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The 2022 Oscars took an unprecedented turn when Will Smith confronted Chris Rock on stage by slapping him. He issued the now-famous warning, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.” The outburst rocked the ceremony and is now shedding light on a previously undisclosed aspect of the actor’s marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith.
In an exclusive interview with “TODAY” on Friday (Oct. 13), Jada Pinkett revealed her astonishment given the conditions of their relationship at the time. “First of all, I’m really shocked because, mind you, I’m not there. We haven’t called each other husband and wife in a long time,” she said. “I’m like, ‘What is going on right now? Keep my wife’s name out of your mouth?’ I’m really worried for Will because I don’t know what’s going on.”
She elaborated on the topic while promoting her upcoming memoir, “Worthy,” scheduled for release on Oct. 17.
Will’s impassioned defense of his wife was a response to a joke by Rock regarding Jada Pinkett’s bald head, which was due to alopecia. “I did that eye roll not so much for me — and I think this is really important — but the fact that there could be a jab at alopecia,” she clarified in her interview with Hoda Kotb.
Subsequent to the incident, Will received the Oscar for Best Actor, only to later resign from the Academy amid backlash. The Academy also issued a 10-year ban against him.
In a separate conversation with People Magazine earlier this week, Jada Pinkett also disclosed that she and Will had been living separate lives for six years by that point. “I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be.”
The couple has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including the actress’ self-described “entanglement” with August Alsina. Despite their separation, they have maintained a united front publicly, appearing jointly at award shows and other events.