In the second episode of the Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk, actress Jada Pinkett Smith — the wife of actor Will Smith — talked about how she coped with losing friends like rapper Tupac Shakur and ultimately, herself, as she tried to balance her career with being a wife and mother. As Jada sat with her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, and 17-year-old daughter Willow Smith, the roundtable talk got intense.
Before filming even began, Jada, 46, got a phone call informing her that a longtime family friend had lost her battle with brain cancer. After she tearfully processed the news with Adrienne and Willow, Jada recalled hearing that her good friend, legendary rapper Tupac — who she was traveling to see at the time — had been killed in 1996.
Jada and Tupac had become fast friends when they met at the Baltimore School of the Arts. “When I think of Pac passing away, I get mad at everybody,” she said. “I really did believe he was going to be here for the long run.”
But perhaps in the most surprising and candid revelation, Jada described once feeling like she lost herself as a mother and wife in Hollywood. “When the producer asked me what was the biggest loss I’ve had in my life, I said, ‘Myself.’ When you realize you lost yourself, it’s devastating. How do you get yourself back?” Willow didn’t blink an eye when her mother lamented the loss of her career after having kids. Willow even thanked her at one point.
But Jada reminded Willow that she didn’t regret it at all. “Giving up my career to raise my children, that was a battle,” she said. But then she directed her attention to her daughter. “Let me tell you, Willow, I would not change it. I love my family. Don’t get that wrong. I just got lost along the way,” Jada said.
Her message for “all these women out here on Xanax, drinking Chardonnay” and “numbing themselves just to survive in a way that they’ve been told they need to be to have happy lives” seemed to be that if she could get herself back and figure out what made her happy, so could they.