Jada Pinkett Smith has admitted to an affair with a young singer, revealing that her marriage to Will Smith was "basically" broken up during the brief dalliance.

The 48-year-old cleared the air on a confessional episode of her "Red Table Talk" web series, saying she developed a friendship with August Alsina four years ago while her marriage was going through a "difficult time".

She was introduced to Alsina, 23 at the time, by her son Jaden and said that the young man was "really sick" at the time.

"And it all started with him just needing some help, me wanting to help his health, his mental state," Pinkett Smith said.

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"The outpouring for him from our family was initially about his health," she added.

"We found all those different resources to help pull him through and from there you and I were going through a very difficult time," Pinkett Smith said to her husband.

 August Alsina and Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2017 BET Awards. Photo / Getty Images
August Alsina and Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2017 BET Awards. Photo / Getty Images

Smith replied: "I was done with you," and his wife said they decided to separate for a "period of time".

"And then what did you do, Jada?" Smith asked.

"As time went on, I got into a different type of entanglement with August," Pinkett Smith explained.

She also dealt with Alsina's claims Will Smith permitted the affair.

Alsina, 27, earlier insisted he hadn't "done anything wrong" as her husband was more than aware of the situation.

Alsina claimed Will, 51, had allowed him to date Jada because their marriage - which began in 1997 - was no longer about "romanticism" and was instead a "life partnership".

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He said: "People can have whatever ideas that they like, but what I'm not okay with is my character being in question ... I'm not a troublemaker. I don't like drama. Drama actually makes me nauseous."

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been open about their marriage. Photo / Getty Images
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been open about their marriage. Photo / Getty Images

Pinkett Smith clarified her position on the issue, saying: "The only person that can give permission in that circumstance is myself, but what August was probably trying to communicate because I could see how he could see it as permission because we were separated amicably, and I think he wanted to make it clear he's not a homewrecker because he's not."

Pressed by her husband on what she meant by "entanglement", Pinkett Smith admitted "it was a relationship, absolutely".

"I was in a lot of pain, and I was very broken. In the process of that relationship I definitely realised that you can't find happiness outside yourself."

-Additional reporting, BANG! Showbiz