Jada Pinkett Smith is best known as an actress, comedian and screenwriter. Her career has spanned over the last three decades, and that’s even longer than her marriage to actor Will Smith. The pair tied the knot in 1997 and have two children; Willow and Jaden. In 2018, Jada began a new chapter of her career when she started hosting the Red Table Talk Show on Facebook.
The series follows Smith as she talks various stars through the drama and controversy in their lives. In a recent episode, Smith turned the questions on herself when she invited one particular guest to the show. The two women had been feuding for seventeen years and decided to set the record straight on camera.
Jada Pinkett Smith has steered impressively clear of petty drama over the last thirty years. Or so we thought. Much to the surprise of the public, it turns out that Smith and another actress have been throwing some major shade back and forth for years.
Today, Smith has this powerful, guru-like role for many young people in Hollywood. On her Red Table Talk Show she has hosted guests like Jordyn Woods in the midst of the heavily covered Tristan Thompson scandal.
Red Table Talk Show
She impressively navigates asking the tough questions while offering a safe, comfortable space for her interviewees. It’s a delicate balance, but Smith is just the type of person you want to spill your guts to.
Red Table Talk Show
Just last year she decided to switch up the dynamic. In the interest of full disclosure, she brought forth the skeletons in her own closet. She revealed that she has had a feud with actress Gabrielle Union that she wanted to address.
Instead of keeping it to herself, she wanted to give her 17-year-old dispute the red table treatment. It does seem as though the thing has some type of magical power—everyone who leaves it seems to feel better about whatever woe they were harboring.
Gabrielle Union is a superstar actress in her own right. The women are only a year apart in age and share many friends. Union’s NBA player husband Dwayne Wade and Will Smith are even friends. So why the bad blood?
The way Smith describes it is fairly complicated. It seems as though the women don’t remember exactly what the inciting incident was. After years of tension building, the two connected over a phone call that Smith called “deeply healing”.
When Smith called to ask Union to come on her show, they couldn’t come up with why they hadn’t spoken in 17 years. However, the women still had plenty to say to each other. Union agreed to make an appearance.
The source of the rift between them is unknown, but some speculate it stems from Union’s alleged connection with Will Smith on the set of Bad Boys II. Apparently the actors hit it off a little two well, causing jealousy.
Bad Boys II
Whatever the reason, muddled by rumors swirling from both sides, it created a serious rift between the actresses. One that would persist over every meeting between them for years. Until the women decided to lay it all on the table.
The fateful day arrived, and the two were opposite each other at the infamous red table with cameras rolling. Both women spoke candidly and honestly about the whole situation, leaving no room for interpretation of their feelings.
Smith began the conversation by explaining more about that honest phone conversation they shared. She apologized for not taking the time to talk to Union and called herself out for being “petty” about the argument.
Red Table Talk Show
In return, Union shared some of her journey after hitting what she called “rock bottom” following her divorce from her first husband. She remembers falling into some of the toxic traps so many women in Hollywood do.
“I had been shrinking other people hoping that I’m growing,” Union admitted. “I’m a hater. I’m a troll. All those negative things that had been happening in your life, it’s exactly what you’re putting out you’re getting back.”
In less than half an hour, the women seemed to have overcome an argument that had taken on a life of its own—devoid of any point but a spike in toxic negativity when they inevitably ran into each other at some event.
Union articulated it perfectly by citing their pride and insecurities as obstacles to an honest conversation. “Hey, did that ever happen or was that a creation of someone else who did not want to see two women rise together?” she said.
Red Table Talk Show
Smith echoed back to a powerful speech Union had given in which she said “I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses. Real fearless and fierce women admit mistakes and they work to correct them.”
During that talk, Union admirably walked the walk of what she had been preaching. Instead of letting negativity linger, these powerful women chose to grow. It’s inspiring to see the desire to connect between two people who were pitted against each other.
By the end of the interview, the actresses were on the same page. Union described it as a “gorilla hopping off my back that I didn’t even know was there.” They even posed for a picture with Smith’s mother.
Red Table Talk Show
Smith and Union expressed the importance of opening one’s self to supporting others, instead of tearing them down. In a short conversation, they only needed to set aside their pride to heal an old wound. Feuds in Hollywood are nothing new, of course.
It was a silly feud that also nearly destroyed The Golden Girls. A show about four older women living out their retirements in Miami wasn’t exactly the kind of content producers thought people were going to eat up. But these ladies had a surprise in store for the networks.
It was a smash hit! It quickly dominated Saturday nights, and other networks couldn’t find anything that could compete. Soon, the “Golden Girls” were the biggest stars in television. But the four women had an unlikely road to the spotlight.
Estelle Getty (Sophia) was the first cast, but she was actually a year younger than Bea Arthur, who played her daughter! She sat through three hours in the makeup chair every show to make her look much older than she was. And that wasn’t all they had to deal with…
Estelle had a bad case of stage fright! As the least experienced performer, she was constantly worried she’d be ridiculed next to big stars like Bea and Betty. Of course, Sophia ended up stealing the show every night.
Meanwhile, Susan Harris actually wrote the part of Dorothy with Bea Arthur in mind, but the network wasn’t convinced she’d have widespread appeal. Once she signed on, they quickly ate their words. Still, Bea had concerns about two other casting choices.
Rue McClanahan (Blanche) and Betty White (Rose) were originally cast in each other’s roles as they had played similar characters before. Bea was worried this would make the show feel stale, so on a whim, the producers had them swap parts. Magic was born.
When the camera started rolling, it seemed like everything was perfect. And with the chemistry the four leads had on screen, how could it not be? But behind the scenes, it was another story entirely.
Photo by Alice S. Hall
Much of the tension stemmed from one woman in particular: Bea. On screen, her character Dorothy was a driving force, berating Blanche for her promiscuity and delivering a fiery “Oh, shut up Rose!” Behind the cameras, she was just as hotheaded.
Bea had a notorious hatred for chewing gum (and birds) and would flip out if she ever saw someone chewing it on set, going so far as to try and get them fired! On the set of Empty Nest, she stormed off when one of the stars refused to spit it out. And that wasn’t her only quirk.
Bea hated wearing shoes so much that she included a stipulation in her contract that let her walk around set barefoot — so long as she didn’t get injured! Eventually, her eccentric personality put her in conflict with one of her castmates.
Betty! The feud between Bea and Betty became infamous in the years after The Golden Girls went off the air. As Bea’s son put it, “it’s fun to hate your neighbors… We all need to have somebody that we can let get under our skin.”
And Bea certainly let Betty get under her skin. When Betty won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1986, Bea was apparently so furious that she called her a… well let’s just say it wasn’t a pleasant word. The two also clashed in their styles of acting.
“[Betty] was from the Mary Tyler Moore school where everything is a very subtle character moment,” wrote Jim Colucci in his book about the show. “The jokes are more gentle.” Bea’s style was another story completely.
A veteran of Broadway, Bea’s acting was more exaggerated. Directors even had a special seat for her at the breakfast table so they could always have a shot on her dramatic facial expressions!
Bea’s dedication to her craft also set her apart from her co-stars. While she would spend the time in between takes working on her part, Betty would chat with the audience and make jokes.
“She was not that fond of me,” remembered Betty. “She found me a pain in the neck sometimes. It was my positive attitude — and that made Bea mad sometimes.” Still, others saw the feud differently.
According to Bea’s son, it wasn’t that she was unkind, just more introverted. “My mother had close relationships with a few close friends,” her son recalled. “She wasn’t a loner. But she really liked sitting around and chilling.”
Photo Credit: Wayne Williams
In the end, her son didn’t think people had the right impression of the two. Sure they had their differences, but the two still genuinely liked one another. Bea wouldn’t even go to lunch with Rue unless Betty was invited!
Once the show hit six seasons, Bea felt the quality was beginning to fade and decided to leave. The producers begged her to stay for one final season and she obliged, sticking with the show through its season 7 finale.
Regardless of their feud, Bea and Betty will always be remembered as Dorothy and Rose, two friends who sometimes butt heads, but always came together at the end and made up over a slice (or two) of cheesecake. Meanwhile, another show about the friendship between four women saw some behind-the-scenes scuffles, too.
Sarah Jessica Parker insisted there was nothing but love between her and Sex in the City co-star Kim Cattrall. However, after Cattrall declined to do Sex and the City 3, the former Carrie-actress changed her tune.
In 2018, with SATC 3 officially dead, Parker admitted Cattrell “could have been nicer” and that they were “never friends.” Months later, after Cattrall’s brother passed away, she said she didn’t want Parker’s sympathy. Luckily, these two actresses can take solace in the fact that they aren’t the only on-screen friends to feud in reality.
Sex and the City / HBO
Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio weren’t besties either. On the screen, 22-year-old DiCaprio and 16-year-old Danes played the titular star-crossed lovers in Romeo + Juliet. But backstage, the two shared a complex relationship.
While Danes admitted a few decades later to having a crush on older-man DiCaprio during filming, she griped about his immaturity on set while he chastised her for her haughtiness.
After Chevy Chase abruptly quit Saturday Night Live in ’76, Bill Murray filled his role. When Chase guest-hosted an episode two years later, they confronted each other backstage…
An angry cast called out Chase for quitting, and Murray called him a “medium talent.” Chase and Murray then physically fought each other and had to be separated. “It was a real Hollywood fight,” Murray said in 2012.
Bill Murray must be tough to work with! On the set of Charlie’s Angels, he allegedly told Lucy Liu she couldn’t act, so the 5’3″ actress punched him until her cohorts pulled her away…
Murray told it differently: “I asked, ‘Lucy, how can you want to say these lines? These are so crazy.’ She got furious with me…but the reality is that she hated these lines.” Regardless, the late Bernie Mac replaced Murray in the sequel.
Sources on the set of The Tourist noted that what should’ve been an acting dream team was actually a nightmare because of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp’s friction. “Their chemistry was supposed to fly off the charts,” one source said, “but…they’re not getting along…”
The source continued, Jolie “was disappointed that he didn’t get in better shape for the role and that he didn’t want to cut his hair. Johnny retreats to his own trailer until he’s called out again. He thinks she’s really full of herself.”
Bette Davis grew irritated with the way papers fawned over “less-talented” Joan Crawford. Meanwhile, Davis grew jealous when Crawford had an affair with her crush, Clark Gable.
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane
The feud peaked when the two starred in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane and Davis earned a best actress nomination. So legendary was this celebrity feud that FX recreated it with a TV show, Feud: Bette and Joan.
Feud: Bette and Joan
In 2013, Terrence Howard alleged that “the person that I helped become Iron Man [Robert Downey Jr.] when it was time to re-up for the second [film], took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out.” Yikes! Downey had no response.
Executives replaced Howard with Don Cheadle in the second Iron Man movie, and Downey Jr. eventually earned a $50 million payday for his work on the franchise.
Iron Man 2
According to director Nick Cassavetes, Ryan Gosling and Rachael McAdams detested each other while filming The Notebook. He recalled a day Gosling even refused to work with his co-star…
Gosling said, “Would you take her out of here and bring in another actress to read off camera with me? I can’t do it with her. I’m just not getting anything from this.” Unbelievably, the two eventually fell in love!
After the release of The Fast and the Furious 8, Dwayne Johnson criticized his male co-stars, writing some don’t behave like “true professionals.” Tyrese took offense.
Tyrese wrote on Instagram, “Congratulations to [Johnson] for making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU.” The feud only intensified when studios granted Johnson his own spin-off film.
Fury Road actress Zoe Kravitz said that Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron “didn’t get along” on set, but, she added, “we were also in the desert for so long. I think everyone was tired and confused, and homesick.”
Mad Max: Fury Road
Still, at the end of filming, Hardy gave Theron a note that read: “You are an absolute nightmare, BUT you are also…awesome.” So at least the actors earned each other’s respect!
Mad Max: Fury Road