Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith on Marriage & Recovery

Marriage Lessons Learned Over 20+ Years

“I’ve learned that recovery isn’t just for those suffering from substance abuse, but that recovery is about recovering from our traumas, abuse, neglect, abandonment, lack of self-worth, disappointments, failed relationships, the loss of loved ones and so on…” – Jada

Addiction Roots in the Family

Being raised by her grandmother and drug-addicted mother, Jada faced the encumbrance of the world and was forced to grow up quickly.

“I grew up in a drug-infested neighborhood where you walk out each day and you just hope that you make it. I came from a war zone… There was a possibility that I wouldn’t make it past 21—that was the reality.” – Jada

Jada transformed the pain and heart-break she experienced as a kid into motivation and a drive to succeed. Despite her troubled childhood and bearing witness to the tragedies of the Crack-Cocaine epidemic, Jada stands in love and truth. She continues to walk in recovery. To this day, Jada claims that she still battles with the demons of her past, but she has learned to let go of self-defeating resentments. Jada also always knew life had something better for her. However, she faced uncertainty and a lack of desire to put in the effort.

“When Will came along, I had a reason…”

Jada & Will’s love story

Jada met Will when she was 23 years old as she auditioned for the cast of the hit television show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the 90s when Will was 26 years old. Although Jada was not chosen for the television role as Will’s girlfriend, they developed an off screen romance.

“Will scooped me up, brushed me off, and said, ‘There’s a diamond somewhere under here.’”

Jada and Will married at ages 26 and 29 years, respectively, on New Years Eve, 1997. Now, they have two decades of marriage and two children together.

Will’s wisdom and advice as a result of going through marriage counseling

The secret to making it through the muck that might come after the I DOs? “Marriage counseling.” Will admits he and wife Jada had marriage counseling to save their relationship. Will shared that most of his sessions focused on the couple being honest with one another.

“What happens in a marriage once you do counseling, the truth comes out. And you sit across from your wife and you’ve said all of your truth and she has said all of her truth. You look at each other and you can’t imagine you could ever possibly love each other again now the truth is out.” – Will

Thankfully, he continued, that “dark moment” is only “the dark before the dawn.”

“When people have to say who they are and what they think, you get to know who they are. I think that’s the cleansing before you get to the other side that is understanding and moving forward in our relationship.” – Will


If you are in crisis or even a robust couple in recovery who would like to develop a more secure, loving, and vibrant relationship, learn about my Couples in Recovery Workshop called “Have Each Other’s Backs Again”, or contact Lana Isaacson, LCSW, CAC III at 720.432.5262, [email protected], or schedule your free consultation or session online.