Jada Pinkett Smith has been doing the press rounds in support of her new memoir, Worthy. Speaking to the TODAY Show, she confessed she and Will Smith have been separated since 2016. She also claimed Tupac Shakur once proposed to her while he was behind bars at Rikers Island. Now, Pinkett says the iconic West Coast MC was secretly fighting alopecia, the same autoimmune condition she has that causes unpredictable hair loss.
“I don’t think Tupac ever talked about the alopecia he suffered from,” she told PEOPLE. “After he was in Northern California with the police officers that beat him up, he started losing his hair. And his alopecia patterns were far more extreme than mine.” She added “societal pressures at the time” kept him from opening up about it publicly, but she’s confident he’d talk about it today if he were still alive.
“I don’t think ‘Pac ever talked about his alopecia, but he also looked really good with a bald head,” she said. “But that was during a time and during an era that you wouldn’t—he just wouldn’t talk about it.”
Pinkett claims Shakur started experiencing symptoms of the condition in 1991 around the time he was arrested jaywalking by the Oakland Police Department in California. (Shakur later filed a lawsuit against the police department related to the incident, which was ultimately settled.)
Pinkett’s alopecia was at the center of Chris Rock’s G.I. Jane joke about the actress during the 2022 Academy Awards. She evidently didn’t find it funny, and Smith wound up marching onstage and smacking Rock across the face.
She hopes that conversations surrounding the condition will further raise awareness about the condition, saying, “I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity and we’ll continue to have the opportunity to talk about how alopecia affects me. And I’m just hoping that it’ll give people the freedom to talk about how and just not have shame around it and not to have such a stigma. And there’s a lot of shame around alopecia.”
As far as her marriage to Smith, she added, “We’re still figuring it out. We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”