Why Jada Pinkett Smith Believes She and Her Brother, Caleeb Pinkett, Have a ‘Shared Source of Pain’

Jada Pinkett Smith once shared that she and her younger brother, Caleeb Pinkett, bonded over their father, Robsol Pinkett Jr.’s drug abuse, which occurred in their formative years. 

In December 2018, Jada invited Caleeb to appear on Red Table Talk, per People. Jada hosts the Facebook Watch show with her daughter, Willow Smith, and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and her brother Caleeb Pinkett attend the premiere of Universal Pictures' "Girls Trip" at Regal LA Live Stadium 14 on July 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Jada Pinkett Smith and Caleeb Pinkett|David Livingston/Getty Images

Jada revealed on the show that both she and Caleeb endured painful moments with their father that shaped where they are in their lives today. 

Jada Pinkett Smith said Robsol Pinkett, Jr. was a ‘shared source of pain’ for her and Caleeb Pinkett

Caleeb Pinkett is the half-brother of Jada Pinkett Smith. The two have the same biological father, but Caleeb grew up in California with his mother while Jada and her mother lived in Baltimore, Maryland, during her childhood. 

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Although they lived in separate homes, Jada shared on Red Table Talk that she and Caleeb saw similar patterns while Robsol was under the influence of drugs. She said witnessing his actions provided a “shared source of pain” between the two siblings and she and Caleeb both found it challenging to forgive Robsol through the years. 

“We had a lot of resentment,” Jada said. “We had that feeling like we had to be responsible for him, but he never had to be responsible for us, and that was a hard pill for me to swallow.”

Jada Pinkett Smith and Robsol Pinkett, Jr. had a tumultuous relationship

Throughout her career, Jada has been vocal about how witnessing her father’s drug abuse affected her in her adult life. During her childhood, she said Robsol didn’t attempt to connect with her and said he couldn’t be a father to her because of his battle with addiction, per People

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Jada shared on Red Table Talk that while she knew her father was sick, she couldn’t find herself to forgive him. She said he didn’t express any interest in her until her acting career took off with films like Set It Off, The Nutty Professor and The Matrix.

“The issue for me was when I got into the position I got in and then he wanted to have a relationship. That hurt me,” Jada admitted. 

Jada said her unwillingness to move past her issues with Robsol escalated into a negative experience with him shortly before his death. She said they got into an argument after Jada learned her father was abusing drugs again. 

“So when he died from that overdose, I got the call from Caleeb. And the most difficult thing about him dying like that is that he and I had had a horrendous fight when I found out that he relapsed,” Jada recalled. “I was like, ‘I don’t owe you nothing. You didn’t do sh*t for me; you didn’t do sh*t for Caleeb. I don’t owe you nothing.’ It was one of those.”

Jada Pinkett Smith said Caleeb Pinkett handled Robsol Pinkett Jr.’s death with ‘so much grace’ 

Robsol died of a drug overdose in February 2010 at the age of 57. When Caleeb informed Jada that their father passed away, Jada said she couldn’t accept that he was gone. She said she felt guilty about his death because of the fight they had. She recalled not being able to help with Robsol’s funeral arrangements and said Caleeb was more than willing to “step up” at the time. 

ada Pinkett Smith and brother Caleeb Pinkett attend the after party for a screening Of Columbia Pictures' "Concussion" on November 23, 2015 in Westwood, California.
Jada Pinkett Smith and Caleeb Pinkett|Todd Williamson/Getty Images

“He had to go identify the body, he had to take care of the funeral arrangements, and to have that happen and I didn’t have to take care of it? He had it,” Jada said of Caleeb. “The way he handled it was with so much strength and so much grace, and that’s when he really grew up to me in that moment. To have my little brother be able to step up for me was an amazing moment.”