Will Smith‘s mother, Caroline Bright, is proud of her son’s best actor win at the 2022 Oscars Sunday (March 27) for his portrayal of Richard Williams in King Richard. But much like the rest of the world, she was shocked when her son unexpectedly took the stage to slap presenter Chris Rock for joking about wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss.
“I know how he works, how hard he works … I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. When I heard the name, I was just, ‘Yes!'” Bright said in an interview with Philadelphia’s ABC affiliate 6abc. On the morning of the Academy Awards, the matriarch recalled sending a text to a family group chat to cultivate good vibes. “I started out saying, ‘Good morning, we’ve got to say good luck to Uncle Will,” she said.
When discussing Smith slapping Rock as the comedian was presenting the best documentary award, Bright called the experience a “first” for her. “[Will] is a very even, people person. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime … I’ve never seen him do that,” she said.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” the actor wrote. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. 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.”
He continued, “I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress.”
Smith previously apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his acceptance speech, but did not apologize to the comedian at the time. Rock has declined to press charges. The Academy announced Monday (March 28), that it has opened a formal investigation into the incident.
Watch Bright’s interview with 6abc below: