little too much of a negative quality.”

Willow pushes the boundaries

The year previously Jada had been criticized for allowing her daughter a little too much freedom when it came to her hair. Yes, Willow had made the headlines after deciding to go for the buzzcut look. But her mom answered back to her critics on Facebook, posting, “The question why I would let Willow cut her hair, first the ‘let’ must be challenged.”

Giving them the benefit of the doubt

Jada continued, “This is a world where women [and] girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves — that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self-determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit, and her mind are her domain.”

Empowering a new generation

In 2014 Jada told Us Weekly that despite all the criticism, she was proud of her unorthodox parenting techniques. The actress said, “I don’t just sit with Willow and go, ‘Hey, this is what mommy thinks. Let me just bring in a little reality to validate what mommy’s been talking to you about.’ What I do with Willow is I give her the opportunity to be empowered by having herself first.”

Full of parenting advice

And Jada is more than happy to offer other parents advice, too. During her 2014 appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, the actress was asked by the host if she could give him any guidance when it came to his own young daughter. And Jada’s response didn’t sound too difficult to take on board. She said, “As a father, if she needs a ride from the mall, you go pick her up, and you don’t say a word.”

Mommy knows best

Jada continued, “You don’t ask her anything. Don’t talk to her. Don’t ask any questions… You wait until she comes to you and wants to talk to you. And that’s my advice to you. Moms know girls. I always tell Will, ‘Just say I love you. Go pick her up, make sure she’s safe. Leave it to me to ask all the questions.’”

They place unorthodox rules on their marriage

Of course, it’s not just in the area of parenting where Jada and Will have rules to follow — or not in some cases. The pair also have guidelines when it comes to their marriage. In 2013 Jada revealed to HuffPost that she essentially allows Will as much freedom as he likes — but with one major caveat.

Will "can do whatever he wants"

Jada said, “I’ve always told Will, ‘You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be okay.’ Because at the end of the day, Will is his own man. I’m here as his partner, but he is his own man. He has to decide who he wants to be and that’s not for me to do for him. Or vice versa.”

It's not an open relationship

Many interpreted these comments as an admission that both parties were able to have affairs. But Jada quickly took to Facebook to set the record straight, writing, “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.”

Will likes to break one rule

There is one rule that Jada does try to impose, though, and it’s one that Will apparently often ignores. The actress claimed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2017 that her husband has a habit of asking complete strangers for small change. She said, “He does it all the time. He really likes to do it with me ’cause I hate it, and he thinks that’s funnier... Because I get embarrassed.”

Jada gets embarrassed by Will

Jada then referred to one particular incident in New York City where Will apparently stopped a passer-by to ask for a dollar. The Set It Off star recalled thinking at the time, “Don’t have him give you money, ask him to give you some money! Don’t give him money! This is all wrong!”

The kids were not in for an easy ride

Will and Jada have also been keen to ensure that their two kids know the value of a dollar. Appearing at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 for Red Table Talk, Jada recalled telling Jaden and Willow, “Listen, you guys are really privileged and you are to learn how to... offer yourself and be in service to the world. They got to see very early that life’s not a game and all of this right here, this ain’t yours.”

Jaden and Willow started work young

The two younger Smiths were even volunteered to work at a homeless shelter by their mom in a bid to hammer home how privileged they are. Jada also explained why she allowed her children to start their careers at such a young age. The matriarch said, “I did not want them to grow up thinking that because they were in the midst of affluence that they didn’t have to learn how to grind, learn how to work hard on their own.”

Jada is worth a pretty penny

So, how much money exactly does Jada have in her own bank account? Well, according to Celebrity Net Worth, the Girls Trip star has a colossal $50 million to her name. Of course, some of the star’s fortune has been attained through her long-lasting marriage to fellow Hollywood actor Will Smith. Just don’t ever ask Jada if you can lend a few dollars, though.

A money rule

That’s right: during an episode of Red Table Talk in 2020, Jada revealed that she’s not fond of handing out cash even to her nearest and dearest. This may sound a little mean-spirited considering her considerable wealth. But it turns out that there’s a perfectly valid reason why Jada doesn’t want to serve as a bank.

She doesn't owe anybody anything

Addressing her mom, Jada said, “People like us – who came from backgrounds where we didn’t have much – don’t feel guilty. I spent so many years feeling guilty and my guilt made me feel like I owed everybody and I wasn’t allowed to say, ‘No.’ And that’s just not true, right?”

The number one rule

As a result, Jada created her own set of rules which is followed whenever she is asked for cash by a close friend or family member. She explained, “First of all, I don’t lend money. I only give money that I am willing to give like, ‘This is a gift.’”

Avoiding the problem

Jada went on to add that she feels lending money to solve one particular problem can lead to other problems. The star clarified, “Just as far [as] the expectation of people paying you back or what have you. So, I tend to not give where I can’t just say, ‘Here’s a gift to you.’ Specifically, people who are close to me, [because] I’m not trying to have fallouts over money.”

The reason behind the rule

And there are also certain stipulations when it comes to Jada gifting rather than lending money. The Gotham actress cited a particular example on Red Table Talk. She said, “So, it’s like, somebody’s like, ‘I want a new house,’ but they don’t have a job to support the house they’re trying to buy. It’s like, well, you’re not ready for that.”

Finding other ways to help

Jada continued, “So, I’m not about to help you get into something that ultimately is going to make more difficulty for you, right? And so, I really had to look at that.” The actress went on to add that she’s had to learn how to help her loved ones with both education and resources.

“Don’t feel guilty”

Coming back to a viewer’s question, Jada concluded, “Don’t feel guilty just because we got our grind on… And people will make you feel like, ‘You owe me. I was standing next to you. I grew up in the house with you. I did this and that with you, I knew you when.’ And at the end of the day, you don’t owe nobody nothing.”

The fan reaction

The online response to Jada’s financial talk was mixed, to say the least. In the comments section underneath a MailOnline article about the episode, one reader remarked, “And you mean by not helping out someone over money, there won’t be a fallout with that decision? Bet you she took a handout or two in her lifetime.”

Negative feedback

Another commented, “She is worth $60 million and Will is worth $350 million. Give money to your needy family. Geez. We have a family member we help out every single month and hope to do that even when we retire.” And over on Twitter, one individual asked, “If they’re truly ‘loved ones,’ wouldn’t you just give them the money?”

Finding some support

But Jada did have some support. Next to an Instagram clip of the chat posted by Red Table Talk’s official account, one follower wrote, “Okay, I agree with the evaluation of the ready-for-the-help part so it seems it’s patience on one’s part I guess.” Another expressed their solidarity with Jada, posting, “That’s me 100 [percent]. I don’t give money because I can’t stand expectations.”

The path to success

So Jada’s confession on Red Table Talk might not have gone down well with everyone watching back home. But it didn’t stop voters from honoring the show at the Daytime Emmy Awards the following year. The Facebook Watch series picked up Outstanding Informative Talk Show in 2021, and the three hosts couldn’t have been prouder. But we know it obviously hasn’t been plain sailing for the Smith family since then.

Alopecia becomes apparent

The scandalous story of Jada and Alsina's "entanglement" pretty much never left the public consciousness. But Jada had some other things to deal with at the time, too. In 2021 she started talking more about the alopecia diagnosis she’d gotten a few years prior. Alopecia is a condition that causes you to lose your hair. That year, she decided to just shave her head.

The Slap

And it was that health condition that led, domino-like, to the Oscars slap heard around the world. During the 2022 ceremony, in case you hadn't heard, comedian Chris Rock made a crack about Jada’s shaved head, saying “G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” Will responded by marching up on stage and slapping Rock in the face.

The repercussions

That one moment sparked endless debate on the internet and beyond. Was Will being chivalrous and defending his wife, or just throwing his weight around? Did he do it despite or because of the fact there had been issues in the marriage? As of yet, only the Smiths know. Will did apologize to Rock and the Academy, though. And Rock has had his say, too.

Rock hits back — with words

On March 3, 2023, the comedian recorded a live stand-up special for Netflix called Chris Rock: Selective Outrage! At the end of the show, he quipped, “I loved Will Smith. My whole life, I loved Will Smith. I saw him open up for Run-D.M.C. … He makes great movies. I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life. And now I watch Emancipation just to see him get whooped.”

Season for healing

As for Jada’s thoughts about it, she hasn’t said an awful lot so far. She did post to Instagram, “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it,” but went no more in-depth than that. However, an insider said of her to Us Weekly, “She’s a strong woman, an opinionated woman, and she can fight her own battles. But she will stand by him.”

Endless gossip

But the rumor mill is still in motion, and how. On April 19, a few weeks after the slap, OK! magazine reported that “tension has allegedly grown between the pair” and Will and Jada could even be headed for “one of the ugliest divorces in showbiz history.” And an alleged insider told Heat magazine that the pair were “barely speaking.”

Uncertain future

Could it really happen? A divorce after so many years of marriage? Well, neither couple’s activities have given any indication they’re “barely speaking” — though there’s definitely not much speaking from them about the Oscars. Still, as that dramatic on-stage slap demonstrated for all to see, anything can happen in showbiz.