Jada Pinkett Smith is opening up about her complicated relationship with her late father, Robsol Pinkett, Jr.
In a new episode of her popular “Red Table Talk” Facebook Watch series, Jada invites her younger brother, Caleeb, on the show to discuss the personal struggles they faced with their father prior to his death in 2010.
Jada explains in the episode, titled “Learning to Forgive”, that she and Caleeb grew up on opposite coasts with different mothers, but their father, “who hurt us the most,” is a “shared source of pain.” She says because Robsol struggled with drugs and alcohol his entire life, he wasn’t a part of their childhood, so they “were forced” to grow up without him.
Caleeb chimes in, explaining how Robsol and his mother divorced when he was just two years old. “When you don’t raise a child, you really are leaving your child to the ‘wolves,’ right? Which is horrific,” he says. “Especially when the child cannot protect itself yet. I will never forget this.”
“The first time I met my father, I was 12 years old,” he continues. “He explained addiction. He said he was an addict, he said, ‘I still am an addict … I am recovering.’ So I would go to his AA meetings, I would go everywhere with him. I developed a really strong affinity for him, but while he was sober, there was another thing he did. He adopted a young girl. So we have an adopted sister. And that was a little jolting for me. The idea that I had a father that didn’t raise me, but then chose to take on [someone] else.”
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Finding our shape for forgiveness is not easy. How we forgive, and why we forgive is personal. One of my methods was humility and trusting that the Divine would give me an understanding of all my woes through the power of Divine love. What my journey has taught me is that people may fail me for whatever reason but my Higher Power NEVER does. With my newfound relationship with my Higher Power, I feel loved…I feel safe…I feel free. Find your shape of forgiveness and set yourself free 💛 Join my family and I as we talk about forgiveness. Now streaming – link in profile. #RedTableTalk @redtabletalk 📸 @stanevansphoto
Jada says after their father “fell off the wagon” again following approximately three years of sobriety, he died from an overdose. She and Caleeb admit that even though it’s been years since he died, it’s still been really difficult to try and forgive their dad.
“He told me, ‘I’d rather get high than be your father,'” Caleeb claims, with Jada agreeing that there was a lot of anger and resentment. “Like, that’s hardcore. … His reason was, ‘I was sick,’ that’s what he told me.”
“That’s what he told me at seven [years old],” adds Jada. “‘I can’t be your father. I’m a criminal, I’m an addict, and that’s just what it is.'”
Jada continues on, explaining that after Robsol relapsed, she and Caleeb felt like they had to be responsible for him, but he “never had to be responsible for us.”
“That was a hard pill for me to swallow,” she admits. “That hurt me. So, when he died from that overdose, I got the call from Caleeb. The most difficult part of him dying like that was ’cause he and I had a horrendous fight when I found out that he’d relapsed. I was like, ‘I don’t owe you nothin’ — you didn’t do s**t for me, you didn’t do s**t for Caleeb’ … it was one of those.”
“I had the same conversation with him, I was furious,” adds Caleeb. “And he told me, ‘That’s what the disease is. Like, this is who I am.’ And that was deep.”
Hear the full discussion in the video above.