Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith have been together for 20 years, and their marriage has long endured divorce rumors — which the power couple have always dismissed, laughed off, or attempted to prove wrong with their public displays of over-affection. Mostly recently, while on the red carpet for the Los Angeles premiere of his Oscar-buzzed film Concussion, Will opened up about his marriage once more to reporters, explaining how “not quitting” is the key to keeping their union strong.
47-year-old Smith wed Jada in 1997, and they share two children, son Jaden, 17, and daughter Willow, 15. Smith also has a son from a previous relationship, Trey, 23. Will explained to Entertainment Tonight how he and Mrs. Smith reflect on their marriage and — much like the media — discuss how they manage to keep it fresh.
“We’ve been married 20 years and we’ve been asking ourselves [what’s the secret to marriage] and really at the end of the day it’s just not quitting,” the star revealed.
“You can’t expect it to be easy,” the Oscar-nominee added, “it’s like our marriage was the most difficult, grueling, excruciating thing that we have ever taken on in our lives. And you know we’re just not quitters.”
Smith also told ET that any hardships he and Jada encounter requires self-reflection first, and then they come together in an attempt to resolve the issues.
“If there is a secret I would say it is that we never went into working on our relationship,” he said. “We only ever worked on ourselves individually,” he explained. “And then presented ourselves to one another better than we were previously.”
As PEOPLE notes, back in August, Smith took to social media to respond to rumors about the couple living in separate homes and dating other people.
“Under normal circumstances, I don’t usually respond to foolishness. (Because it’s contagious),” Smith wrote on Facebook in response to the divorce speculation. But after receiving what he called “deepest condolences” from friends, he decided to set the record straight.
“So, in the interest of redundant, repetitious, over & over-again-ness… Jada and I are…NOT GETTING A DIVORCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!” he declared.
Will is featured on THR’s Actors Roundtable cover, in which he and several of Hollywood’s elite talk about topics such as aging and racism. On the subject of fear, Will had this to say,
“I’m trying to develop a more realistic perspective of what this business is. I told my mother this the other day, and she thought it was hilarious. I said: “When I was 15 years old, my first girlfriend cheated on me. And I remember making a decision that nobody would ever cheat on me again. And the way I was going to do that was by being the biggest actor on Earth,” right? So there’s been this weird psychology that I have always felt like: If my movies are number one, my life is going to work out great.”
— Concussion Movie (@ConcussionMovie) November 25, 2015
Smith’s determination and handwork certainly helped shape that childhood decision, as the actor is set to star in his 25th film, Concussion, the biographical NFL drama in which he portrays Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist from Nigeria who made the first discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a football-related brain trauma, in a pro football player. He takes on the league who attempt to undermine and silence his claims. In a recent interview with GQ, Will said he was conflicted over the controversial role because of the subject matter.
“As an actor, you live for that type of delicious peculiarity,” Smith told GQ. “He is such a unique being. As an actor, I was excited. But as a lover of football, I was conflicted. I was almost called to be an activist against myself.”
One of the film’s trailers suggests it will cast negative light on the NFL, but Will expressed that the role defines who he aspires to be.
“This type of movie checks all of the boxes of who I want to be,” Smith added. “The type of human I want to grow into in this lifetime.”
Will Smith will next star in Warner Bros. superhero adventure Suicide Squad, co-starring Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Viola Davis. The film is slated for release August 5, 2016 in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D.
[Images courtesy Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/Twitter]