Will Comments That the Couple Has an Open Relationship
For nearly a decade, Will and Jada-Pinkett Smith have long been revered for keeping a seemingly-private and happy marriage without allowing their personal lives to be exploited in relation to their acting careers. In a recent interview with the New York Post, Will Smith opened up about one of the secrets of their success: maintaining an "open" relationship.
"Our perspective is, you don’t avoid what’s natural. You’re going to be attracted to people. In our marriage vows, we didn’t say, ‘forsaking all others’. The vow that we made was that you will never hear that I did something after the fact. If it came down to it, then one spouse can say to the other, ‘Look, I need to have sex with somebody. I’m not going to if you don’t approve of it, but please approve of it," Smith said in the interview.
The Smiths are not the only public couple to openly admit to engaging in an open relationship. The late Ossie Davis and his wife of over 50 years, Ruby Dee, discussed their attempt in their co-written biography, "With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together."
"It occurred to us, from observation and reasoning, that extramarital sex was not what really destroyed marriages, but rather the lies and deception that invariably accompanied it — that was the culprit. So we decided to give ourselves permission to sleep with other partners if we wished — as long as what we did was honest as well as private, and that neither of us exposed the family to scandal or disease. We had to be discreet and, if the word can be apt, honorable in our behavior, both to ourselves, to whomever else might be involved, and most of all, to the family. And for the most part, we were," said Davis in an excerpt from the book.
While the couple later decided that this was not the best way to approach a marriage (in relation to AIDS and STDs, among other issues), many believe that this method is not uncommon or disgraceful. "I respect them for that. I don’t want to do that with my husband, but hey, there is more than one way to skin a turkey, whatever works for them is great, even if it’s unconventional. It just seems like a lot of work," said Makia Kambon, a senior Howard University radio, television and film student.
Still others, like senior Howard advertising student Stephanie Holland, feel adverse to the approach.
"This is so disheartening to me because it’s sad that such a prominent model for successful marriage really isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. I just have trouble understanding why anyone would get married if they still feel the need to have different partners. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I just don’t think this is the right answer to any problem or maybe I just see better options," said Holland.