Expert: Will Smith's Social Media Activity Deflates Jada's Memoir Scandal

Will Smith's relationship with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, is complex, to say the least. Both were already in relationships when they first met — Will was married to Sheree Zampino — and had to wait until his divorce was finalized to begin dating. The couple discovered they were expecting their first child the day after their engagement, and Jada felt pressured by her mother to get married quickly. Will and Jada have endured their fair share of stresses in the decades that followed including, of course, Will's infamous Oscars slap of Chris Rock.

Now, Jada has released a candid new memoir, "Worthy," in which she addresses some tough topics, including her battles with substance abuse and depression. She also gets real about her marriage, most notably with the revelation that she and Will separated in 2016 and that she had a dalliance with a much younger singer, August Alsina. Naturally, fans held their collective breath to hear what Will would say about his wife's tea-spilling. And fortunately, his reaction wasn't long in coming: On October 18, the actor released his "OFFICIAL STATEMENT" on Instagram

Sitting in a chair before a fireplace, Will said, "I got something for you. Here's the thing. My opinion of ... of the ..." He proceeded to sneeze, and the camera immediately zoomed out to show outdoor views of a desert, ocean, and other natural wonders. The joke was on everyone else, and the underlying message seemed to be a reminder that there are more important things to worry about. The List reached out to crisis management expert Eden Gillott, of Gillott Communications, to see whether she thought Will was really as relaxed as he was letting on.

Will made it clear he stands by Jada

Will Smith's public reaction to the furor surrounding his wife's book release was definitely tongue in cheek but the Oscar winner's personal response was honest and refreshing. In an interview on the "On Purpose with Jay Shetty" podcast, Jada Pinkett Smith shared a letter he wrote to her after reading "Worthy." Will noted, "I know it wasn't easy to excavate the depths in that way. I applaud and honor you. If I had read this book 30 years ago, I definitely would have hugged you more. I'll start now." 

He also admitted to feeling "shocked and stunned ... laughing, then inspired, then heartbroken" — a perfectly understandable reaction, according to crisis management expert Eden Gillott, of Gillott Communications. Speaking exclusively to The List, she explained, "As Pixar's movie 'Inside Out' reminds us, we have the capacity to have a duality of emotions." Gillott continued, "You can be embarrassed while also being proud." The crisis management expert added that Will's actions speak volumes about their relationship. 

"Will Smith continues to support Jada by showing up for her and the family," she confirmed. "He stood by her side while speaking at an event for her book on Wednesday." The former rapper also knows when to step back and drop it: His humorous Instagram video is the only social media acknowledgment of the memoir as of this writing. Two days after the "sneeze" reaction, Will posted pictures of the whole Smith family celebrating the 70th birthday of Jada's mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris. "Happy 70th, Gam Bam!!" he wrote.

He knows a little humor goes a long way

Writing an autobiography can be risky business, particularly if you're bringing up sensitive topics. Case in point: Prince Harry's memoir had some startling revelations that may have destroyed the royal defector's relationship with his family forever. When Jada Pinkett Smith dished on her marriage in "Worthy," Will Smith could easily have responded with a harsh rebuttal or a cold "Recollections may vary" dismissal. Instead, he took the higher ground and made fun of the public's curiosity about his opinions.

Eden Gillott, a self-described "Dumpster Fire Fixer" when it comes to salvaging reps, told The List that Will did exactly the right thing. "Smith's humor on social media sets the tone and shifts the mood surrounding the release of 'Worthy,'" she asserted. "If he'd posted about being embarrassed or devasted, it would have created a tidal wave of news stories that would have probed even deeper. Humor, on the other hand, takes the wind out of the sails of those who revel in scandal. It also creates space for the public to focus on other aspects of Pinkett Smith's book."

Despite their current separation, the actor also showed his love and support in the letter he wrote to his wife. Jada appreciated her husband's willingness to admit his part in their marital difficulties and laughed about a joke he added about relaxing with a glass of wine. "He knows I can't have no Merlot! That's beautiful. That's why I can't divorce that joker," she quipped.