Jada Pinkett Smith Has A Problem With ‘Wife’; Lots Of Women Do

Do men feel the same way about being a husband?

Vicki Larson
4 min readSep 6, 2019


I didn’t think there was anything more that could be said about Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s marriage. There have been rumors over the years that they have an open marriage (and what’s wrong with that?) or they’re about to divorce (same). But now Pinkett Smith has come right out and said something that, no matter how shocking it may be to some women will resonate with a lot of others — she never wanted to get married, she didn’t want to be a “wife” and she put her family’s needs first and promptly “forgot who Jada was.”Sound familiar?

Unconventional marriage

In an interview in the Guardian, she says:

“I knew that I was not built for conventional marriage. Even the word ‘wife’: it’s a golden cage, swallow the key. Even before I was married, I was like, ‘That’ll kill me.’ And it damn near did!”

A lot of women have a problem with being a wife. Ever since Judy Syfers’ “I Want a Wife” essay in the first issue of Ms. magazine — actually, before then — there have been lots of feels about what being a wife means. Books, fiction and nonfiction, and articles have been written about it. Our most high-profile single woman, Oprah, addressed it. And now Pinkett Smith is getting real about it.

It has nothing to do with her marrying the wrong person. She’s clear about that and calls him her life partner. It’s more about the institution of marriage itself, the roles we take on in it, willingly or not, and how that all plays out. Not always so great, she shares:

“I can assure you that some of the most powerful women in the world feel caged and tied, because of the sacrifices they have to make to be in that position. So I wanted to talk about how we really feel about marriage. How do we really feel about different, unconventional relationships? How do we really feel about raising children? Honestly.”

Creating an authentic romantic partnership

Pinkett Smith is asking questions that we tried to address in The New I Do — if no one has to marry anymore, then why marry? What do you hope it accomplishes? Do you…



Vicki Larson

Award-winning journalist, author of “Not Too Old For That" & "LATitude: How to Make a Live Apart Together Relationship Work (2024) coauthor of “The New I Do,”