The actress opened up about the experience alongside Jaden, her daughter Willow and her mom Adrienne Banfield-Jones on the latest episode of Red Table Talk on Monday.
“At 15 years old, Jaden, and I remember this day specifically, it’s probably one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life,” she began. “You got to a point where you told me straight up, you were like, ‘Mom, I have to leave here to live my life.’ “
She added, “I remember thinking to myself, as devastated as I was, I was like, ‘He’s right.’ The time is now. He’s 15. It’s time for him to leave the house.”
Jaden ended up not going through with emancipation. He explained his thought process alongside his dad on The Ellen DeGeneres show in 2013.
“See, here’s the thing. I’m not going anywhere. The thing that people don’t get is everything at this house is free,” Jade, 14 at the time, explained.
“I can get anything and everything at his house, so I’m going to be there for 20, 30 years,” he joked. “[Will] says as soon as I have a movie that’s bigger than one of his movies, I can get my own house.”
While Jaden didn’t end up legally splitting from his parents, Pinkett Smith said on Red Table Talk that she understands why her son wanted to separate himself.
“Every child needs something different,” she said to Banfield-Jones. “Being in this lifestyle, in this world is a bubble and he wanted out. I understood that because I didn’t have the bubble. I knew what having my freedom outside the bubble, what I gained from that. I knew the sooner I let him go, the faster he was going to come back.”
She added, “When you become a parent, you have these huge ideals even for yourself. We’re all coming into parenting with our childhood traumas. You’re hoping you can fix all that through your own rearing of your children and you can’t. Your kids are going to have their burdens.”