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Will Smith

“Marriage can’t be a prison”

Will Smith at a film premiere in London, 2016. Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Will Smith is in his “f***-it fifties”, says Wesley Lowery in GQ. The actor talks happily about the 20-strong harem of girlfriends he wanted “more than anything in the world” – until he realised the logistics “would be horrific”. The 53-year-old has travelled to Peru more than a dozen times to take part in rituals involving the plant-based psychedelic substance ayahuasca. And he’s relaxed about his 24-year relationship with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, no longer being monogamous. “Marriage for us,” he says, “can’t be a prison.”

He and Pinkett Smith, who have two children, Jaden, 23, and Willow, 20, “have become Hollywood’s most transparent and vulnerable couple”. As her husband’s stardom grew and his career took priority, Pinkett Smith would often wake up in tears. Things reached breaking point in 2011, when, on her 40th birthday, Smith screened a documentary he had secretly commissioned that traced her family’s lineage back to slavery – he’d tracked down the descendant of the white family who once owned her ancestors. Pinkett Smith told him it was “the most disgusting display of ego I have ever seen in my life”. The ensuing fight was so loud, it woke their daughter. “Our marriage wasn’t working.”

Smith feels freer now. He and Pinkett Smith were open about her affair with the R&B star August Alsina on her talk show last year. He travels without security, turning up at airports alone. He’s into TikTok. And for his new autobiography, he made sure his ghostwriter portrayed him warts and all. “Yeah, that’s a little ugly,” Smith would tell him. “Let’s keep it in there.”