Jada Pinkett Smith Reveals Her First Words To Will Smith After Infamous Oscars Slap

A year and a half after Smith accosted Chris Rock on the Oscars stage, Pinkett Smith is sharing her thoughts in greater detail than ever.

Jada Pinkett Smith is getting more candid than ever about the slap heard ’round the world.

The 52-year-old actor, who has alopecia, literally had a front-row seat at the 2022 Academy Awards when host Chris Rock joked about her shaved head ― and when her husband, Will Smith, walked on stage and slapped Rock in the face in front of a live television audience of millions.

Smith later said he was “deeply remorseful” for his actions, and Pinkett Smith expressed a hope that “that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile.” Now, though, she’s offering a much closer look into her thoughts and feelings since that night.

“I thought, ‘This is a skit,’” Pinkett Smith told People in an exclusive interview published Wednesday. “I was like, ‘There’s no way that Will hit him.’ It wasn’t until Will started to walk back to his chair that I even realized it wasn’t a skit.”

Pinkett Smith said her first words to Smith after he sat down were: “Are you okay?”

Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature when he joked about Pinkett Smith starring in a sequel to “G.I. Jane,” a 1997 film in which Demi Moore’s character shaves her head and joins the Navy Seals. Pinkett Smith first publicly spoke about her alopecia in 2018.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ultimately banned Smith from attending the Oscars for 10 years. Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson argued in a statement that “the safety of our performers and guests” is imperative.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith had front-row seats at the 2022 Oscars when host Chris Rock joked about Pinkett Smith's shaved head.
Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith had front-row seats at the 2022 Oscars when host Chris Rock joked about Pinkett Smith's shaved head.
Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

In an unexpected development, Pinkett Smith told Hoda Kotb in an upcoming “Today” interview that she and Smith have been separated since 2016. Pinkett Smith, who is currently promoting her new book “Worthy,” likened it to a “divorce.”

“I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying,” she told Kotb. “I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be. I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce.”

The mother of two also told People she became suicidal after starting to date Smith in 1995, and that she “completely abandoned” her mental health during those early years. Pinkett Smith said she was “intoxicated” by Smith and felt like she was “cured,” because Smith “became the drug.”

Pinkett Smith has espoused the benefits of psychedelics in her mental health journey, and she did so again in her interview with People. Rock, meanwhile, used his Oscars experience as fodder for a Netflix special released earlier this year.

“She hurt him way more than she hurt me,” Rock said in the special, referring to Pinkett Smith and Smith. “Everybody in the world called him a bitch. I tried to call the motherfucker, I tried to call that man and give him my condolences ... Everybody called him a bitch and who’s he hit? Me.”

Pinkett Smith’s “Today” interview airs Friday on NBC. Read the full interview with Pinkett Smith in People.

If you or someone you know needs help, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org for mental health support. Additionally, you can find local mental health and crisis resources at dontcallthepolice.com. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

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