Will Smith's friend blames star's Oscars slap on 'traumatic memory from past'

Smith is said to have been "taken back to his childhood" after Chris Rock's joke

Published Last updated

Will Smith’s friend has claimed the star’s traumatic childhood was responsible for his violent outburst at the Oscars on Sunday.

Smith took to the stage at the 94th Academy Awards and slapped comedian Chris Rock across the face in front of a star-studded audience after he made a joke about his wife’s medical condition, alopecia.

Referring to his wife’s, Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2,” prompting the actress to roll her eyes.

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air star, 53, has been condemned by the Academy as it launched a formal review into his altercation with Rock during the ceremony.

Smith’s friends put the emotional reaction down to childhood trauma where he witnessed his mum face domestic abuse at the hands of his father Willard Carroll Smith.

Will Smith hits Chris Rock on stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Will Smith hits Chris Rock on stage during the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

A source close to Mark Manson, who co-wrote Smith's 2021 memoir called Will, said: “Will knows he’s battling to save his career, his reputation and even his Oscar.

“He’s horrified by the turn of events and is filled with a deep sense of shame.

“He is happy to have some more therapy for his unresolved childhood issues and will do what he can to make good on his momentary lapse in judgment."

Will Smith attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party holding his Oscar he won for Best Actor
Will Smith attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party holding his Oscar he won for Best Actor

They told The Sun: “Essentially, though, Will was deeply triggered by Chris’s demeaning comments about his wife’s alopecia. He was taken straight back to childhood, seeing his mum getting abused by his dad.

“This time he didn’t take it sitting down — and retaliated as, unfortunately, 50million people across the globe all saw.”

Smith said in a statement that Rock’s joke about his wife’s medical condition had caused him to react “emotionally”, but “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

He concluded his apology by saying: “I am a work in progress.”

Later, as he collected the award for best actor for his performance in King Richard, Smith apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, joking that he “looks like the crazy father”.

His wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, has now broken her silence and reacted to the altercation.

The actress, 50, shared a quote on Instagram on Sunday night. It said: “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.”

Jim Carrey has said the the actor should have been arrested and the audience at the Oscars was “spineless” for giving Mr Smith a standing ovation for his best actor win just minutes after the assault.

Chat show host Graham Norton has described the behaviour as unacceptable, saying “heckling is acceptable, punching people isn’t”.