American actor and rapper Will Smith has opened up about the “horrific night” of his infamous slap against Chris Rock at the Oscars — an incident that dented his image as the calm fresh Prince.
Smith, 54, told Trevor Noah there were “many nuances and complexities” behind his actions, but also said: “I just lost it.”
“I understand how shocking that was for people,” Smith told host Trevor Noah on the “Daily Show” on Monday night, his first late-night appearance on TV since the Oscars in March.
“There’s many nuances and complexities to it,” Smith said, “but at the end of the day, I just — I lost it.”
“I was going through something that night,” he admitted, though he did not specify what it was. “Not that that justifies my behaviour at all.”
Smith has kept relatively low profile in the months since he mounted the stage during the 94th Academy Awards and smacked Rock after the comedian passed a joke about actress Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife, that hinged on her shaved head.
Smith’s crude behaviour became the focal point of the ceremony, but that night was also a highlight of his career, as the actor took home his first Oscar — best actor — for playing Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in “King Richard.”
The actor publicly apologised for his actions in the days following, and since then. Rock has touched on the incident in his comedy shows but has said he will fully address it when he is ready.
The Academy called Smith’s behaviour “unacceptable and harmful” and banned him from attending any of its events — including the Academy Awards — for the next 10 years.
In Monday’s 20-minute “Daily Show” interview, Smith addressed the controversy over his actions at the Oscars.
The interview got emotional at times, with Smith shedding tears as he talked about his 9-year-old nephew, who waited up to watch the ceremony that night.
“That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time,” he said during the interview.
“It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother. All of that just bubbled up in that moment,” Smith added. The actor has written in his memoir about his father’s violence and alcoholism.
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