Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Jada Pinkett Smith says Oscars slap saved marriage to Will Smith

Pinkett Smith says she calls Oscars moment the ‘holy slap’ because of the ‘positive things’ that came after

Ellie Muir
Saturday 09 December 2023 19:38 GMT
Jada Pinkett-Smith reveals what attracted her to husband Will Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith has claimed that her marriage to Will Smith was “saved” by the moment her husband slapped comedian Chris Rock around the face at the Oscars.

In a new interview, Pinkett Smith revealed that the moment put a reset on their relationship.

“I nearly didn’t even attend the Oscars that year, but I’m glad I did,” Jada said. “I call it the ‘holy slap’ now because so many positive things came after it.”

During the 94th Academy Awards on 27 March 2022, Will Smith strode onto the stage and struck Rock in the face.

Rock had been announcing the nominees for Best Documentary Feature when he began a short monologue. It was then that the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, comparing her to Demi Moore in the 1997 film, GI Jane.

“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it, all right?” Rock said. While many audience members laughed, Pinkett Smith appeared unamused.

It was soon clear that the incident was not a bit, however, as Smith yelled the infamous words: “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth,” and slapped Rock around the face.

The controversial moment resulted in Smith being banned from Academy events for 10 years and saw the Oscars put in place new crisis measures for this year’s ceremony.

Mr and Mrs Smith: Will and Jada photographed in February 2022 (Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

However, Jada has now said that the moment brought her and Will closer together.

“That moment of the s*** hitting the fan is when you see where you really are,” she toldYou magazine “After all those years trying to figure out if I would leave Will’s side, it took that slap for me to see I will never leave him. Who knows where our relationship would be if that hadn’t happened?”

The interview comes after the Set it Off actor surprised fans in October when she revealed that she and King Richard star Will had been separated for six years at the time of the 2022 Academy Awards.

Despite living separately since 2016, the pair, who have been married since 1997, have continued to support each other in public and have spoken of their mutual ongoing appreciation. But despite several admissions about being separated, Jada has since said that they will be staying together “forever”

Will married Jada in 1997 after divorcing actor Sheree Zampino two years earlier. They first met after the latter’s failed auditioned for a role as Smith’s character’s girlfriend on the 1990s series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Rumours that the couple have an open relationship began circulating after Pinkett Smith told The Huffington Post in 2013: “Will is his own man. I’m here as his partner, but he is his own man.”

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith (AFP via Getty Images)

She elaborated upon her quotes while speaking to Howard Stern in 2015. “At the end of the day, I’m not here to be anybody’s watcher,” she said. “I trust that Will is a man of integrity. So, he’s got all the freedom in the world.”

However, after rumours about the couple’s relationship continued, Pinkett Smith wrote on her Facebook page: “Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship... this means we have a GROWN one.”

In 2020, singer August Alsina claimed Smith had given “his blessing” for him to have a relationship with Pinkett Smith, who later clarified she had an “entanglement” with Alsina while she and her husband were “separated amicably”.

Smith and Pinkett Smith have two children together: Jaden Smith – who was born in 1998 – and daughter, Willow, who was born in 2000.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in