Jada Pinkett Smith showed up to her book talk at the Enoch Pratt Free Library with her No. 1 fans in tow: her extremely famous family.
The Baltimore native’s buzzy new memoir, “Worthy,” has taken over headlines the past few days as the actress revealed for the first time publicly that she and her actor husband, Will Smith, separated in 2016 and have lived apart since then. That didn’t stop Will and his two kids with Pinkett Smith, Jaden and Willow, and his son Trey Smith, whom he shares with ex-wife Sheree Zampino, from joining the family matriarch on stage near the end of her discussion.
Attendees exploded into cheers of excitement when the Oscar winner appeared and clamored to take photos of one of the more famous families with roots in Baltimore.
Pinkett Smith said the family — which also included her aunt, uncle and Will Smith’s mother and sister — was in town Wednesday to celebrate the 70th birthday of her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, known more affectionately as “Gam.”
“I guess the talk’s over,” Pinkett Smith said as her family spread across the stage. Nope, they had 13 more minutes. And of course, Will Smith had nearly 13 minutes’ worth of things to say.
He gushed to an enthralled crowd about the Emmy-winning “Red Table Talk” host and the sacrifices she made during their union, which he referred to as a “sloppy public experiment in unconditional love.”
“I just really wanted to come out and just be here and hold it down for you the way you have held it down for me,” Smith opened, earning him a tender hug from Pinkett Smith.
Their relationship, he said, was tumultuous and “brutiful,” a portmanteau of brutal and beautiful. The two got together in their 20s, a time when Smith said he had huge dreams and was “on fire with a vision. And as I stand here before you today, I am happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I have achieved every single thing I have ever wanted in my entire life. There is not one thing left that I desire in this world — all of the awards, all of the money, the family — everything I’ve ever dreamed.”
“And those dreams were largely built on the foundation of Jada’s sacrifices,” he said. “There were many times when Jada put her career aside so I could follow the dreams of mine.”
He also credited Pinkett Smith for maintaining a close relationship with Zampino, putting him and their family “before herself” so all the kids could spend time together, Smith said.
“Can you show up and love somebody for the rest of your life, even when you don’t agree with them?” Smith asked. He referred to Pinkett Smith as his “best friend” and pledged to do just that.
“Jada is the best friend I have ever had on this planet and I am going to show up for her and support her for the rest of my life,” he said. The room broke into applause.
“Was that 13 minutes?” Smith asked the room. He launched briefly into an anecdote about how he had recently been in Papua New Guinea, where his phone was off, and landing in Sydney to an onslaught of messages. “Jada Pinkett — she said what?” he joked, miming reading his notifications. But he made sure his speech still ended with a shoutout to his wife’s hometown.
“Thank you all for being a place for Jada to find her voice,” Smith said. “Baltimore, coming home to you is really beautiful.”
Pinkett Smith smiled quietly throughout his speech before finally tapping him gently on the back and indicating it was time to cede the stage back to the woman of the night.
“Time is up, babe,” she said.