Jada Pinkett Smith is reacting to rumors that she was to blame for her husband, Will Smith, slapping Chris Rock onstage during the 2022 Academy Awards.
The actress, who revealed this week that she’s actually been separated from Smith, 55, for seven years, opened up about the headline-making scandal in an interview with People.
She said it was “ridiculous in how far” it went, with some believing the incident between Smith and the comedian, 58, occurred because of her.
“But I also understood at the same time. Considering the false narrative that I had cheated on Will or I was like some adulteress, Will had never done that before,” Jada, 52, told the outlet.
“And I think that when we just look at human nature… when you look at the breadcrumbs, people need something to blame,” she continued. “And so people not knowing what was happening behind the scenes, I surely wasn’t surprised that I got blamed. But I understood that that’s just the human nature of it all.”
The “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” actor, who would go on to win the Best Actor Oscar for his work in “King Richard,” was ultimately banned from the Academy for 10 years. He apologized to Rock, later noted Jada “had nothing to do” with the scandal, and Rock addressed the debacle during his Netflix special, “Selective Outrage,” one year later.
“You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Suge Smith. Everybody knows. Everybody f—ing knows. I got smacked like a year ago… and people are like, ‘Did it hurt?’ It still hurts. I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears,” he said in March. “I’m not a victim baby. You will never see me on Oprah or Gayle [King] crying. You will never see it… It’s never going to happen. F–k that s–t, I took that s–t like [Manny] Pacquiao.”
“Will Smith is significantly bigger than me. We are not the same size. Will Smith does movies with his shirt off. You’ve never seen me do a movie with my shirt off,” he continued. “Will Smith played Muhammad Ali in a movie. You think I auditioned for that part? I played Pookie in ‘New Jack City.’ I played a piece of corn in ‘Pootie Tang.’”
Jada, for her part, thought the slap was actually a “skit” at first.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way that Will hit him,’” she told People. “It wasn’t until Will started to walk back to his chair that I even realized it wasn’t a skit.” Once the pair were alone after the broadcast, she asked her husband: “Are you okay?”
The “Girls Trip” star made her latest remarks while promoting her new book, “Worthy,” which hits bookshelves on Oct. 17. Ahead of its debut, she revealed the status of her and Smith’s rocky marriage.
“Why it fractured, that’s a lot of things,” she said to Today show’s Hoda Kotb for a special, which airs Sunday.
“And 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,” she explained. “I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever. And I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”
Amid years-long rumors about the state of their marriage, she claimed that Rock even asked her out years ago when he thought the two were officially divorcing.