irreversible entanglements

A Timeline of Will, Jada, and August’s Entanglement

How the hell did it come to … this? Let us explain. Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Getty Images

It was the entanglement heard round the world. On July 10, Jada Pinkett Smith brought herself to the Red Table and revealed that she’d had a relationship with R&B singer August Alsina while separated from her husband, Will Smith. While Will and Jada promised to leave everything on the table, a lot was left unanswered after everything was said and done. How exactly did Jada meet August? Have she and Will been in an open relationship? What exactly is an entanglement? As such, we took it upon ourselves to map out the the complete timeline of Will and Jada’s relationship, from meeting on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to sitting across from each other at the Red Table, and August’s role in it.

1994: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett meet on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when Jada auditions to play Smith’s girlfriend. She ultimately loses the part to Nia Long because she’s too short (heightism strikes again) but a connection is made. At the time, Smith is married to actress Sheree Zampino.

Sometime later in 1994: Will and Jada begin seeing each other, romantically. Legend has it that Will called Jada and asked if she was seeing someone. She said no, and he said “Cool, you’re seeing me now.” Both Will and Jada maintain they began seeing each other after Will and Sheree separated.

December 10, 1995: Smith officially divorces his first wife, Sheree Zampino, mother to his oldest son, Trey. He calls the divorce “the worst thing in his adult life” on an episode of Red Table Talk.

December 31, 1997: Will and Jada get married in her hometown of Baltimore on New Year’s Eve. In a 2019 People cover story, Jada recalls “infuriating pressure” to marry Will after getting pregnant with son Jaden. “I never wanted to get married. But my mother was like, ‘You have to get married’ — she’s so old-school — and Will wanted a family. So I said, ‘All right, maybe it’s something I should do.’”

July 8, 1998: Will and Jada’s first child together, Jaden Smith, is born. An unprecedented amount of vibes are unleashed into the world.

October 31, 2000: On All Hallow’s Eve in the first year of the new millennium, Willow Smith is born. She’d one day teach us how to whip our hair to and fro.

August 23, 2011: A decade passes of relative marital bliss between Will and Jada. However, on this day in 2011 the couple releases a joint statement to combat rumors that Jada was dating her Hawthorne co-star, Latin music superstar and J.Lo’s husband at the time, Marc Anthony. “Although we are reluctant to respond to these types of press reports, the rumors circulating about our relationship are completely false. We are still together, and our marriage is intact,” the couple said in a statement to People.

While the couple’s joint statement was strong, a rep for Jada was slightly vaguer, saying, “All the rumors regarding Marc Anthony and Jada are false. Completely untrue. As for [the reports of a split between] Will and Jada, I’m not commenting on their personal life.” No word from Jenny From Da Block.

August 14, 2013: Jada takes to Facebook to address rumors that she and Will have an open marriage. The impassioned post ends with the following message: “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.”

Sometime in 2013: Rumors surface that Will Smith had an affair with Margot Robbie while filming Focus in 2015. Neither Robbie nor Smith ever directly addressed the rumors, but the internet seems pretty convinced.

June 3, 2015: Jada goes on Howard Stern and discusses her relationship with Will. “I’m not the kind of woman that believes that a man’s not gonna be attracted to other women,” says Jada during the interview. “It’s just not realistic. And just because your man is attracted to another woman doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. And it doesn’t mean he’s gonna act on it.” Got it.

June 28, 2015–July 5, 2015: Jada attends the Wireless Festival in London to support Jaden and Willow, who are both performing. There, the 43-year old actress meets a 22-year-old August Alsina for the first time. The entanglement ensues …

August 3, 2015: Will addresses rumors that he and Jada are headed toward divorce in a Facebook post where he refers to Jada as “his queen.” Jada takes to Twitter and simply says “My king has spoken.” The monarchy remains intact.

June 25, 2017: Jada and August Alsina attend the BET Awards together. They seem … cozy! Queen Latifah clearly knows something.

Photo: Getty Images for BET

July 21, 2017: While promoting her upcoming film Girls Trip, Jada goes on Watch What Happens Live! and says that the craziest rumor she’s ever heard about her and Will is that they’re swingers. “That’s the craziest one,” says Jada. “It’s constant. And I’m like, ‘yo, I wish. I wish.’” Careful what you wish for …

December 21, 2017: Will posts a long, emotional Instagram for his 20th wedding anniversary with Jada. “Love is Like Gardening… I have learned to focus on HELPING you to BLOSSOM into what YOU want to be (into what you were born to be)… Rather than Demanding that you become what my Fragile Ego needs you to be.”

July 11, 2018: August Alsina takes a seat at the Red Table next to Jada to discuss his issues with alcohol, sex, and drug addiction. Jada introduces him as “a dear family friend.”

April 10, 2019: August Alsina drops a music video for his remix to Kehlani’s “Nunya.” In the video, his Animoji is texting someone named “Koren <3" which is Jada Koren Pinkett Smith’s middle name. He also uses a GIF of Jada in the video right after singing the lyric “You got me feeling like it was an act, you’re just an actress / Putting on a show ’cause you don’t want the world to know / That you lost a man who loved you all along / Baby, couldn’t we just let this go?” At the time, Alsina denied claims that the video was about Jada, but I mean … come on.

June 30, 2020: The entanglement begins to unravel. While promoting his upcoming album The Product III: stateofEMERGEency, August Alsina sits down with The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee and claims that he “gave years of his life” to Jada in a romantic relationship with Will Smith’s blessing. Later that day, reps for Jada calls Alsina’s claims “absolutely not true.” Okay, Jada …

July 2, 2020: Jada takes to Twitter to announce the inevitable. “There’s some healing that needs to happen… so I’m bringing myself to the Red Table.” The internet goes wild.

July 10, 2020: The now infamous Red Table Talk occurs. Jada confirms that she had a relationship with August, but denies that Will ever gave his blessing, claiming the two were separated at the time. Will Smith glaring becomes a meme. The world googles what the word “entanglement” means.

7:16 p.m. on July 10, 2020: Somehow, Keke Palmer gets wrapped up in this mess. After tweeting about watching the Red Table Talk, a fan “this you’d” her and posted a photo of Palmer with August Alsina. “Yes girl,” Palmer tweets in response. “August was never my man lol. That’s why you’re still reaching to this day to figure out nothing.”

August, most likely in his feelings, took to Twitter to confirm that he was, in fact, never Keke’s man. Things are getting messy.

7:48 p.m. on July 10, 2020: August Alsina, still in his feelings it seems, continues to post about the entanglement on Twitter. “If you have something to say, say it w/ ya CHEST kids. It’s always very perplexing cause I real deal be showing people genuine love. Whole time that envy eating ya lil heart. Anyway, NEXT!!” Feelings seem to be hurt.

Saturday, July 11, 2020: Famed troll 50 Cent posts a screenshot of a DM conversation he allegedly had with Will Smith about the talk around the Red Table. In the DMs, Will says “We broke up so she did her and I did me.” 50 Cent follows what appears to be genuine concern for Will with a joke about August and Jada’s entanglement. Will did not appreciate it.

Monday, July 13, 2020: Somehow, Keke Palmer gets the last laugh.

Saturday, July 18, 2020: Alsina released “Entanglements,” a song with Rick Ross that gets to the core of his heartbreak over Jada. Several lyrics seem to reference her, including, “That ain’t my girl, but I got they key to the crib and to the car,” as well as, “You left your man just to fuck with me and break his heart.” His lyrics also defined “entanglement” in very clear terms: “The definition of entanglement / It’s when you’re tangled in the sheets.” Very subtle.

April 6, 2022: Alsina can’t keep Jada’s name out of his mouth, either. He released a song on April 5 in the aftermath of Will Smith’s slap at the Oscars, titled “Shake the World,” which appeared to reference their “entanglement.” The song seems to pull directly from Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé’s “Feeling Myself,” where Beyoncé addresses the elevator incident with Jay-Z and Solange. “I heard it’s some shit that’s bound to go down when you got a billion dollars on the elevator / Well of course some shit was bound to go down when you tangled up with the world’s favorite.”

Thursday April 7, 2022: Shortly after The Sun pens a story that Alsina is nearing a book deal about his time with Jada, August goes on Instagram to (ahem) slap that rumor down. Alsina posted a screenshot of a text he seems to have sent to someone in his phone named “Stupid People 🤢 Stupid Rumors 🤮.”

“[T]hey’ve written several fantasies, hypotheticals & fictions based about me on wattapad [sic],” Alsina writes, implying that he’s aware of rpf fit of him and Pinkett Smitt on Wattpad. What a time to be alive! “If you’re looking for that kind of entertainment, go read those! Read the book called ‘HOLY BIBLE’ while you’re at it too.”

A Timeline of Will, Jada, and August’s Entanglement