Will Smith’s infamous Oscar slap from the 94th Academy Awards, which received worldwide attention and overshadowed the rest of the ceremony, is still making headlines after almost a whole year. This time around, it’s Jada Pinkett Smith who has made a rather shocking comment in a recent interview with the Daily Mail’s YOU Magazine.
The 52-year-old actress revealed that Will’s decision to slap comedian Chris Rock during the 2022 Academy Awards has earned her a new title: The “holy slap.”
“I nearly didn’t even attend the Oscars that year, but I’m glad I did,” while getting candid about an incident that shook the entertainment industry as the slap was in response to a joke Rock made about Smith’s wife’s shaved head, which she had been shaving since 2021 due to alopecia areata. Jada told the outlet by further adding, “I call it the ‘holy slap’ now because so many positive things came after it.”
In a candid revelation, Jada opened up about how the metaphorical “Oscar slap” moment solidified her commitment to their marriage. “That moment of the s— hitting the fan is when you see where you really are,” said Jada, who previously revealed that she and Will had been separated for seven years. “After all those years trying to figure out if I would leave Will’s side, it took that slap for me to see I will never leave him.”
She added, “Who knows where our relationship would be if that hadn’t happened?”
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This incident has been widely criticized as live television broadcasts in the United States mostly muted the incident due to federal censorship laws. As a result, these comments made by Jada came as a surprise to their fans as, at the time, the Fresh Prince alum, 55, had faced major backlash through social media and issued an apology to Rock and the AMPAS. Eventually, Smith resigned his AMPAS membership, as The Academy banned him from attending its events for a decade as punishment.
Speaking with PEOPLE during the release of her memoir, Worthy, Jada shared that she initially thought the incident was a skit, quote, “I thought, ‘This is a skit.'” Like many people watching, she didn’t believe it was real at first. “I was like, ‘There’s no way that Will hit him,'” Jada recollects about the event. “It wasn’t until Will started to walk back to his chair that I even realized it wasn’t a skit.” The first words she uttered to Will once they were alone after the show were, “Are you okay?”
“I’m going to be by his side,” she added, “but also allow him to have to figure this out for himself.”
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Most recently, The Emancipation star also opened up about his ‘adversities of the last couple of years’ at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia. As per a clip shared online by Deadline, Will said, “Fame is a unique monster, I’ve had to be careful.” He added, “You can’t get excited when everybody is saying good things about you, because the more you take when people are saying good things about you, the more hurt you’re gonna be when people are saying bad things about you.”
Smith, The Academy Award winner (Best Actor) for his performance in King Richard, added that he has learned from past “adversities” to “be clear about who I am and what I am attempting to do in the world.” He added, “And I can’t need others to applaud for me to stay focused on my mission. I have always wanted to put good into the world.” Also, stating, “I have always wanted to make people smile. I have always been devoted to the process of joy and inspiration.”
Smith admitted during the discussion that he’s “deeply human” with a “virtue” that he’s “not yet perfected.” The actor emphasized, “I am in the process of perfecting my virtue. I would say the greatest thing that has happened is I have been deeply humbled and deeply inspired to perfect my light.” He explained, “And that’s what this next phase of my life is going to be — perfecting and shining my light as brightly as I can, on as many people as I can.”
Will Smith on fickle nature of fame: "Fame is a unique monster and I've had to be really careful. You can't get excited when everybody is saying good things about you because the more you take when people are saying good things, the more hurt you're going to be when people are… pic.twitter.com/fHCfpIR7xd
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) December 2, 2023