If you believed everything you read in gossip magazines, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith would have been divorced about 164 times by now. After 20 years together (surely a record in Hollywood?) and two children later, Will Smith has shared the reason he thinks his marriage has survived.
“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,” Smith told Entertainment Tonight.
“You can’t expect it to be easy, 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,” he said.
Alongside staying committed, Will says it’s also important to focus on the two of you as individuals.
“If there is a secret I would say is that we never went into working in our relationship. We only ever worked on ourselves individually, and then presented ourselves to one another better than we were previously,” he said.
(Watch relationship expert Dr Nikki Goldstein answer the most common relationship question she gets asked. Post continues after video.)
While it may sound strange, it’s a sentiment that Relationships psychotherapist and Director of Clear Day Consulting Dr Jim O’Connor has emphasised to The Glow before.
“Eighty per cent of work in relationships is working on the individual first. It’s all about intention. A relationship has to begin with the intention to create happy and fulfilling experiences and as a result a happy and fulfilling life – from both parties. Individual happiness is integral to couple happiness,” he says. (Post continues after gallery.)
“If individuals are happy then they can relate happily. A failing marriage makes unhappy people even more unhappy. Effective communication is also important, but secondary to this.”
Pinkett-Smith was quick to dispel claims in 2013 that the couple had an ‘open relationship‘ after it was reported she said: “Will can do whatever he wants.”
"Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship... this means we have a GROWN one," she wrote on Facebook.
The pair first started dating in 1995 before getting married two years later. They have two children, Willow, 15 and Jaden, 17 as well as Willard (known as Trey), 23 Smith's son from a previous relationship.
What do you believe is the secret to a successful marriage?