During the most recent episode of her Facebook talk show Red Table Talk (I know, but it’s good), Jada Pinkett Smith opened up about the moment her son Jaden decided he was done living at home. It was 2016, and he was 15.
“One thing that I’ve learned is that every child need something different. At 15 years old, Jaden, and I remember this day specifically, it’s probably one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life. You got to a point where you told me straight up, you were like, ‘Mom, I have to leave here to live my life.’ And I remember thinking to myself—as devastated as I was—I was like, ‘He’s right. The time is now. He’s 15. It’s time for him to leave the house.’”
At this point, Jada’s mom Adrienne Banfield-Jones chimes in. “And I would have never agreed with that,” she says. But Jada keeps going.
“I told Will when Jaden was smaller, I said, ‘We’d be lucky to keep him in the house ‘til he’s 16.’ Because he was so mature... Being in this lifestyle, in this world, is a bubble. And he wanted out. And I understood that. I didn’t have the bubble, and I knew what...I gained from [having my freedom.] And I knew the sooner I let him go, the faster he was gonna come back.”
Will and Jada have been making headlines for their very Hollywood approach to parenting teenagers, but rarely discuss that approach at length. (Enter: Red Table Talk.) If you take a step past the initial peculiarity of their situation—they are one of the most famous families on planet Earth—it’s genuinely (and unexpectedly) refreshing to watch them all speak to each other so openly. Communication is key, and the Smiths have that part down.
A Scientologist’s take: