‘Magic Mike’ taught Pinkett Smith to be playful with husband

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Jada Pinkett Smith wasn’t exactly sure what she was getting into when she signed on for “Magic Mike XXL,” but she certainly didn’t expect to come out of a movie about male strippers with some new theories on her own marriage.

“It really taught me how to be more playful with my husband,” she says of Will Smith, her husband of 18 years.

On set, Pinkett Smith says she tried to fall back and not get in the way of the antics of the male-dominated cast. A friend had told her that women don’t know how to share space, that they dominate space. She took it to heart.

“I really felt like this was a space for bro-time,” she said in a recent interview. “I tried to be respectful of that and I really enjoyed watching the men. It was so much fun to see and to realize men really need boy time.”

Co-star Channing Tatum, seated nearby, chimed in to agree. He recounted a chat with a female friend who told him that when women get together with their girlfriends, they want to talk about life. About careers, kids, relationships, everything.

“Guys don’t do that at all. We do the opposite. We do everything but talk about that,” said Tatum. “We create another little world. It’s like a pressure release. … Men are just like monkeys beating on the walls of the cage.”

But, Pinkett Smith said she learned that there can be a balance.

Normally, she said, she’d just default to sitting back and watch her husband play.

“He’s a silly man all day long. He’s the guy who hides behind the door and jumps out. He’s that guy. All day,” she said, laughing. “He’s just a big freaking kid. I always play the role of like, ‘OK, you be the kid. OK, that’s cute.’”

But after “Magic Mike,” Pinkett Smith says she’s “learned to enjoy that playfulness in him much more and participate in it versus, like, tolerate it.”