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Jada Pinkett Smith talks alcohol on ‘Red Table Talk’

Jada Pinkett Smith talks alcohol on 'Red Table Talk'
Jada Pinkett Smith hosts a new episode of her show

Jada Pinkett Smith hosts a new episode of her show Red Table Talk. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Jada Pinkett Smith doesn’t really drink now, but she was once a “weekend party girl,” who really let loose when she was off the clock. At least usually.

There was one time, when she was making the 1996 version of The Nutty Professor, alongside Eddie Murphy, after indulging in her usual cocktail of ecstasy, weed and alcohol that it affected her.

“I went to work high, and it was a bad batch of ecstasy, and I passed out,” she said Wednesday in a new episode of her Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk. “And I told everybody that … I must have had old medication in a vitamin bottle.”

Pinkett Smith and one of her co-hosts, her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, laughed at the absurdity of the excuse. “But I tell you what I did though,” Pinkett Smith added. “Got my ass together and got on that set. That was the last time.”

Jada Pinkett and Eddie Murphy star in the 1996 remake of

Jada Pinkett and Eddie Murphy star in the 1996 remake of The Nutty Professor. (Photo: Universal Pictures/courtesy of Everett Collection)

The incident came up as the women, along with their third co-host, Pinkett Smith’s daughter Willow Smith, were discussing the growing number of women who have a problem with alcohol. Dr. Jessica Mellinger, a liver disease specialist at the University of Michigan, appeared on the episode to caution that increasing numbers of women under 45 have faced hospitalizations for alcohol-related liver disease, as women are drinking more since the beginning of the pandemic.

Pinkett Smith said that, in her case, she told herself that the alcohol — and what accompanied it — was harmless.

“I was like, this is not cocaine. This is not heroin. I wasn’t doing things that I thought was addictive, but I would do those three together. That was my cocktail,” she explained. “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, alcohol and weed at the same time, I’m gonna get there faster and I can keep the high going,’ because then I can just keep drinking. Because I know ecstasy’s gonna last me about three, four, five hours. The weed, you know, that’s just going to keep me just smooth, and then the alcohol’s gonna keep it going. I can just keep taking drink, drink, drink.”

Banfield-Norris, who’s openly discussed her past addiction to heroin, said she hadn’t heard this before, and she reminded the actress that “addiction runs deep in our family.”

Pinkett Smith also recalled “throwing all up over” the home of Emmy-winning actress, producer and director Debbie Allen, who directed her in late ’80s/early ’90s TV show A Different World.

She added that people tried to warn her but she “had to reach my rock bottom.”

The Girls Trip star said she later realized that she couldn’t do alcohol by itself either.

“Literally, I got it quick,” she said. “Once I was going for that third bottle of wine, I said, ‘You’ve got a problem,’ and it was cold turkey that day.”

Still, Pinkett Smith explained, she’s had a glass of wine “here and there,” but she has to stay away from some liquors, especially vodka.

“I’ll never forget, I was in New Orleans with Will. They had these lavender vodka drinks. Whoo!” Pinkett Smith said. “I’m like, I haven’t had vodka in years. I could try it. Let me tell you. I had that lavender drink. I had one. I had a second one, and I was craving for a third one. I haven’t stopped thinking about that drink till this day. But that’s when I realized, I was like, ‘Jada, you can’t play no games.'”

She said it takes tremendous self-discipline to avoid vodka spritzers when she sees vodka in the refrigerator.

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