updated 08/09/2012 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 08/10/2012 AT 10:05 AM ET
Jada Pinkett Smith is an experienced hand at dealing with rumors she’s headed for divorce.
“It seems like that happens at least once a year, or at least once every two years,” Pinkett Smith, 40, tells September’s Essence.
“That’s my boo. It’s like he’s another part of me.”
The Madagascar 3 star, who is mom to Jaden, 14, and Willow, 11, knows that living her life in the spotlight comes with consequences. Aside from defending her relationship with Smith, 44, Pinkett Smith is now dealing with how the public perceives her daughter as she steps out into a musical career.
“How people feel about Willow is how people feel about Willow. But what I’m most concerned about is how Willow feels about herself,” she says. “She’s an independent, courageous, genius, talented little girl. I’m happy for her, that she can just be who she is.”
It was Willow who recently made a discovery that changed Pinkett Smith’s life. After Willow shared with the viral Kony 2012 video about child soldiers in Uganda, Pinkett Smith was driven to learn more about how she could help endangered children, specifically victims of sex trafficking.
She’s since urged Congress to fight trafficking, launched a website and met with victims.
“We’re all affected by this,” she says. “And one woman is one woman too many. We have to extend beyond ourselves” to help those who’ve been enslaved.