Jada Pinkett Smith invited a special guest host for Wednesday’s Red Table Talk about “toxic forgiveness”: Will Smith’s first wife, Sheree Zampino.
Jada and Sheree talked on the Facebook Watch show — featuring guest Jana Kramer discussing ex Mike Caussin’s cheating scandal — about developing a “sisterhood” as the current and past Mrs. Will Smiths. They admitted their relationship was “messy” at first, as Jada started seeing Will on the heels of Sheree’s 1995 divorce filing, and both women had “fiery” personalities. Today, they’re a tight-knit blended family, with Jada admitting she loves seeing Sheree’s post-divorce bond with Will, and revealing that the exes “take trips” together when she’s not there — which she knows will start “rumors.”
“I was in the picture too soon,” admitted Jada, who married the Fresh Prince of Bel Air star two years after his divorce. “I was,” she said, noting she “apologized” to Sheree, who was married to Will for three years and is the mother of 29-year-old Trey Smith, for that.
“We have developed a really nice sisterhood. but it hasn’t been easy,” Jada continued. “Trying to have a blended family and not really have a blueprint for that, we really had to figure it out along the way. For me, it really was about maturity [and] not understanding the maritime dynamic.”
Jada said the “biggest misconception” she had was she thought when the divorce papers were signed, Will’s relationship with “Ree” was done. But,”Oh, guess what, it ain’t ever done” when there is a child in the picture. “This woman is a part of this family. [I was] not only taking on Trey, but Sheree is coming along too.” Looking back, I definitely would have taken a beat as far as putting myself in the dynamic of you guys [and] let you two flesh out whatever you need to figure out. I didn’t understand it.”
Jada said she imagined it “definitely took some forgiveness” on Sheree’s part “because I can remember some times that I really crossed the line.” Once was when it was brought to Jada’s attention that Trey misbehaved on a playdate and she confronted Sheree when she dropped Trey off at their house.
Jada and Sheree last Christmas:
Sheree, who has appeared on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, recalled dismissing Jada’s input, saying, “‘Go get his daddy, please. Why are you talking about what happens at my house over here?'” She said because Jada wasn’t yet a mother — having Jaden, 24, and Willow, 21, a few years later — she didn’t understand that dynamic. “It was out of line, but you didn’t mean any harm. You were like, ‘Listen, we gotta get [Trey] right.'”
Jada also recalled Sheree coming to the new house she and Will shared and marching into their bedroom to look at it, pushing the boundary of what Jada was comfortable with.
“I couldn’t say nothing,” Jada recalled. It was as if Sheree was saying, “‘You need to know who queen bee is around here, okay?'” For her part, Sheree didn’t remember, but called it “shameful.”
Jada said the “intertwining … got messy” saying much of it was because “we were both really fiery.”
But Sheree said at the end of the day Jada exceeded her expectations, saying, “Coming into this, doing the blended thing, my only requirement was that you treated my son well. You did that. Your heart was always right toward him, wanting the best for him.”
Jada talked about how they were able to “have difficult conversations” and “own up” when they made mistakes. They would pass a journal back and forth at custody handovers if there was something they didn’t feel able to discuss face-to-face.
“My philosophy always was: How can I love Trey and not love the most important person in his life — [who] is his mother. You can’t, and I knew that,” said Jada, who added the situation made her “learn it wasn’t always about me” and made her “reach for a [higher] level of emotional maturity.”
Sheree said she’s “committed to loving” Jada, saying, “You’re family to me.” And she thanked her for her “patience” and giving her the “grace to evolve… Cause if somebody walked into my master bedroom…”
Jada’s mom Adrienne Banfield Norris added with a laugh “… we gonna have words.”
Guest Kramer joined the panel, sharing new details about finding out her ex cheated on her with more than 13 women. During that conversation, Kramer asked Sheree if she was ever resentful that Jada got a more evolved version of Will after he worked through the hurt of divorce. (Will has said his divorce from Sheree was “the worst thing in my adult life.”)
“What I think is when our union ends, huh should be better cause of me,” Sheree replied. “So it might hurt to see [someone] with the better version, but he shouldn’t be worse … Now in this stage of life, I think I left too soon,” as she as Will were both young and married just three years. “That was a part of me trying to protect myself. “Let me sever this now and go.” If I was in a different time, I would never leave that soon. You’d work at it.” Though she added of Kramer’s situation, “Cheating is a whole other thing … I don’t have the grace for a liar.”
Sheree also talked about how she and Will “are better as co-parents than we were as husband and wife. We came together to have Trey, it took the two of us to make him, but then we shifted.”
Jada offered that Sheree and Will “really enjoy each other.”
When Kramer asked if it that gets under Jada’s skin, she answered, “Never. They take trips, I’m not there. They do their thing…”
Sheree said Jada needed to explain that so it didn’t turn into a salacious headline.
“Not together romantically, but like if he’s going on a book tour and his mom is going and his sister,” Sheree joins as well, Jada said. “It’s fun for me to watch them enjoy them. It takes time, though.”
Jada added with a laugh, “We’re not having trouble everyone. Let’s just make that very clear cause you know that will be the next rumor.”
Jada revealed that Sheree joins Will on trips when she’s not there but added there is no scandal:
Later, Jada also spoke about the public having “a lot of fun imagining” what goes on in a famous couple’s life. “They love it. They love putting all the pieces together and what parts you’ve told and what parts he’s told … They love sitting there and chitchatting about … and they have no idea, specifically when it comes to intimate relationships,” which she said are “complex and complicated.”
Jada and Will’s union has been both of those things. For years they were plagued with rumors they were in an open marriage. In 2020, Jada admitted she had a romantic “entanglement” with singer August Alsina when she and Will were separated nearly five years earlier. Will said in 2021 that both he and Jada have, with mutual agreement, engaged in sexual relationships outside of their marriage.
It was recently announced that, following Will’s book, Jada will be writing her own memoir. It will include details on her “complicated” marriage.