Jada Pinkett Smith Thought Will Smith Oscars Slap Was a ‘Skit,’ Reveals They Were Separated for Six Years Before That: ‘We’re Still Figuring Out’ Our Marriage

Jada Pinkett Smith is finally ready to talk about the Will Smith Oscars slap, revealing to People magazine that she originally thought it was a skit when Will took to the stage after presenter Chris Rock made a joke about Jada’s bald head. Rock was presenting the Oscar for best documentary feature at the time. It’s the first time Jada has addressed the slap outside of posting an Instagram graphic just after the slap that read: “This is the season for healing. And I’m here for it.”

“I thought, ‘This is a skit,’” Jada said. “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.”

Once the two were alone, Jada said she asked Will: “Are you okay?”

“I’m going to be by his side,” Jada added to People about the slap, “but also allow him to have to figure this out for himself.”

Rock’s joke about Jada’s bald head proved divisive because of her public battle with alopecia. Will reacted by taking to the stage and slapping Rock across the face. He returned to his seat and yelled at Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” Smith, who went on to win the Oscar for best actor that same night, ended up resigning from the Academy amid backlash to the slap. The Academy then banned Smith from its membership and from attending events such as the Oscars for 10 years.

“We’re still figuring it out,” Jada told People about the state of her marriage to Will, revealing they had been quietly separated for six years before the 2022 Oscars where the slap took place. “We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”

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Jada and Will have now been separated for seven years. When asked by “Today” why their marriage crumbled, Jada answered: “I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. 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,” she added. “We will work through whatever. And I just haven’t been able to break that promise… We live separately.”

Will apologized for the slap in various statements and video posts in the year after the 2022 Oscars took place, saying in one post: “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… It’s like, you know, I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe. I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”

Jada’s new memoir, “Worthy,” will be released on Oct. 17.