Voice actors (L to R) Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Martin Short, Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer and Jessica Chastain arrive on the red carpet for the screening of the animated film "Madagascar 3: Europe's most wanted", at the 65th Cannes Film Festival May 18, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (FRANCE - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Voice actors (L to R) Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Martin Short, Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer and Jessica Chastain arrive on the red carpet for the screening of the animated film "Madagascar 3: Europe's most wanted", at the 65th Cannes Film Festival May 18, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (FRANCE - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

Jada shocked she made it to 40

By Time of article published Oct 8, 2012

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London - Jada Pinkett Smith thought she'd be dead by the age of 21.

The 'Madagascar 3' star - who raises Trey, 19, Jaden, 14, and 11-year-old Willow with husband Will Smith - admits turning 40 in September 2011 was "surreal" because she grew up in such a tough neighbourhood, she never expected to live so long.

She said: "I grew up in a drug-infested neighbourhood where you walk out each day and you just hope that you make it. I came from a war zone.

"There was a possibility that I wouldn't make it past 21 - that was the reality. When I turned 40 it was a surreal moment because I had never imagined reaching 40. I looked at my husband and said, 'Oh my God, I'm 40! What am I going to do now?' So yes, it does put things in perspective."

Jada - who was raised by her drug-addicted mother Adrienne and grandmother Marion - is thankful her own children don't have the upbringing she had and she has no idea how she would cope if she were in her mother's situation.

She told You magazine:"I'd be terrified if I had to raise my kids in the environment I grew up in. When I look at them, I see them flourishing at such young ages and I wish to God I could have had the luxury to sit back and think, 'Mum, I want to go out and get my vocal lessons today because I have this new song that I want to write.'

"What I had to think about was, 'Oh man, I wonder what I'm going to eat tonight because there's no food here. How am I going to get to school? And is my mum going to be OK today? Will this be one more day she survives her addiction?' That's the kind of stuff I had to think about at 11." - Bang Showbiz

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