Here’s an interesting development: Jada Pinkett Smith recently addressed the open relationship rumors that have surrounded her marriage with Will Smith for years. During Jada’s HuffPost Live interview with Marc Lamont Hill, he asked if they have an open relationship and she said:
No, I think that people get that idea because Will and I are very relaxed with one another. […] 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.’ Ok? 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.
What struck me at first wasn’t so much what she said — although I love it, more on that later — but how people online were responding to it. It seems a lot of people (the ones I follow on social media/IRL, at any rate) took this as her way of admitting to an open relationship without flat-out saying yes. Because what she describes can be seen as supporting the ideals of non-monogamy, and because admitting that you’re in an open relationship can often have all sorts of backlash, they connected with “do whatever you want” part of Jada’s answer. Some then used that as a way to support their pro-non-monogamy stance, which usually I’d be all over, except that she starts her response with a “no,” and I’m not sure how much clearer she can get than that.
Even though I’m a big-time fan of non-monogamy, I’m also a fan of believing women when they talk about their own relationships. Because, you know, they’re in them and we’re not. Is it possible that they have an open marriage but have decided to always deny it? Absolutely. But I’m not interested in ignoring Jada Pinkett Smith when her response to the question starts with a clear “no.”
What I am interested in, is what she has to say about relationships and why her relationship with Will Smith works.
Later on, she says:
[…] But I think that, that just comes from respecting that you’re in a partnership but that you also are an individual as well.
I love everything about all of this, open relationship or not. It’s true that for a lot of us non-monogamous folks, these are the things we want in a relationship but that have seriously lacked in our own attempts at monogamy and/or attempts we’ve been close to (parents, best friends, etc.). So if this is important to Jada and Will and they’ve managed to retain it in a monogamous relationship, more power to them! If part of this is flirting with or fantasizing about other people — which some might call non-monogamy but others wouldn’t — still awesome! Mostly, I’m just excited to hear somebody describe their relationship this way, and coming from a place of both happiness and empowerment.
(Also, I’m happy that I watched this interview because I got to hear Jada Pinkett Smith talk about Free Angela, relationships, etc.)
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