Jada Pinkett Smith: 'Family is Number One'

08/31/2009 at 02:00 PM ET
Kevin Winter/Getty

Actress and songstress Jada Pinkett Smith, 37, wears many hats, but there is one hat which clearly suits her best. “Family is number one,” she tells the September issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. “I figure out how I can give them what they need, and in turn be given the time to do what I want.” To that end, when she was mulling over the idea of joining the cast of HawthoRNe, Jada says that it was the input of Jaden Christopher Syre, 11, and Willow Camille Reign, 8 ½, she sought above all others.

“I sat my kids down and said, ‘There’s a project that Mommy wants to do,'” she recalls, “‘It’s going to be three months, and there might be days that I’m not going to be here when you wake up or when you go to bed. But then I might have two days off, and you can have Mommy all to yourself.'” Fortunately for fans of the TNT show, Jaden and Willow encouraged their mom to take the part.

“Their response was, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s cool, Ma!’ Willow said, ‘When you come home late, will you just come in my bedroom and give me a kiss?'”

Recognizing where to draw the line between career and family is somewhat complicated, however, by the fact that both kids are up-and-coming actors in their own right. “The whole family is spending the summer in China, where Jaden’s shooting a remake of The Karate Kid,” Jada notes. “I was going to be in the film with him, but I decided that when he’s working, he needs Mommy — just Mommy, who gives the apples with the peanut butter.”

When the family of five — which includes husband Will Smith, and Will’s son Trey, 16, from a previous marriage — aren’t on location, Jada says they’re often hanging out near home. “We’ll go outside on the trampoline or the swing, take a nature walk, bake,” she reveals. “I love to bake — that’s the only thing I do. I don’t cook at all. I can’t. My mother didn’t cook; my grandmother couldn’t cook a lick!” You won’t hear the kids criticizing Jada’s cooking, however, for Jada says that her unbreakable mom rule is respect. She elaborates,

“My kids are extremely respectful. You might not have to go to bed at a certain time, but do not talk crooked to anybody! Always treat people the way you want to be treated.”

HawthoRNe airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TNT.

Source: Good Housekeeping, September issue

— Missy

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Mary-Helen on

That’s really cool that the whole family went with Jayden. So often you hear about maybe one parent or a guardian travelling with child actors, but the whole family makes it a fun vacation experience as well as a chance to Jayden to stay grounded. Love that Jada dropped out of the film so she could be a mom instead of an acting partner.

I love hearing about this family! They seem so normal and grounded despite Will, Jada and now the childrens’ success.

Micheley on

I love this family. One of my favorites. I always admired how openly Jada embraced Trey and his mother.

mslewis on

I’ve always been a fan of the family, I like them all. However, I really tried to watch Jada’s new show but it is absolutely AWFUL!!! Bad writing and even worse acting. Maybe it will improve next season. I hope so because I was excited about Jada being on TV!!

Sherrick on

This is the main reason I love them as a family and actors! They never let the job get in the way of their family time and when they do projects, they consult with each other rather than being selfish! It’s amazing to see how grounded they remain; even after all of their success!

Dee on

I love this family! Mslewis you are not first person I read say that about the show, that’s funny because my family can’t get enough of it.

Jessi on

I LOVE her on HawthoRNe. I didn’t know that her daughter’s middle name is Camille, which is what Jada’s daughter’s name on the show is. I LOVE that show.

Why don’t we ever see the other children though? I see pictures all of the time with Willow, but none with Jaden or Trey. Sometimes with Jaden, but always Willow is outshining him. I don’t have a problem with it, but I just don’t understand.