Will Smith is breaking his silence months after he slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.
In a new video posted to YouTube today, the King Richard actor expressed an emotional apology to the comedian, whom he slapped onstage during the live televised awards ceremony after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith‘s shaved head, the result of her alopecia diagnosis.
Smith responded to questions from fans in the video. Answering why he didn’t immediately apologize to Rock during his acceptance speech for Best Actor, Smith said, “I was fogged out by that point. It’s all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out. So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Related article: Jada Pinkett Smith Breaks Her Silence on That Oscars Slap
Smith also extended an apology to Rock’s family members. “I saw an interview that Chris’s mother did, and that was one of the things about that moment I just didn’t realize. I wasn’t thinking about how many people got hurt in that moment,” he said. “So I want to apologize to Chris’s mother, I want to apologize to Chris’s family, specifically Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable.”
Reflecting on what transpired after the slap, he continued, “I spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment. I’m not going to try to unpack all of that right now, but I can say to all of you, there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
Smith also made sure to clarify that Pinkett Smith did not ask him to act after Rock made a joke at her expense. “I made a choice on my own from my own experiences, from my history with Chris,” he said. “Jada had nothing to do with it.”
Back in March, the day after the incident, the actor released a statement apologizing for his behavior. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong,” he said at the time. “I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
Meanwhile, Rock alluded to the incident during a recent stand-up set in New York City, where he joked that “anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” a source told Entertainment Tonight.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US