Will Smith flipped-turned the Oscars upside down, and his mom was just as shocked as everyone else.
"He is a very even, people person," Carolyn Smith said. "That's the first time I've ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime … I've never seen him do that."
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Smith slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke referencing his wife Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head; she has previously been open about her struggle with alopecia.
Smith's outburst overshadowed the fact that he won the first Oscar of his career for King Richard after three nominations. In fact, it overshadowed the majority of the ceremony. Carolyn Smith told 6ABC she's been "waiting and waiting and waiting" for her son to win an Academy Award, and "when I heard the name, I was just, 'Yes!'"
In his acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the Academy, though not to Rock, and he said that "to do what we do, you've got to be able to take abuse, you've got to be able to have people talk crazy about you" and "smile and pretend like that's okay."
Speaking to 6ABC, Will Smith's sister Ellen Smith said that it "really kind of broke my heart listening to the things he's said he had to go through to get to where he is," but Carolyn Smith said that amid the controversy, "I am proud of him being him."
On Monday, Will Smith issued an apology for his behavior at the Oscars, this time to Rock directly.
"I was out of line and I was wrong," Smith said. "I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.