After a day of false speculation resulting in millions of page views for web sites around country, Will and Jada Smith issued a statement Tuesday saying their marriage is not in trouble and they are not separating.
Here is the statement:
"Although we are reluctant to respond to these kinds of press reports, the rumors circulating about our relationship are completely false. We are still together, and our marriage is intact."
A spokesperson for the Baltimore School for the Arts graduate Jada Pinkett-Smith also spiked reports that the actress was involved with Marc Anthony, a costar on TNT's "Hawthorne."
"All the rumors regarding Marc Anthony and Jada are false," a spokesperson for Pinkett-Smith said.
And, for good measure, a spokesperson for Anthony said: "We unequivocally deny this. Enough is enough. There are families involved, children involved, friendships involved. This is NOT true."
This kind of knockdown of a tabloid report is rare. The rumors were published by In Touch, which has not yet explained itself. It hung the whole story on one anonymous "insider."
I hope Will and Jada Smith turn the heat up on In Touch in coming days and force this publication to show what it based this report on. It would be nice to see the tabloid process exposed for what it is.
But that's all it takes to trash out a family these days in the media, isn't it -- one unnamed source who might or might not exist. And this is a family that has served as a role model of commitment and stability for a lot of folks.
Let's be honest, though, it isn't only outfits like In Touch that bear the blame. Almost everyone published the report of separation without any kind of corroboration.
That's the accepted norm. Once it is out there, even in a place like In Touch, it is fair game. Just cite the publication and wash your hands of responsibility -- no matter how sketchy the source of such celebrity gossip might be. It is the tabloidization of mainstream media. Thank you, TMZ, and reputations be damned.
What do you think of such media? I won't call it journalism, but many do. It's a touchy issue that we don't much like to discuss in public. But that's one of the things we try to do at this blog: Discuss media issues that sometimes are not discussed elsewhere.
So, please weigh in on this.
I'll be honest, I am angry about it. I interviewed Jada Pinkett-Smith a few months back, and while I do not know her well, I think she and Smith are owed the courtesy of reporters calling them or their publicists before printing such stuff -- and not printing it at all if they cannot otherwise confirm it.
Just because you are publishing online doesn't mean you can make it up. Or does it in the new world of anything-goes media?
Is this the kind of media you want? Maybe it is. Maybe you like being dazed and confused and addled by misinformation designed to amuse and titillate.
Here's a link to an Architectural Digest look inside the family's home. The picture above is from that publication.