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Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith separated since 2016: 'We were just exhausted with trying'

Promoting new memoir Worthy, the Red Table Talk host says she and Will have been leading separate lives for seven years

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith attend the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California.
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz ColonOnline News WriterNew York
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For the release of her new book, Worthy, Jada Pinkett-Smith is opening up like never before, starting with a shocking bombshell: she and her husband of 26 years, Will Smith, are separated and are leading separate lives.

The longtime couple's marriage has long sparked questions and wide-ranging rumors, and now the former Red Table Talk host is putting them to rest once and for all.

In a new excerpt from an upcoming interview with Today Show host Hoda Kotb, the star gave shocking insight into being "divorced" from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum for the past seven years.

WATCH: Inside Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith's Marriage

According to the conversation with Hoda, Jada reveals in her memoir that back in 2016, she and Will "decided that [they] were going to live completely separate lives."

"It was not a divorce on paper," Hoda started, to which Jada confirmed: "Yes," however when the veteran journalist reiterated: "But it was a divorce," Jada then declared: "Divorce," and confirmed that the two have been "apart" since 2016.

Detailing why she waited seven years to reveal the change to their relationship – Will and Jada have continued to make red carpet appearances and social media posts together in the seven years that they've been separated – Jada explained: "I think just not being ready yet. Still trying to figure out between the two of us how to be in partnership, right, and in regards to how do we present that to people, you know? And we hadn't figured that out."

She continued: "I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be."

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MORE: Jada Pinkett Smith surrounded by husband Will and kids Jaden, Willow, and Trey for emotional reveal: 'It wasn't easy'

Jada also confirmed that to this day, the two do live "separately," however she maintained: "I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever. And I just haven't been able to break that promise."

Photo shared by Jada Pinkett-Smith on Instagram August 2023 posing by the beach with her husband Will Smith, stepson Trey Smith, and kids Jaden and Willow Smith© Instagram
Jada and Will with kids Trey, Jaden and Willow in August of 2023

In a separate interview with People, she also shared: "We’re still figuring it out," adding: "We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together."

She declared: "We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us."

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith smiling at each other while being photographed at a red carpet event© Getty
The couple tied the knot in 1997

Though Will and Jada have faced rumors of a split in the past, news that the two have been separated for seven years comes especially as a shock given their continued outings as a unit up until this year.

MORE: Jada Pinkett Smith's heartbreaking update with fans after Tupac Shakur arrest

Will Smith, with his award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for "King Richard", poses with his sons Trey Smith and Jaden Smith, daughter Willow Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith, as they attend the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 94th Oscars at© Getty
The Smith family at the 2022 Oscars

At the 2022 Oscars, Will infamously slapped Chris Rock after he made a joke at Jada's expense, and he even exclaimed: "Keep my wife's name out of your [expletive] mouth," in her defense.

The two have continued to appear on red carpets and share photos with their children as well, sons Trey, 30, (from Will's relationship with Sheree Zampino), and Jaden, 25, plus daughter Willow, 22.

View post on Instagram

Just last month for Will's birthday, Jada shared a throwback of the family-of-five on Instagram, and wrote: "I am so glad you were born on this day. Without you I would not have experienced the greatest joy of my life… the love of our family. On this Divine assignment we've chosen to walk together, I am grateful for the wells of laughter along the trails of tears we’ve shared. Thank you for helping me learn to embrace it all… with a smile. Here's to 100+ more birthdays full of growth, acceptance and joy."

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