Jaden Smith has a track record of raising eyebrows whenever he opens his mouth. « For some he is a woke thought leader, enlightened beyond his years, » The Independent said in 2018. « For others, he is a privileged, precocious hot-take machine. » Whatever you might think of him, Jaden knows how to start a conversation, and that’s exactly what he did when he unexpectedly revealed a romantic relationship with fellow rapper Tyler, the Creator.
« I just wanna say Tyler, the Creator is the best friend in the world and I love him so f****** much, » Jaden told the crowd between songs at Camp Flog Gnaw, a California music festival founded by Tyler. « And I wanna tell you guys something — I wanna tell you, Tyler doesn’t wanna say — but Tyler’s my motherf****** boyfriend! And he’s been my motherf****** boyfriend my whole f****** life! Tyler, the Creator is my f****** boyfriend! It’s true! »
The audience seemed to approve, but Tyler’s reaction from the front row was inconclusive because his expression was hidden beneath a mask. Are they really an item? To truly understand the dynamics between these two, you have to go all the way back to the start of their sometimes rocky relationship, so buckle up. This is what you need to know.
Jaden insists it’s all true
Those in attendance at the aforementioned festival reacted positively to Jaden Smith’s big reveal, whooping and screaming as the young actor and musician appeared to open up about his sexuality. Tyler’s reaction was a little harder to gauge — the de facto leader of the now defunct rap collective Odd Future appeared to turn to the crowd and wag his finger, as if to say that Jaden was just messing around.
Shortly after the unexpected announcement, the son of Hollywood power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith reaffirmed his proclamation. « I recently said that Tyler, the Creator is my boyfriend and that’s true, so, just so you know, » Jaden told the Apple Music Beats 1 Radio Show (via USA Today). Jaden’s followers know that he likes to use Twitter to express his thoughts in a roundabout (and sometimes plain ridiculous) fashion, but he couldn’t have been any clearer when he used the platform to back up his claims. « Yup @tylerthecreator I told everyone you can’t deny it now, » the 20-year-old said. He later deleted the tweet, but not before Tyler (who is about seven years older than Smith) had a chance to respond. « Hahaha you a crazy n**** man, » the rapper and producer said, choosing to neither confirm nor deny that their relationship was an intimate one.
Jaden declared his love for Tyler in 2015
Neither Jaden Smith nor Tyler, the Creator were as well-known in March 2015, when Jaden sent the apparent apple of his eye a rather interesting birthday tweet. « I think I’m in love with you, » the After Earth star told Tyler. « I don’t know I’m still figuring it out but in the meantime happy birthday. »
Some blogs and a handful of gossip mags picked up on the post and many of them decided to take it at face value, announcing that Jaden had come out as gay with sensational headlines. « It happened! » Media Take Out reported. « Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith comes out of the closet, he admitted on Twitter that he’s gay. » Smith never actually said that he was gay, however. « There’s no truth to any of it, » a rep for the family said (via Philadelphia magazine).
Of course, Jaden isn’t the first Smith to fend off rumors that he’s gay. His parents have been accused of hiding their true sexuality on several occasions, with some believing that their marriage is one of convenience. These rumors surfaced again in 2016, when actress Alexis Arquette alleged that Will’s first marriage ended because his wife walked in on him with a man.
Tyler used to hate Jaden with a passion
If you go back to a time when Tyler, the Creator was still creating a name for himself in the rap game and read through some of his tweets, it’s hard to believe that a relationship of any kind managed to blossom with Jaden Smith. In fact, the divisive rapper straight up hated Smith at one point and wasn’t afraid to tell the world all about it. Tyler talked serious smack about Smith on several occasions in late 2010 and 2011, as Tyler’s debut album, Goblin, attracted critical acclaim.
The onslaught began in October 2010, when Tyler simply tweeted « f*** Jaden Smith. » That was retweeted 5,500 times. A few months later, Tyler told his followers that he really wanted to « sock Jaden Smith in his f****** mouth, » but as far as we know, he never did. Tyler didn’t come out and say that he actually hated Smith until February the following year. « F***, I think I hate Jaden Smith, » he said just a few days before Valentine’s Day. We’ve heard of guys teasing someone just because they like them, but this was way beyond teasing.
Tyler asked Jaden to send him ‘d*** pics’
Fast forward to 2018, and the hatred Tyler, the Creator evidently felt toward Jaden Smith is no longer a thing. In fact, the two got pretty close over the years that followed that short but intense beef — close enough for Tyler to supposedly request photographs of Smith’s anatomy, seemingly as a joke. During his candid 2018 interview with Fantastic Man, Tyler took a call from Smith, who joked that he had booked an entire cinema so that they could watch Ready Player One without being bothered.
« I didn’t like that movie, » Tyler admitted. Seventy-two percent of movie critics disagreed with the Los Angeles rapper, but his opinion on Steven Spielberg’s big screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s novel was far from the most controversial thing about Tyler’s conversation with Smith. It was the way that he signed off the phone call that really grabbed the interviewer’s attention — he asked Smith to send some « d*** pics » to him. « I always tell people to send d*** pics when I hang up, because it’s so awkward, » Tyler explained, passing his explicit request off as a joke. « Like, ‘What the f*** did you say?!' »
Has Tyler already tried to come out as gay?
Descriptions of graphic violence against women and the regular use of homophobic slurs led to Tyler, the Creator amassing a large number of PC critics early on, and that came to a head in 2015, when he was denied entry to the United Kingdom. « Coming to the UK is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values, » the Home Office said in a statement (via The Guardian).
Tyler claimed he was « treated like a terrorist » by U.K. border patrol. The songs in question (mainly from his 2009 debut mixtape Bastard) were written from the perspective of an alter ego, but that didn’t seem to matter. « I’m bummed out because it’s like, dude, I’m not homophobic, » Tyler said. « I’ve said this since the beginning. » One of the biggest complaints often made about Tyler is his heavy use of the F-slur (which, incidentally, he called Jaden Smith in a December 2012 tweet), but has he really been using it ironically?
A few months prior to his U.K. ban, Tyler got into an argument about that word, with one Twitter user asking who gave him the right to use it. « My boyfriend did, » he replied. The two-time Grammy nominee later deleted that tweet, but the one he replaced it with followed the same tact. « I tried to come out the damn closet like four days ago and no one cared haha, » he wrote.
Questions over Tyler, the Creator’s sexual preferences were raised once again after he dropped his critically acclaimed 2017 album, Flower Boy. On his debut album Goblin he used the F-slur a whopping 213 times, yet Flower Boy was different. It was still full of vitriol, but at its core was an unmissable message — this was a young man struggling with his own sexuality. With lyrics like « Next line will have ’em like, ‘Whoa’, I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004, » and « Truth is, since a youth kid, thought it was a phase », it seemed pretty clear that he was testing the waters with fans.
« Generally, every celebrity that makes any indication of a non-heterosexual orientation is given a showering of attention in the news cycle, » Jake Boyer wrote in a 2018 opinion piece published by Highsnobiety. « A prominent figure in the hip-hop world coming clean with their alternative sexual preferences already faces a disproportionate level of judgment from within their community compared to, say, a pop star, but Tyler was met with just as much (if not more) blowback from the other side of the aisle. »
Basically, Tyler’s previous output had been so homophobic that not everyone believed the coming-out angle was genuine, but the fact that the openly gay Frank Ocean collaborated with him on the track « Where This Flower Blooms » certainly helped his alter-ego argument. Incidentally, Jaden Smith also featured on the album, joining Tyler on the track « Pothole. »
Tyler sends nudes to his friends
While Tyler, the Creator simply hinted at being homosexual on Flower Boy, when he’s hanging with his friends, he reportedly jokes about being gay regularly. « For the past two days I’ve wondered, is Tyler actually gay? » Rolling Stone writer Ernest Baker said after spending « two insane days » with the rapper on tour. « I cannot emphasize how much gay humor plays a role in the atmosphere around him. Never more than a few minutes pass without him saying he’s going to suck someone’s d*** or him accusing someone of wanting to suck d***. »
When the music journalist asked why there was so much « gay humor » going on, Tyler responded: « Because I’m gay as f***. » Was he being serious? « No, but I am in love with ’96 Leonardo DiCaprio, » the mercurial rapper and producer told Baker. « I one hundred percent would go gay for ’96 Leo. »
’96 DiCaprio is undoubtedly a fine vintage, but why bring that up? Was it all bravado? What did his friends make of it all? When Baker pried, Tyler revealed that he once sent nude photos to friends in group chat. Nobody responded. « My friends are so used to me being gay, » he said. « They don’t even care. »
Tyler doesn’t like Jaden’s music
In 2018, Jaden Smith sat down with Big Boy TV to discuss everything from his Hollywood upbringing to his musical inspirations. He said the people who have had the biggest influence on him in terms of his rhymes were Kid Cudi, A$AP Rocky and — rather predictably — Tyler, the Creator. Smith reiterated how important Tyler was to him as an artist, even if those feelings weren’t mutual. As it turns out, Tyler was not a fan of Jaden’s debut album SYRE, and he told him this to his face.
« Tyler said that he didn’t really like my last album, » Smith revealed (via DJ Booth). « I love that he said that. I was just more like, ‘Yo, tell me why! Help me. Then get in the studio and be a mentor for me!' » The pair appear together on Flower Boy, so it now seems obvious that it was the production and/or lyrical content that Tyler had issues with, rather than Smith himself.
Smith’s music has been lauded by some of his peers (rap legend Fat Joe referred to him as a « pioneer in hip-hop » during an interview with Power 106 FM), but by and large, the son of the Fresh Prince hasn’t exactly changed the game. In fact, Tyler wasn’t alone when he started hating on SYRE, whose lyrics have been described as nonsensical and downright baffling.
Tyler isn’t Jaden’s daddy
We’ve established that Tyler, the Creator used to want to sock Jaden Smith right in the kisser, but how does he feel about his old man? Will Smith is one of, if not the most family friendly rapper to ever spit a verse. It stands to reason that someone known for being the polar opposite of that would hate him, but Tyler is actually a big fan of Big Willie. In 2016, Jaden tweeted a photo with Tyler, captioning it « Me and my dad bonding. » In his reply, Tyler made it clear that he didn’t want to be compared to his friend’s famous father.
« I am not Will Smith, » Tyler wrote. What he meant by that was a little murky, but a look back at some of his earlier tweets reveals a love and respect for the Men in Black star. « When I met Will Smith I legit almost s*** everywhere, » Tyler tweeted in 2013. « Like doo doo was coming out of my a** dawg. He’s the f****** man. Got damm. »
Curiously, Tyler and Will were once confused by a clueless fan who took a selfie with the Fresh Prince believing he was actually the Odd Future founder. Tyler retweeted the photo of Will and the hapless girl after she tagged him in her post. « I told him I love his Odd Future stuff and he said ‘Huh’ haha, » the confused fan said. « Love you Tyler it was pleasure meeting you. » Awkward.
Jaden has been spotted with someone else
Just weeks after calling Tyler, the Creator his beau, Jaden Smith was spotted in Paris enjoying what Metro described as a « romantic date » with a mystery woman. Whoever she is, she certainly isn’t the first young lady Smith has reportedly been involved with — he was apparently Kylie Jenner’s date to the Kimye wedding reception and has also been romantically linked with Odessa Adlon, Amandla Stenberg, Stella Hudgens, Madison Pettis and Sofia Richie. He got super close to Sarah Snyder (pictured above) in 2016, but is this proof that Smith is heterosexual? Not necessarily.
The Smith scion has made a name for himself in the fashion world with his gender-fluid style and clearly isn’t into labels. He took part in what Out described as a « beautiful [but] frustrating » gay storyline in Baz Luhrmann’s ill-fated Netflix show The Get Down, playing a character partly inspired by him. « Dizzee stands out from everyone else and that’s how I am, » the actor said. He reaffirmed that he’ll continue to wear dresses in public as recently as May 2018, and just a few weeks after that he appeared to be flirting with Tyler on twitter. That being said, he could be trolling us all.
In 2015 Smith told GQ that his bonkers T magazine interview was actually a social experiment, so he may just be taking advantage of the rumors surrounding Tyler’s sexuality to cause a stir. The true nature of their relationship remains unclear, but we’re pretty sure we haven’t heard the last of it.