'He couldn’t believe he did it': Tyler Perry says Will Smith was DEVASTATED after Chris Rock slap
Tyler Perry recounted Will Smith's state of mind shortly after the infamous slapping incident at the 94th Academy Awards in an interview with Gayle King. Smith was ‘devastated’ by the incident, revealed Tyler Perry. Perry chatted with King in New York on Monday, June 13, as part of the Directors Series event for the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, according to People, During the discussion, King mentioned Perry, along with actors Denzel Washington and Bradley Cooper, approached Smith following the argument during a commercial break, presuming he was comforting his friend.
Despite Perry's opinion that Smith's actions were wrong, he claims that Smith expressed regret almost immediately. Perry remarked, “And I’ll tell you, when we walked over to him, he was devastated. He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t believe he did it. I’m looking at this man in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night.’ And to get all the way to this moment, winning an Oscar, that was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately, and to have something like that happen …”
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Smith, of course, went on to win the Best Actor Oscar for King Richard not long after, mounting the stage and accepting the prize. He was greeted with a standing ovation. Perry feels Smith, who has publicly apologized to Rock and has been barred from attending the Oscars for the next ten years, is ‘very much in reflection of trying to figure out what happened.’ He did, however, point to a passage in Smith's 2021 biography Will, in which the star remembered seeing his father smack his mother on the side of the head so severely that she fainted when he was nine years old. Smith claimed that he had felt like a coward for failing her and not sticking up for his father at that time for a long time. To avenge his mother, he considered murdering his father.
"I know that feeling of being a man and thinking about the little boy. If that trauma is not dealt with right away as you get older, it will show up in the most inappropriate, most horrible time. I know Will. I know him well,” Perry explained. Meanwhile, Washington, who assisted Perry in de-escalating the situation, previously stated about the high-profile event, "There's a saying, 'When the devil ignores you, then you know you're doing something wrong.' You know, the devil goes, 'Oh, no, leave him alone, he's my favorite. Don't bother him.' Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it's because you're trying to do something right. And for whatever reason, the devil got a hold of that circumstance that night."