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Jada Pinkett Smith encouraged Will Smith to make first marriage work

Niamh Shackleton

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Jada Pinkett Smith encouraged Will Smith to make first marriage work

Featured Image Credit: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images / Charley Gallay/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards

Jada Pinkett Smith says she wanted Will Smith to work out his marriage to his first wife.

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Smith wed Sheree Zampino in 1992, but the pair divorced three years later.

Over the course of their marriage, the celebrity couple welcomed a son, whom they named Trey.

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Pinkett Smith and Smith met in 1994 on the set of Fresh Prince, where she'd audition to play his on-screen girlfriend.

Smith developed feelings for Pinkett Smith before ending his marriage, but the pair didn't start dating until after his divorce.

"I had a realization I wasn’t with the person I was supposed to be with,” he recalled on Red Table Talk in 2018.

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"I was sitting in a [bathroom] stall and I was crying and laughing uncontrollably, and I knew [Jada] was the woman I was supposed to be with.”

Will Smith and then-girlfriend Sheree Zampino pictured in 1991. Credits:  Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Will Smith and then-girlfriend Sheree Zampino pictured in 1991. Credits: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

But before pursuing things with Ali star Pinkett Smith, the 52-year-old had encouraged him to try and reconcile with Zampino for the sake of their son.

Part of her new memoir Worthy reads: "He was in the middle of his divorce from Sheree, and I didn't know a damn thing about the complexities of divorce other than what I'd observed in my dysfunctional upbringing.

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"My biggest misunderstanding about the dissolution of marriage was the belief that divorce and a breakup were the same.

"I figured, once you decided to send divorce papers, that meant you were truly done."

Sheree and Will at their son Trey's second birthday party. Credits: Ron Eisenberg/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Sheree and Will at their son Trey's second birthday party. Credits: Ron Eisenberg/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

But Pinkett Smith had their son Trey, then two years old, at the forefront of her mind.

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Recalling a phone call with Smith who had expressed the potential of reconciliation with Zampino, the mum-of-two penned: "Hot tears spilled from my eyes, but my voice on the phone held steady.

"It occurred to me that this wasn't about me or even us. This was really about Will and Sheree's two-year-old son, Trey."

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith began dating in 1995. Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith began dating in 1995. Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Pinkett Smith went on: "As calmly as I could, I said, 'You have to try. There is a child involved'."

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She went on to hail Smith as 'the best thing that had happened to me in a long time', but she knew that him trying to fix his marriage was 'for the better'.

But two weeks later Smith confirmed that he and Zampino were continuing with their divorce proceedings.

Pinkett Smith and the King Richard actor went on to wed in 1997, and welcomed their first child, Jaden, a year later.

Their daughter Willow was then born in 2000.

Topics: Celebrity, News, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith

Niamh Shackleton
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