Jada Pinkett Smith Thought She’d be Dead by 21

Monday, October 8, 2012

JADA Pinkett Smith is surprised she’s still alive — because she thought she’d be dead by the time she hit 21.

The actress — who’s married to Will Smith — admits turning 40 in September 2011 was “surreal” because she grew up in such a tough neighborhood, she never expected to live so long.

“I grew up in a drug-infested neighborhood where you walk out each day and you just hope that you make it. I came from a war zone,” she said.

“There was a possibility that I wouldn’t make it past 21 — that was the reality. When I turned 40 it was a surreal moment because I had never imagined reaching 40. I looked at my husband and said, ‘Oh my God, I’m 40! What am I going to do now?’ So yes, it does put things in perspective.”

“I’d be terrified if I had to raise my kids in the environment I grew up in. When I look at them, I see them flourishing at such young ages and I wish to God I could have had the luxury to sit back and think, ‘Mum, I want to go out and get my vocal lessons today because I have this new song that I want to write.’

“What I had to think about was, ‘Oh man, I wonder what I’m going to eat tonight because there’s no food here. How am I going to get to school? And is my mum going to be OK today? Will this be one more day she survives her addiction?’ That’s the kind of stuff I had to think about at 11.”