Jada Pinkett Smith says reason for Will Smith's Chris Rock slap at Oscars is 'Will's story to tell'

"I am going to be by his side, always," the Matrix Reloaded actress said of her former husband.

Jada Pinkett Smith is remaining tight-lipped about the slap heard 'round the world.

In an interview with CBS Mornings, the actress discussed her new memoir Worthy, and once again described her reaction to the infamous confrontation between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.

"That's a really deep subject. I think you've gotta be really careful about the 'why,'" Pinkett Smith said. "That's Will's story to tell. Not mine. So what I will say is that being there with him that night, what I did know, was that I might not have walked in there as his wife, but I left that night as his wife. And as I sit here today, I am going to be by his side, always," she continued, alluding to the recent revelation that she and Smith have been separated since 2016.

The highly scrutinized altercation came after Rock jokingly compared Pinkett Smith's shaved head to Demi Moore's in G.I. Jane while presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature. The actress previously said that she assumed the incident was merely a comedy bit for the telecast. "I thought, 'This is a skit,'" Pinkett Smith told PEOPLE last month. "I was like, 'There's no way that Will hit him.' It wasn't until Will started to walk back to his chair that I even realized it wasn't a skit."

Kevin Mazur/WireImage Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
Kevin Mazur/WireImage Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

Pinkett Smith and Rock costarred in three Madagascar films between 2005 and 2012. She previously revealed to PEOPLE that the comedian had once asked her out on a date amid rumors that she and Smith were divorcing. "He called me and basically he was like, 'I'd love to take you out,'" she recalled. "I was like, 'What do you mean?' He was like, 'Well, aren't you and Will getting a divorce?' I was like, 'No. Chris, those are just rumors.'" She said an "appalled" Rock "profusely apologized and that was that."

Last year, Smith explained that he "lost it" in the heat of the moment during the Oscars. "You just don't know what's going on with people," the actor said on The Daily Show. "And I was going through something that night." Smith also reportedly tried to "make amends" with Rock after the incident.

Earlier in her CBS Mornings interview, Pinkett Smith also addressed the couple's quiet separation, and their public discussion of relational issues on Red Table Talk in 2020. "Will decided he wanted to come to the table," she said. "And at that time, we weren't together, which I didn't talk about at that time. We didn't want to reveal that."

"That was Will's choice," Pinkett Smith continued. "I think at that particular point in time, we were both going through a process of dissolving this idea of what a relationship should look like and really just be honest about the difficulties that come with being in a long term relationship, right? And at that time, I decided to take the hit… as being an adulterous wife, which was not true."

Pinkett Smith also said that her ultimate takeaway from her tumultuous relationship with Smith is that people should reject "this fantasy that relationships should be perfect, this fantasy that people should be perfect." She continued, "Life is nuanced, life is complicated, and what's most important is that when you have somebody with you that's willing to learn how to love, and you two are willing to learn how to love each other, ride it out."

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