Will Smith calls Oscars ‘horrific night’ in first interview

Will Smith tearfully recalls the ‘night of horror’ he slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.

In his first late-night TV interview since the headline-grabbing incident in March, the 54-year-old “King Richard” star admitted his “anger” had been suppressed for a long time.

“It was a horrible night, as you can imagine. You know, it had a lot of nuance and complexity,” he told Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” on Monday.

“But at the end of the day, I just, I lost it, you know? Guess what I’d say, you never know what someone’s going through. Now in the audience, you’re sitting next to strangers, Someone’s mother died last week, someone’s child got sick, someone just lost their job, someone just found out their spouse was cheating,” Smith continued.

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“You just don’t know what’s going on with people. I was going through something that night. But that doesn’t justify my actions at all.”

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.
Will Smith sat down for his first major TV interview since he slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

When Rock, 57, joked about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” alum shared his anger “bubbling.” (The actress suffers from hair loss.)

“It was a lot of things. It was that little boy who was watching his dad hit his mom. All of those things came up in that moment,” Smith said.

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“I’m gone. It was a pent-up anger for a long time. … That’s not who I wanted to be.

The Academy Award winner also broke down when he remembered his 9-year-old nephew asking about it.

“He was the cutest little boy. … We came home and it was like, he stayed up late to see his uncle Will and we sat in my kitchen and he sat on my lap and he took Looking at the Oscar, he was like, ‘Why, Uncle Will, did you hit that guy?'” he shared.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith walk the red carpet.
Smith said he was “outraged” after Rock made fun of Jada Pinkett Smith.
Getty Images

When Noah, 38, asked Smith what he learned from the controversial moment, the “Bad Boys” star replied, “Hurt people hurt people.”

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“You ask me what I’ve learned, which is we gotta be nice to each other, man,” he said.

“I think the most painful thing for me is that I work hard and make it hard for other people.”

Chris Rock and Will Smith laugh together at the awards show.
Smith later apologized to Locke via social media.
Movie Magic

Smith failed to apologize to Rock at the ceremony, but pleaded guilty in a social media video in July, saying he, too, had to forgive himself “because I’m human.”

“Believe me, no one hates the fact that I’m human more than I do,” he added.

After a slap in the face of the world, Smith resigned from the Academy. The group also banned the “Liberation” star from its activities for 10 years.

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