The 5 Biggest Revelations From Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Worthy” Memoir
From the moment Jada Pinkett Smith began promoting her new memoir, “Worthy,” she was making headlines. In the weeks leading up to its Oct. 17 release, Pinkett Smith steadily dropped tidbits of information while promoting the book – though nothing was more shocking than the revelation that she and her husband, Will Smith, have been separated since 2016.
But her and Smith’s relationship is far from the only topic that “Worthy” takes an honest, unvarnished look at. Pinkett Smith leaves few stones unturned in the memoir, opening up about everything from her early days dealing drugs in Baltimore to her PTSD and dissociative disorder diagnoses later in life. She also offers an intimate window into her childhood, exploring the grandmother who helped shape her worldview, as well as her father’s inconsistent presence and her parents’ struggles with addiction.
Along the way, she dives deeply into the spiritual practices that have helped her survive and process her traumas, from ayahuasca ceremonies to meetings with Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. She also punctuates the memoir’s pages with selected words of wisdom and compassion, all focused on her central point: that everyone deserves to feel worthy in a world that can make that exceedingly difficult.
Ahead, learn more about the biggest revelations from “Worthy.”
1. Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith Have Been Separated Since 2016
In “Worthy,” Pinkett Smith provides a lot of new insight about her complicated relationship with her husband. She explains that she and Smith first began dating around the time when she lost two of her closest friends: Tupac Shakur and a friend named Maxine Rennes, who died by suicide. She also says that she had been on antidepressants but went off them when she began dating Smith. “I sat him down to explain the breakdown I had gone through and that I’d been taking Prozac. That same day, I stopped taking it,” she writes. “In the euphoria of this storybook romance, I felt, who needs Prozac?”
Despite a wildly romantic start, the relationship began to suffer over the years. An inflection point arrived on her 40th birthday, at a time when Pinkett Smith was suffering from suicidal thoughts and mental health struggles. Smith was planning a massive surprise party for her, though she’d made it clear she didn’t want any celebration. They eventually still wound up going through with a downsized version of the event.
“In hindsight, I see clearly that my fortieth birthday was our breaking point. Will’s love language of material and experiential extravagance was how he knew to connect; it was difficult for him to hear that I didn’t need all of that – I just needed him,” she writes. “. . . Inevitably, we came to the proverbial stage of irreconcilable differences.” In 2016, she says, they decided to separate “every way but legally.” Smith’s resistance to emotional connection, she seems to imply throughout the book, was at the root of their separation – as well as the unresolved wounds they both carried, and her own lack of love for herself.
She also makes it clear that the pair were separated and seeing other people at the time of her “entanglement” with August Alsina, whom she barely mentions in the book aside from noting that he was not her son’s best friend. “In terms of Will and me, there were no secrets, so there was no affair,” she writes.
2. Tupac Shakur Asked Jada Pinkett Smith to Marry Him
Pinkett Smith also offers plenty of new details about the specifics and nuances of her relationship with Shakur throughout the memoir. She details how they first met and the way they immediately clicked, and also shares that the fact that they weren’t attracted to each other was confusing for the both of them. Apparently, she says, they even tried to kiss once while in high school, but “the kiss lasted a few seconds before we both pulled away in mutual disgust,” she writes. “. . . It was literally like a sister and a brother trying to make out.”
Their powerful bond continued into her adult life, and Pinkett Smith reveals that while he was in prison, Shakur asked her to marry him via a handwritten letter. “Now as I have slipped from grace and the world has turned against me, a few claim to have love 4 me but once again you show me your love,” he wrote. “After a deep reflection and spiritual awakening I have come to realize the friend, lover, and soulmate was there all the time. I have not seen or felt from anywhere or anyone the intensity & loyalty that you have shown me.”
However, after thinking it over, Pinkett Smith decided to reject his proposal. “Here is what I knew – Pac wanted me as a wife to get him through his jail sentence, but not for a lifetime,” she writes. “He didn’t know that then, not while he was behind bars, but I promise you, once he got out of jail, he was glad he didn’t marry me.” She also shares that although the pair weren’t speaking at the time of Shakur’s death (because of a disagreement about Shakur’s involvement with Marion “Suge” Knight and his label, Death Row Records), she always figured they would start talking again and regrets not reaching out before he died.
3. Ayahuasca Helped Jada Pinkett Smith Overcome Suicidal Thoughts
Pinkett Smith details her struggles with mental health throughout the book and shares that suicidal thoughts grew severe around her 40th birthday. Eventually, she tried ayahuasca, a plant-based hallucinogen, in a three-day ceremony that turned into a four-day ceremony after the third night took her to some scary places. The fourth night, however, was a breakthrough that she says connected her with something “divine.”
“I had always believed there was a God, but I had never felt the presence of the Divine. In this transformational moment, I did,” she writes of that night. “I could finally feel who and what I truly am, a beloved child of the Divine, always and forever, worthy and deserving of being loved.”
She never contemplated suicide again after that ceremony, she says, though it would take her a long time and a lot more than plant medicine to truly heal the wounds she had been carrying around.
4. Chris Rock Once Asked Jada Pinkett Smith Out
Pinkett Smith also goes into detail about the moment Smith slapped Chris Rock during the 2022 Oscars, explaining that she and Rock had a history and revealing that he actually asked her out at one point when divorce rumors about her and Will were swirling. “Once he found out I wasn’t divorced, he apologized profusely, and life went on,” she writes.
She also says issues between her and Rock dated back to 2016, when she voiced support for #OscarsSoWhite in protest of the Oscars’ lack of diversity. “What I also didn’t take into consideration was how Chris, a Black male host that year, would be affected or the pressure he would be under,” she writes, saying she thinks he may have felt that a post she’d made in support of him was a targeted attack. “. . . In hindsight, maybe I should have called Chris personally, checked on him, and wished him luck in a situation that was clearly difficult.”
5. The Oscars Slap Made Jada Pinkett Smith Decide to Reinvest in Her Relationship With Will Smith
Pinkett Smith explains that she rolled her eyes at Rock’s joke about alopecia because she was thinking of “the people I had met whose condition was far worse than mine.”
She also says that the moment made her see Smith in a whole new way and reminded her that they’re partners for life. “All that thorny history of our complicated life together became a nonissue. Will was going to need my support,” she writes. “. . . The only thing I could guarantee was that I wasn’t going to leave his side. We came together, so we were leaving together. We were in this together. Period. Ride-or-die, Bonnie and Clyde, call on all the romanticized versions of all the outlaw shit you can think of. This is where my mind was sitting. Through all the bullsh*t between Will and me, when it’s all said and done, this is what I do! I’m a ride-or-die,” she writes.
“In the media frenzy that followed, I realized I was not any different from every hater and critic when it came to Will Smith. I had been willing to accept and embrace only that which I considered pleasing behavior from Will,” she continues. “I did not know how to love him in his shadow states. The Holy Slap helped me learn how to walk hand in hand with Will, with all his bats and gremlins, the part of him that had been banished deep into his darkest exiled lands, and to be a torch of love for him until he could find his own. Shadow-walking with a loved one takes a lot of practice, but it is the birthplace of unconditional love.”