Will Smith’s Oscars slap even caught his own mother off guard.
Speaking with Philadelphia’s 6abc Action News, Carolyn Smith revealed that she and her family gathered around the TV at their home in Philadelphia to watch the Academy Awards on Sunday.
But while they waited for the Best Actor category to be announced, they witnessed Smith take the stage and slap Chris Rock after the comedian made a G.I. Jane 2 joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from hair loss caused by alopecia.
Just like millions of viewers who tuned in, Carolyn was surprised by what transpired.
“He is a very even, people person,” the 85-year-old said of her son. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime… I’ve never seen him do that.”
But despite the on-stage drama, she was thrilled to see her son go on to win his first Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard. “I know how he works, how hard he works,” she said. “I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. When I heard the name, I was just, ‘Yes!’”
Added Carolyn, “I am proud of him being him.”
Smith referenced his mom during his emotional acceptance speech. “To my mother, she didn’t wanna come out, she has a knitting crew, she’s in Philly watching,” he joked.
Smith’s sister Ellen Smith was also proud of her older brother, who she’s watched excel under pressure. “I’ve had conversations with him, and it like really kind of broke my heart listening to the things he’s said he had to go through to get to where he is,” she said.
Will has since apologized to Rock. “I was out of line and I was wrong,” he said in a statement, while Jada Pinkett Smith also shared a message about healing.