Inside Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's Unique Family Life
From a hands-off parenting style to opening — and then closing — an elementary school, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's family lifestyle is unique, interesting and a bit bizarre.
Eyebrow-Raising Facts about Will Smith and the Smith Family
This is a story all about how the Smiths never got flip-turned upside down because they’re one of the most famous and successful families in America.
Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and their children, Jaden Smith and Willow Smith, are rich beyond belief — and their family dynamic is quite interesting, which Jada often refers to on her "Red Table Talk" web television show.
Here’s a candid look at all we know about the Smiths, their riches, how they live and their unorthodox parenting techniques that might have you in awe while also scratching your head.
Jada Pinkett Smith Had a Rough Childhood
Jada Pinkett Smith didn’t grow up on easy street in Baltimore. Her mother, Adrienne Banfield Jones, and her step-father, Warren Brown, were both drug addicts.
Brown told Celebbuzz that he used cocaine. Jones later revealed on “Red Table Talk” that she “was on drugs” until Jada was “17 or 18 years old.”
Jada herself went on to sell drugs in a bad neighborhood, saying that it was “just the norm” and that she was “in the streets selling drugs, doing all kinds of stuff.”
And It Prepared Her for Hollywood
On a positive note, she said the experience left her unafraid to deal with Hollywood big wigs.
She summed up her attitude like so: “I deal with killers, homie, you produce what?” she said on "Red Table Talk."
Jada Was Ready to Let Her Son Move Out at 15
When Jaden told his mother he was ready to move out at 15, instead of laughing, Jada took the news seriously.
“I remember thinking to myself, as devastated as I was, he’s right. He’s 15. It’s time for him to leave the house,” Jada said during a “Red Table Talk” episode. The actress went on to say Jaden had always been so mature that she and Will would be lucky if they could keep him at home till he was 16. The Smiths seem to have a ‘hands-off’ style of parenting, with Jada saying, “They don’t belong to me” about her children.
But Did He?
It’s not clear if he actually moved out. Jaden was reportedly asking for emancipation from his parents, but decided not to go through with it, according to People.
And why would he? Check out where he got to live just three years later.
Jaden Lives in a $4 Million Home
In 2016, Jaden moved into a Smith family mansion located in the Hidden Hills area of Los Angeles. According to the Daily Mail, the mansion, worth at least $4 million, was purchased by Will in 2003. Also according to the Daily Mail, the neighbors don’t like him because he acts like he owns the place.
Hidden Hills is a celebrity-filled area, and his friend, Kylie Jenner, lives there as well.
Willow Didn’t Like Doing ‘Whip My Hair’
When she was nine years old, Willow Smith had a musical career jumpstarted thanks to her famous family’s connections.
She released a single, “Whip My Hair,” in early 2010; it peaked at fifth place on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs billboard, stayed on the chart for 20 weeks, and went platinum in the United States.
However, Willow doesn’t seem to see the hit as that big of a success. During a “Red Table Talk” show, she told her mother that she and Will should have instead encouraged her “musical growth and knowledge more than her popularity.”
Later, Willow admitted to briefly cutting herself after her music debut during a “short, weird point in my life.”
Willow Smith is Worth $6 Million
Even if Willow didn’t like her entrance into the music industry, the song netted her a reported $1.7 million from “Whip My Hair.”
Willow is also an actress and appeared in “I Am Legend” (which starred her father), lent her voice to the animated films "Madagascar" and "Madagascar 2," and occasionally acts on television. Altogether, she has an estimated worth of $6 million.
Jaden Smith Is Worth $8 Million
Jaden Smith’s money-making abilities come mainly from his acting. He started out starring alongside his dad in 2006’s “The Pursuit of Happyness,” and then went on to star as the karate kid himself in “The Karate Kid” remake four years later.
He co-starred along with his father in 2013’s “After Earth,” and went on to have a role in Netflix’s “The Get Down” and lent his voice to the animated show “Neo Yokio.”
Jada Pinkett Smith Never Has to Work, Either
Jada scrapped her way through Hollywood, starring in bit roles until she landed starring role as Ronnie in the critically acclaimed movie, “Menace II Society.”
Then, she landed a recurring character role on the sitcom “A Different World” and went to nab an increasing number of big roles. Notable roles include playing Niobe in “The Matrix,” Christina Hawthorne in the television show “Hawthorne” (which earned her about $150,000 an episode) and a recurring role on the hit television show “Gotham.”
The 47-year-old actress is now worth about $50 million.
And Will Smith Is the Richest
It probably goes without saying that Will Smith is the richest Smith.
The actor became a beloved cultural icon with his breakout performance as the Fresh Prince in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and the man has never stopped working.
Aside from his successful rap career, the big bucks come from more than 40 movies. He’s starred in gigantic hits like “Independence Day,” the “Men in Black” series, “I, Robot,” “Bad Boys” and “I Am Legend.”
His movies have made an estimated $6 billion in total at the box office, which makes his estimated net worth of $350 million easily understood.
Their House and Real Estate Dealings
The Smith family lives in a beautiful 25,000-square-foot, adobe-style compound with hand-carved railings situated on a whopping 150 acres of land that, at one point, listed for $42 million (the home is now off the market, and it's where “Red Table Talk” is filmed).
Naturally, that’s not the Smiths' only real estate.
Properties in Hawaii
In 2017, the Smiths sold a four-structure, seven-bedroom compound on nearly seven acres in Kauai, Hawaii, for $12 million. According to Variety, the couple made $2 million off the deal.
That isn’t the only time the couple profited from real estate in Hawaii — according to the Wall Street Journal, Will and Jada sold a Hawaiian property for $20 million in 2015 after buying it for $13.5 million in 2009, therefore banking around $6.5 million from the deal.
Will and Jada Founded a School
The story of Will and Jada’s school, the New Village Leadership Academy, a small, private elementary school in Calabasas, Calif., is a strange one. It opened in 2009 and shut down in 2013 after some controversy stemming from Scientology-inspired reading materials, as well as rumors that Will and Jada were scientologists.
The trouble started after the Smiths' 2008 tax returns revealed that they gave a combined $122,500 donation to the Church of Scientology. To be fair, that was just a portion of the $1.3 million donations given to a bunch of different church and charity groups, but it was enough to gain the attention of the press.
Then, They Closed It
It was then uncovered that the school used something called Study Technology, a teaching method employed by the Church of Scientology, which was created by Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Will and Jada both denied being members of scientology and that the school was any kind of recruitment establishment for the religion. Regardless, the damage was done. In 2013, the school quietly closed, allegedly because parents wouldn’t associate with the school due to bad press and, according to Showbiz 411, Will and Jada were spending $2 million a year of their own money to keep the school afloat.
Jaden and Willow reportedly attended the school.
The Kids Hated School
On their “Growing Up Smith” episode of "Red Table Talk," the kids talked with their grandmother and their mother about how they really didn’t like school. The 19-year-old Jaden recalled — somehow — his distasteful experience in pre-school, saying “The short amount of time I went to pre-school, it felt like three years.
After laughter from their grandma and their mother, Jada said that Jaden “might have made it two weeks,” and noted that she waited in the parking lot while he was there because Jaden would say, “‘Mommy, why would you leave me with people who don’t love me?’”
And It Involved Some Seriously 'Bad PB&Js'
Willow said that whenever she came home from school she “was always in a terrible mood” and that “my days were so full of insecurity and fear and bad PB&Js.” It’s not clear if Willow was talking about the New Village Leadership Academy, although reports say Willow had attended Sierra Canyon High School in Los Angeles.
So, like any well-meaning Hollywood parents not wanting to make their children uncomfortable in any way, shape or form, they pulled their children away from the school system.
So, Jaden and Willow Were Homeschooled
Able to avoid the emotional scarring of the best schools that money can buy — or create — the Smith kids went into homeschooling.
What exactly kind of homeschooling that is, is anyone’s guess.
A Unique Education
In an interview with GQ, Jaden said he and Willow “started this initiative called Mystery School. It dates back to like ancient Egypt, ancient Greece — like Plato, Pythagoras, all these students had mystery schools. And what they learned in there was sacred.”
He apparently built some kind of pyramid in his backyard, and, in a 2014 interview with The New York Times, said he was reading, “‘The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life’ and ancient texts; things that can’t be pre-dated.” Willow, then 14, said she was reading quantum physics books and books by Osho, a sex cult leader featured in Netflix’s “Wild, Wild Country” documentary series.
Jada and Will Met on the ‘Fresh Prince’ Set
In 1990, Jada was still new to Hollywood and was looking for work. So, she made an audition that would change her life — and not because she landed the role. She auditioned for a part on a new series called “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” where she hoped to play Will Smith’s girlfriend. Unfortunately, the producers thought that the five-foot Jada was unrealistically short for their 6’2” lead, and she didn’t get the part.
Five years later, for Jada’s 25th birthday, Will sent a delivery truck stuffed with flowers to the movie set where Jada was working. One year later, they married at a wedding venue decorated with gilded magnolia leaves, velvet draping and lilies from New Zealand, according to People.
It wasn’t all fairy tales, though — Jada started dating Will while Will was still married to his first wife, Sheree Fletcher, mother to Trey Smith.
Will and Sheree divorced in 1995.
Trey Smith and Will’s Past Love
Will’s first child, Trey Smith, born in 1992, is probably most recognized as the kid in Will Smith’s music video for his hit track “Just the Two of Us.”
He’s currently a DJ who works under the moniker DJ Ace. And he still has a relationship with his father — according to an interview cited by BET, Sheree, Will and Trey vacation together, and Jada has absolutely no problem with it, saying it’s “important” for Trey to have that “parental connection.”
Open Talk About Sex
The Smith household holds no puritanical views when it comes to the bedroom. In a "Red Table Talk" called “Let’s Talk About SEX!” with Jada’s mother, Willow and Willow’s best friend, Jada got really candid.
Jada joked that she went through an “addiction” with sex toys because they gave her “multiple” orgasms, warning “you can get addicted because you can create so much pleasure you can constantly want it.”
Jada also revealed that her grandmother told her about masturbation at the age of nine because her grandma didn’t want Jada to think that pleasure could only be had at the hands of a man.
Even With Willow
Willow said she first learned about sex when she walked in on her parents in a darkened room.
The discussion was a very free-flowing conversation about sex, for both genders.
And Even About Their Unique Marriage
There have long been rumors about whether or not Will and Jada have an open marriage. On a July 2020 episode of "Red Table Talk," the show broke record audience numbers when the couple discussed a time when they were separated.
Jada admitted to having a relationship or "entanglement" with friend and singer August Alsina, which Will said he knew about at the time. The two came on the show to address the affair and assure the public that they're still very much together after 25 years of marriage.