It was one year ago this week that Will Smith first discussed having a less then traditional relationship with wife Jada Pinkett Smith to a British tabloid. The two have been dogged with questions for better clarification of his words ever since. One of the easiest ways for a celebrity couple to generate headlines (aside from the old baby ploy) is to hint, or flat out declare that their is an open relationship. Predicting the public and media reaction, however – not so easy.
Smith told Now Magazine that ‘forsaking all others’ was stripped from their wedding vows, and that the two freely discuss their attraction to others. He added: “If it came down to it, then one can say to the other, ‘Look, I need to have sex with somebody. I’m not going to if you don’t approve of it — but please approve of it.” This quickly spawned evidence-free rumors of Jada hooking up with Hawthorne co-star Marc Anthony. Their respective publicists were quick to deny.
It can be difficult to pin down how serious some celebs are when sharing such details on love and intimacy. When Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York City recently shared similar details and it was widely reported as being actively true. On closer scrutiny though, it’s clear she was likely joking. The conversation was more about who they would sleep with given the chance (for her Taylor Kitsch of John Carter). It’s worth also mentioning that she shared this during a test segment for a new talk show she’s pitching. So there’s that.
The flip side to the coin is when celebrities share about their open status, only to quickly backtrack their remarks. Comedian Mo’Nique explained to Oprah Winfrey that she was simply misunderstood in a New York Times interview. “When I said I had an open marriage, people automatically jumped to sex,” she told the TV host. “They automatically went there.” However her original quote to the New York Times was “’We have an agreement that we’ll always be honest. And if sex happens with another person, that’s not a deal breaker for us.” In truth she may have only been saying that their relationship could withstand theoretical adultery, but for the record- she’s the one who made it about sex.
So real questions remain about how much of this trend is inflated, how much is downplayed, and how much is just downright misconstrued. This may seem harsh, but it seems that in order to successfully maintain a lengthy open relationship, you need either two people so strongly devoted to one another that outside forces can’t threaten their bond , or two people who share a common abrasion to commitment in all its forms. The latter seems much more prevalent.
Perhaps no other couple in Hollywood has faced harder or longer scrutiny on this subject then Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, approaching 30 years together. While they adamantly denied an open relationship to the late great Mike Wallace for a 2006 60 Minutes sit down, rumors and even direct allegations have persisted. It didn’t help when Bill Hudson (Goldie’s Ex-husband and father to Kate Hudson) wrote a tell-all alleging Goldie’s multiple affairs and her years of “begging for an open marriage.” He’d have no motivation to lie while selling a book, would he?
Maybe it’s a tad simplistic, but a good way to gauge the number of genuine, healthy open relationships in Hollywood might be by looking at how many successful ones you’ve encountered in normal life.
Then subtract 3.
Will King is a television and media critic who splits his time as a stand up comic. He collects conspiracy theories and claims to have invented Teflon. In his spare time he follows presidential politics and all traffic signs. He lives in Charlotte, NC.
Selma: Why get married if you plan to date outside the marriage, what is the meaning of getting hitched then? Is it not to be exclusive? Maybe I am mixed up but marriage is taken too damn lightly these days. If you don’t want monogamy then don’t get married, it’s just that easy. I recommend this DiscoveryGame to bridge your communication gap and figure out what both of you really want.
Giulia: You love your partner, you really do, but sometimes you’d like some . . . variety. Sex with another person is allowed if both partners agree. I recommend this DiscoveryGame for all open relationship couples to discuss how openness isn’t a license to bed everything in sight, and to encourage respect by having completely open and honest dialogue.