“When I was 19, I auditioned to play one of his girlfriends on Fresh Prince and they told me I was too short. But then, many years later, once I started a film career and everything, Mr. Smith decided he wanted to come and ask me to play his girlfriend again,” she tells Arsenio Hall of their initial working relationship. “And I had to tell him ‘no’ again. Thank goodness because I think if I had done it, we would not be married today. Because you have to meet people when you’re ready and neither one of us were ready at that time.”
Later on, Jada would run into her future hubby at a department store with her mother, who encouraged the Baltimore native to pursue the “nice guy.”
“I said, ‘Will?! That’s the Fresh Prince! What I’mma do with him?!’ And of course, look at me now. He got me on lock down, Arsenio! He got me! Finally!”
The Wicked Wisdom singer also dishes on her unique friendship with Tupac Shakur, who she credits as the first man to appreciate her in a non-sexual way.
“That’s something that a child, a young girl usually gets from her father. I didn’t have that. Pac was the first one… that… it wasn’t about sex. It was about, ‘You? You’re a beautiful woman. You’re talented. You’re strong. I respect you and you are MY girl! You’re gonna sit right here and I’m gonna protect you! I’mma make sure, if nothing else, you get what you need!’ And that’s what our relationship was like. We kind of did that for each other.”
Watch the rest of her Arsenio appearance below.