Jada Pinkett Smith and Gabrielle Union Speak About Their ‘Petty’ 17-Year Feud

Jada Pinkett Smith and Gabrielle Union
Jada Pinkett Smith and Gabrielle Union
Screenshot: Red Table Talk

Sometimes two people can be mad at each other for years, and then realize they have no idea why they were ever beefing to begin with. It doesn’t even matter if you’re two of the most famous black actresses in Hollywood—and that’s the case with Jada Pinkett Smith and Gabrielle Union. After 17 years of ducking each other in public places and putting on fake smiles, the two actresses finally sat down to discuss their “petty” beef on Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Watch talk show Red Table Talk.


“Gabrielle and I were never really girlfriends; we were great associates,” Pinkett Smith explained to her mother, Adrienne, before the interview, which aired Monday. “At some point that dissolved, and for 17 years, we have not really spoken.”

Even though Union and Pinkett Smith appeared at the same events and were cordial with each other, they actually didn’t start speaking again until recently.

“Gab and I, we had a bit of a break, we don’t know how, and she’s been open to this healing, she’s been open to this conversation,” Pinkett Smith said.

And all it took was one phone call, after 17 years.

“It felt so good on the phone with you to even just go, ‘Hey, I’m sorry that I didn’t even take the time to talk to you, you know?’ And then I had to just apologize, and just thinking to myself, ‘Damn, Jada! That was some petty-ass shit!’” Pinkett Smith said. “Every time we would see each other [over the years], we were always cordial and always nice, but it was always tension.”

Union did admit that it wasn’t until she met with her life coach years ago that she realized she was carrying around negative energy and admitted that she was taking joy “in people’s pain.”

“She got me right between the eyes; it was harsh in the moment, but it was like, ‘Damn, I have been communicating through negativity,’” Union said.


Take a look at their cathartic interview below.

Bye, Kinja! It's been fun (occasionally).


Jae watches the world turn day-glo

I know what I am about to write may seem strange but it is in response to Jada and Gabrielle talking about codependency. For years I went to Coda (Co-Dependents Anonymous) trying to suss my issues. It wasn’t until I allowed myself to admit how much anguish, grief and palatable fear I have lived with most my life that I have started the process of healing. Byproducts of being black in the U.S. It began with being in the “right schools” then the “right jobs” and most often being either the sole black person/poc or one of a few. That wasn’t healthy.

I haven’t lived a sorrowful life. Have had love/joy, incredible experiences but coping with white america is not easy. No one would ever describe me as meek. I have always celebrated being an Afro-Caribbean American Woman but I realized I still had buried much of what I felt in response to micro/macro agressions of racism and chauvinism and in effect put a damper on my own power.