Jada Pinkett-Smith has admitted that part of her was grateful that Will Smith hit Chris Rock at the Oscars last year.
In her memoir, the actress writes that after the shocking incident a voice inside her said: ‘Thank you, Will, for defending me’.
After Rock had mocked Jada’s alopecia on stage, part of her agreed with women who believed he deserved the slap, thinking to herself: ‘ F****** right! ‘Bout time!’
In ‘Worthy’, which is out today, Jada admits that the slap made her feel closer to Will than she had in years as by then they had been informally separated for more than half a decade.
Jada confesses in the book that her ‘most potent love language has always been the language of protection’.
Jada Pinkett-Smith has admitted that part of her was grateful that Will Smith hit Chris Rock at the Oscars last year. In her memoir, the actress writes that after the shocking incident a voice inside her said: ‘Thank you, Will, for defending me’
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California
She writes ‘You show up for each other, even when doing so comes at a cost’.
Jada’s startling admission in ‘Worthy’ has catapulted one of the most infamous moments in Oscar history, which became known as ‘The Slap’, back into the spotlight.
After Rock joked that he couldn’t wait to see Jada in GI Jane 2, a reference to her bald head, Smith stormed on stage and slapped him.
After sitting down in his seat, Will twice shouted: ‘Keep my wife’s name out your f****** mouth!’
Recounting the incident in ‘Worthy’, Jada writes that the slap was to do with Will’s ‘own personal battles which unfolded on the world stage’.
Yet she writes that it brought them closer than they had been in a long time.
Jada writes: ‘For the first time in six years since our breakup I would stand with him in this storm as his wife, no matter what. I had not felt that way in a long time. I would not abandon him’.
She knew that there were ‘women from every walk of life secretly screaming: ‘F****** right! Bout time!’
Jada writes: ‘A slight whisper of that sentiment spoke to me too and made me feel – thank you, Will, for defending me.
‘But I also knew he was defending more than me and much that I had nothing to do with’.
Elsewhere Jada gives further insight into why The Slap had such an effect on her.
She writes: ‘The most potent love language for me has always been the language of protection. It has always been important for me to feel protected by those I love and to be able to protect them in return. You show up for each other, even when doing so comes at a cost’.
Actress Jada Pinkett and actor Will Smith in Beverly Hills on September 22, 1995
Jada’s startling admission in ‘Worthy’ has catapulted one of the most infamous moments in Oscar history, which became known as ‘The Slap’, back into the spotlight
In ‘Worthy’, Jada describes in dramatic detail the moments after The Slap, which left her ‘frozen’.
She writes: ‘I’m trying to stay composed, while trying to grasp what just happened and urge my brain to catch up. As I watch Will march down the steps from the Dolby Theatre stage to return to his seat next to mine, the air in the room feels completely still and hauntingly quiet’.
Jada says she didn’t know if the slap ‘was a skit or real’.
She writes: ‘When Will drops into his seat and we catch eyes is when I first suspect that what happened was not a ‘bit’. I quickly grab Will’s hand to reassure him – I’m here. And then I look deeper into his eyes, hoping to gauge where he is. He’s sitting in his seat but it feels to me that he’s in another place and time’.
Jada writes that the ‘whole confrontation looked fake’ and she didn’t see the slap actually connect. She thought that Rock had ‘pulled a stunt move and ducked the shot’.
It wasn’t until Will shouted out ‘keep my wife’s name out your fuckin’ mouth twice that Jada begins to ‘perceive the gravity of the situation and that it had not been a skit’.
Jada writes that she had a ‘premonition’ just before the slap as Chris Rock came on stage as he had been known to take ‘swipes’ at her in the past including at the Oscars in 2016 during the Oscars So White scandal which she boycotted because of its lack of diversity.
That year Rock hosted the awards and mocked Jada in his opening monologue, saying she ‘can’t boycott something she wasn’t invited to’. Jada denies the rumor that she asked him to host the 2016 Oscars and says she merely issued a statement at the time saying she ‘can’t think of a better man to do the job’.
Jada writes: ‘Maybe he took (my) statement as a backhanded vote of support but that was not my intention. Maybe I assumed that a hard-hitting comic like Chris Rock wouldn’t take offense to such a comment….In hindsight, maybe I should have called Chris personally, checked on him and wished him luck in a situation that was clearly difficult’.
Will Smith defended his estranged wife Jada at the Oscars in 2022
Jada Pinkett Smith leaves ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ at the Ed Sullivan Theater on October 16, 2023
Jada writes that she had a ‘premonition’ just before the slap as Chris Rock came on stage as he had been known to take ‘swipes’ at her in the past including at the Oscars in 2016 during the Oscars So White scandal which she boycotted because of its lack of diversity
Jada claims that after the 2016 Oscars, Rock ‘reached out via text with a heartfelt apology’. Her team and Will were ‘pretty upset with the comments he’d made’ and told them she would be ‘burying the hatchet’..
She writes: ‘I sent my apology to Chris in return. From there, I believed us to be cool. And six years went by without any contact until once again we were at the Oscars and I immediately felt a train wreck coming’.
Jada notes there were ‘decades of disrespect between Will and Chris starting in the late 1980s’ that came to a head that night.
It ‘began with a big ole misunderstanding’ – she does not say what exactly it was – and it ‘kept festering’.
After the slap, at the next commercial break, Will’s publicist Meredith and Jada’s publicist Karynne came over.
Meredith had just been backstage and said that Rock had left the building and was not going to press charges. Jada asked: ‘Press charges – for what?’
Meredith confirmed that the slap had made contact. Jada told Will: ‘You actually hit Chris?’ Will nodded and said: ‘Yes’.
As they sat there and the ceremony went on, at each commercial break somebody came to check on them including Lupita Nyongo’o who was sitting behind them and leaned over to ask: ‘Are you all right, Jada? I’m so sorry’.
Jada writes she was ‘reeling and numb’ by now and then Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban ‘hurried over’ to check if she was OK, expressing their ‘warm concern’.
Then Tiffany Haddish came over and Queen Latifah to reassure her too, Jada writes.
Will Smith posted an Instagram video of him on a boat over the weekend, as the drama kicked off ahead of Jada’s book release
Trey Smith, Jaden Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Will Smith
In ‘Worthy’, Jada describes how she and Will agreed to divorce without legally splitting in 2016 after two decades together.
Jada writes that her 40th birthday was their ‘breaking point’ and chides Will for his obsession with ‘material and experiential extravagance’ while she wanted him to be more emotionally connected.
Jada writes that ‘divorce was a real option in my mind at times’ but she ‘could never find the heart to meet with one single lawyer’.
Lawyers would have ‘taken advantage of my emotional state, made sure they got a big check and left me in deep regret’, she writes.
Jada says: ‘Will and I had our problems but what we had at the core deserved better than legal warfare.
‘I could never break the promise I’d made all those years ago in Will’s mother’s backyard – that we should never be in a position to need a prenuptial agreement because we would never need a divorce’.
Jada says she had ‘chosen the discomfort of staying in my ailing marriage over destroying our family’. She and Will wanted to ‘lovingly uncouple’ and decided there ‘divorce without divorcing’.
She writes: ‘That is, to split up, on our own terms, without legal interference.
‘So, at the end of 2016, Will and I looked each other in the eyes and decided to separate in every way except legally’.
Jada claims that we ‘didn’t believe we owed the public any specifics’ – the couple continued to act like they were husband and wife in public until 2020, when she came clean.
But Jada does admit it was a ‘slippery slope’.
She writes: ‘The pitfall for me in this plan – and I stepped right into it – was believing I was evolved enough to manage this alternative approach to ending our marriage’.
Jada wrote that her 40th birthday was their ‘breaking point’ and chides Will for his obsession with ‘material and experiential extravagance’ while she wanted him to be more emotionally connected
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith on stage during the Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films “Gemini Man” Budapest concert in 2019
Jada admits that a ‘reckoning’ came later, in the form of what she calls an ‘entanglement’ – an affair.
The same year she and Will separated she had an affair with singer August Alsina who at 31 is 21 years her junior.
Jada likens herself at the time to a ‘ravening animal’ who had ‘lost her primal longings’ and was suffering from an ‘acute starvation of the soul’.
According to Jada, it wasn’t an affair because ‘I associate affairs with cheating’. She adds that between her and Will ‘there were no secrets, so there was no affair’.
In ‘Worthy’, she likens the affair to a ‘roller coaster ride that gives us an illusion of exhilaration’ and denied that Alsina was friends with her son Jaden, which is reported to have introduced them – he would have been 18 at the time.
When she met Alsina ‘he was not shy about expressing how he was suffering from depression, unresolved grief and later, issues with his health’, Jada writes.
According to the book: ‘I wanted to help, and since we had both suffered enormous amounts of loss, we met there. That is how a friendship unfolded that, much later, and very unexpectedly, turned romantic’.
Jada says that ‘when it ran its course’ she hoped to remain friends but ‘in de-entangling there can be bruised feelings’.
She writes: ‘He may have assumed I was going back to my marriage, when that was not the case. In any event, he made the choice to sever communications with me, which I chose to respect’.
Jada writes that this all happened when she could not distinguish ‘between health sustenance and the poisoned honey of false beliefs’.
Jada writes that when she decided to talk about her affair on her Red Table Talk show in 2020, Will ‘without any prompt from me decided to join me at the table’.
But when she called the affair an ‘entanglement’ Will called it a ‘relationship’ as if it had been a secret to him, which ‘wasn’t true’.
Jada said that she should have ‘stopped the conversation’ at this point but instead she let the ‘train go off the track’ and it made it look like she was a cheater.
Jada says that many friends ‘implored me’ not to post the discussion online. One told her: ‘You’re giving the message that it’s all you and that’s not true. You’re going to take a big hit for this’.
Jada says she posted it because ‘I just wanted it over’. After it was live she felt ‘genuine hurt and betrayal’.
She writes: ‘Would I have chosen otherwise if I had it all to do again? Yes and no’.
Jada says that she would not have done the talk so ‘ill-prepared’ but she wanted it out there.