Willow Smith has announced that she is polyamorous.
Speaking on Red Table Talk, a chat show hosted by her mother and grandmother, the 20-year-old musician said she would be open to having more than one partner, and said the approach helps people respect each other’s needs in relationships.
She said: “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 (to be) stepping into monogamy because that’s what everyone around you says is the right thing to do. So I was like, how can I structure the way that I approach relationships with that in mind?
She continued: “Let’s say you haven’t always been the person wanting sex all the time, but your partner is,” she added. “Are you going to be the person to say, ‘Just because I don’t have these needs, you can’t have them either?’”
But what actually is polyamory? And what does it involve? We’ve broken it down into four key points...
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But what is polyamory?
Polyamory is the concept of having more than one sexual or romantic relationship at the same time - with the informed consent of all partners involved.
The term comes from the Greek word “poly” - meaning many, and the Latin “amor” - love.
What does it involve?
The term acts as an umbrella for any non-monogamous relationship.
It can involve someone having multiple partners who are not connected; being in a group of people who date (like a throuple); or having an open hierarchical relationship in which there is a primary couple who are closest to each other, but are allowed to form emotional or sexual bonds with other people.
That the label is not just about sex is key. Dedeker Winston, author of The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory, told Glamour: “There are a lot of people in the polyamorous community who identify as (asexual), while Willow Smith said she has less sex than her friends.
Does it have its own symbol and day of recognition?
A polyamory pride flag was designed by Jim Evans in 1995. It has three horizontal stripes - blue, red and black - and a pi symbol in the centre.
The pi sign was chosen because it has infinite decimal places, a play on polyamorous people having “infinite” partners, while the colours chosen have various meanings including love and passion and openness among all partners.
In Canada, November 23 is National Polyamory Day, marking a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that confirmed the legality of polyamorous relationships.
Meanwhile, in the UK PolyDay is a one-day convention that has been held since 2006 to celebrate polyamory.
Which other celebrities are polyamorous?
Willow Smith is not the only celebrity to open up about this sexual identity. Big Little Lies actress Shailene Woodley said she has been in an open relationship, as has Megan Fox and YouTubers Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau.
There have been rumours that Willow Smith’s parents, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are also in an open relationship, with the latter once posting on social media: “Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship...this means we have a GROWN one.”
And this is not something limited to celebrity bubbles.
Nearly a third of American millennials surveyed in a 2020 YouGov poll said that their ideal relationship was non-monogamous to some degree.