Willow Smith opens up about being polyamorous

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Willow SmithImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Willow says she can't see herself wanting to "go past two partners"

Willow Smith has revealed she is polyamorous.

The 20-year-old confirmed her relationship status on American talk show Red Table Talk which she hosts alongside her mum Jada Pinkett-Smith and grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Norrison.

Polyamory is where those involved agree it is fine for everyone to be open to or have more than one romantic partner.

Willow said she couldn't see herself wanting to "go past two partners".

"With polyamory, I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that's what everyone around you says is the right thing to do," she said.

"Also, doing research into polyamory," she added, "the main [reason] …why divorces happen is infidelity."

BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat spoke to 22-year-old Leanne, who's bisexual and polyamorous and watched the interview.

"It was such a great panel, and I agreed with everything she said especially as it's from a diverse perspective."

Leanne runs Poly Philia which calls itself the largest polyamorous education page in the UK.

She knew from the age of 17 that being in a conventional monogamous relationship wasn't for her.

"Me and my partner were in a long-distance relationship and I just didn't want to hold him back.

"It wasn't that I didn't trust him but once I framed it as how it would benefit him not just me, it was fine."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
A pro-polyamory group during the Toronto LGBTQ Pride Parade

'We can't be everything to our partners'

In the TV interview, Willow's grandma says it feels like it's 'really all just about sex' which Willow denies, saying: "In my friend group, I'm the only polyamorous person, and I have the least sex out of all of my friends."

Leanne can relate to this: "People have different needs when it comes to how much sex you want - at the end of the day we can't be everything to our partners.

"A lot of people assume that being poly is selfish and we're greedy and we want to have our cake and eat it.

"Actually, it's the most selfless thing you can do. I love my partner and I want other people to love them too."

Everyone in a poly group consents but Leanne says it's up to each individual to set boundaries.

"Not every single detail has to be shared, such as when you're going on a date, if you had sex.

"It really is about customising your connections."

Image source, Getty Images

Does it always work?

"Once when my partner had a serious girlfriend," says Leanne, "both me and her didn't have the best relationship.

"She was a metamour - that means we weren't romantically involved.

"There was jealousy on both sides, I had been with him longer and on my side she was very conventionally attractive so I had a lot of processing to do."

She says in the end having a positive mindset about the situation makes it a better relationship.

"I think, if she's similar to me, great, it means my partner is attracted to me and if we're really different that's also good because we are bringing different things to the table."

It's not just a 'white person' thing

Willow's mum told her daughter she was happy with whatever choices she wants to make, but Leanne's experience was different.

"My parents are Chinese and my mum said I was cold hearted, that I'd never experienced true love. [She said] I was no better than a prostitute, and I was insecure and letting my partner take advantage of me.

"My mum saw it as betraying my race and felt these were things 'that white people do'.

"That's why what Willow did is so amazing," adds Leanne, "because it's not just a white person thing!"

She says she shared Willow's video with her mum.

"I think at the time mum's comments came from a place of ignorance and she just didn't want me to get hurt."

At the moment Leanne is in a relationship but due to the pandemic isn't dating as much.

Would she ever consider monogamy in the future?

"I do think quite a lot of people choose monogamy because it's socially accepted.

"It comes out of a desire for your partner to not love anyone else but you.

"I'd be ok with having one partner but I'd always want the option to explore things."

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