Will Smith gets emotional discussing why he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars

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Will gets emotional and reflects on slapping ChrisJim Spellman - Getty Images

Actor Will Smith has reflected on the 'slap seen around the world' – the incident at the Oscars ceremony earlier this year when he approached the stage and slapped host Chris Rock, after he made a joke about his wife, Jade Pinkett Smith, and her alopecia. Following the shocking moment, the Academy issued a statement saying Will has been banned from all Academy events for the next decade.

Shortly after, Will posted a lengthy apology on his Instagram and told followers that the moment was not demonstrative of who he wants to be as a man, something he's now reinforced in his first sit-down TV interview since that night back in March.

Will took part in the interview as part of promotion for his new Apple TV+ series, Emancipation, that comes out next month. When speaking on The Daily Show, host (and friend) Trevor Noah said to the actor: "It felt like this was Will Smith for the first time going, 'OK, is this how you want me to respond or not?'."

To this, Will replied, "It was a lot of things, it was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother. All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That's not who I want to be…"

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Trevor, who is a friend of Will's, then shared that he didn't think that moment in time was reflective of who Will is as a person overall: "That's not who you are. I think everybody can make a mistake."

It was at this point that Will became visibly emotional and reached for a tissue, saying he was 'crying for real', and added that the Oscars was "a horrific night, as you can imagine".

"There's many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just – I lost it, you know. I guess what I would say is that you just never know what somebody's going through. I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behaviour at all."

Will continued, "I understand how shocking that was for people… I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time."

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