During a recent episode of the Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk, Jada Pinkett Smith revealed shocking details about her past issues with substance abuse. The actress’ co-hosts, her mother Adrienne “Gammy” Banfield-Norris and daughter Willow Smith also shared their own journeys. They were also joined by women from all walks of life to discuss their personal experiences with alcoholism and drugs.
Expert guest Dr. Jessica Mellinger explained that in the past year she has recognized a trend of hospital stays in young women with alcohol-related liver disease. According to a report published by Hartford Healthcare last October, women have turned to alcohol during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in a 41 percent increase in heavy, or binge, drinking episodes since March 2020. Alcohol consumption for people over age 30 is up across the board.
Pinkett Smith said she also noticed the trend and used the data to reference her own dark past. During the episode, the Girls Trip actress admitted she abused alcohol starting in high school and added weed and ecstasy early on in her career.
“One of the reasons why this particular show was really important to me is because wine, for me, was like Kool-Aid. ‘Cause, like, I was a—you know, a brown liquor drinker, vodka-like—I was a hard liquor drinker. Like, I could drink almost anybody under the table,” the 49-year-old recalled.
“Your threshold becomes so high that what it takes for you to get to the place you need to get to—it’ll take me two bottles to get to—OK, if I do ecstasy, weed, and alcohol at the same time, I’m gonna get there faster and I can keep the high going because then I can just keep drinking ’cause I know ecstasy’s gonna last me about three, four, five hours, the weed, you know, that’s just gonna keep me just smooth, and then the alcohol’s gonna keep it going.”
But she got her wake-up call when she passed out on set. Pinkett Smith described a time where a bad batch of drugs caused her to become unresponsive while filming The Nutty Professor. Her mother revealed she was unaware that the scary moment ever occurred.
“I had one incident. That was an eye-opening incident for me as well. I had one incident on Nutty Professor. I passed out. Makeup trailer,” she shared. “I passed out. I went to work high, and it was a bad batch of ecstasy…But I tell you what I did though. Got my ass together and got on that set. That was the last time.”
As someone who regularly smokes weed, Willow added her two cents. “I’m just so happy that I’m a regular old stoner,” the 20-year-old exclaimed as her mother opened up about her past.
The “Whip My Hair” singer continued to explain that although she uses marijuana, she makes sure to have periods of sobriety.
“I know my body, and it’s taken me a long time to understand what works best for me, but it’s imperative for me to stop smoking every year for at least two months. This is my fourth year doing that.”
The family matriarch also noted her own struggles with heroin addiction.
“Listen. Listen, everybody. You can see the stress that I’ve been under as a recovering addict dealing with my family that is not accepting of the fact that addiction runs deep in our veins. Jesus,” Gammy said at one point during the conversation.
The co-hosts also engaged in conversations with Khadi Olagoke, a law school graduate who struggled with alcoholism in recent years and started Sober Black Girls after the murder of George Floyd; Jessica Duenas, the 2019 Teacher of The Year from Kentucky who would down a bottle after school; and Annie Grace, a global marketing vp, who developed a problem with alcohol after being pressured by her job’s drinking culture.
View the episode below: