Will Smith Revealed the 1 Moment He ‘Had a Realization’ That He’d Married the Wrong Woman

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been married for more than 20 years. Still, the two went through their share of trials and tribulations during that time. Ultimately, though, Smith would never divorce his wife — and he’s said that in the past. But that could be because he knew what it was like to go through a divorce.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Will Smith knew there was something different about Jada Pinkett the moment he saw her

Back in the early 1990s, Will Smith was a rising star spending his days on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Despite a focus on his career, a young woman on another TV show caught Smith’s eye. Pinkett was starring on A Different World, and Smith was determined to get to know her. “I knew there was something in our energy that would be magic,” Smith recalled in an interview, according to the Washington Post.

Smith and his Fresh Prince co-star, Alfonso Ribeiro, decided to attend a taping of A Different World with the hopes of meeting Pinkett. But instead, Smith ran into Sheree Zampino, and his entire life completely changed course.  

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett in 1996
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett in 1996 | Ron Galella, Ltd./Getty Images

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Smith realized at dinner with his ex that he had married the wrong woman

Smith and Zampino hit it off, and it wasn’t long before the two were walking down the aisle. Shortly after tying the knot, the couple welcomed their first child, Trey Smith. Though Smith was generally happy with Zampino, it didn’t take long for him to realize that she wasn’t the woman he was meant to be with. Smith finally met Pinkett a while later while at a jazz club, and, according to the Washington Post, she was everything he’d imagined.

Smith didn’t believe in divorce, so he refused to let himself fall under Pinkett’s spell. Still, something hit him all at once while he was out to dinner with Zampino. He’d taken a trip to the restroom, and the moment alone confirmed that the woman at the dinner table wasn’t the woman of his dreams. “I had a realization I wasn’t with the person I was supposed to be with,” Smith said years later on an episode of Pinkett’s “Red Table Talk.”

Will Smith and Sheree Zampino
Will Smith and Sheree Zampino | Ron Galella, Ltd./Getty Images

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Pinkett and Zampino now have a good relationship  

Eventually, Smith and Zampino’s relationship wasn’t working, and she filed for divorce. Once she did so, Smith realized he had an opportunity to pursue Pinkett. The two started dating and were married two years later; they have since welcomed two kids.

At first, life was a struggle for Pinkett and Zampino, who weren’t always seeing eye to eye. But over time, as Smith strengthened his relationship with Trey, and Pinkett grew closer to Trey as well, Pinkett and Zampino were able to put the past behind them. Pinkett even hosted Zampino on a “Red Table Talk” episode, where the two doted on the other’s parenting skills.