Will Smith Oscars slap: Did tensions over open marriage, childhood trauma feed into violent attack?


From their kooky views about parenting to their very unusual take on marital fidelity, Will and Jada Smith have long been Hollywood’s ultimate Odd Couple.

For those brave enough to prick their preposterous bubble, and most do so only gently given they’re such a formidable power pair, they are a comedian’s dream.

So they’d been a target before for Oscars presenter Chris Rock when, just minutes before being named Best Actor, Smith also picked up the Most Outrageous Oscars Behaviour in History award by smacking Rock after he joked about his wife’s hair.

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The audience’s decision to give him a rousing ovation for his acting gong even as Rock was still rubbing his face speaks volumes for Hollywood’s craven hypocrisy.

Camera IconWill Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hours after his violent outburst. Credit: Kevin Mazur/VF22/WireImage for Vanity Fair

Only belatedly last night did the Oscars bosses condemn Smith’s behaviour, saying they will “explore further action and consequences in according with our bylaws, standards of conduct and California law”.

Will Smith, star of Independence Day and Men In Black, once told the Mail: “I don’t think people understand my background. I’m happy all the time and people see me smiling. I don’t think people realise the path I’ve taken to get where I am and the beast that lurks when provoked.”

It’s fair to assume that everybody knows about the beast now. It’s actually not the first time that Smith, 53, has been accused of harbouring a nasty temper behind the smiley Mr Nice Guy facade.

Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Camera IconThe slap that shocked the world. Credit: Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

In 1989, the actor and rapper spent a night in jail over his involvement in an incident that, according to Philadelphia police, almost left his record producer, William Hendricks, blind.

Days after winning a Grammy Award, he was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and criminal conspiracy.

Charges were later dropped.

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