Will Smith’s mom was surprised by Oscars slap: ‘The first time I’ve ever seen him go off’

Will Smith and his mother, Caroline Bright
Will Smith and his mother Caroline attend the 2020 Salute to Greatness Awards Gala in 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

For Will Smith’s mother, Sunday night was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for several reasons.

Amid her joy over her son’s win for best actor, Caroline Smith admitted she was taken aback when her second-oldest child slapped presenter Chris Rock over a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald hairstyle.

“He is a very even people person,” she said of her son in an exclusive interview with Philadelphia’s 6abc news station. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime... I’ve never seen him do that.”


Not long after the smack, Will Smith acknowledged his mother as he tearfully accepted an Oscar for his work in “King Richard,” explaining she didn’t want to come to L.A. for his big night.

Will Smith was a man about town Sunday, celebrating his Oscar win with his wife and kids at an after-party, acting as if he hadn’t slapped Chris Rock.

March 28, 2022

“To my mother, a lot of this moment is really complicated for me, but I — she didn’t want to come out,” he said. “She’s had her knitting friends. She has a knitting crew that she’s [with] in Philly watching with.”

Smith’s sisters were also watching with their mom, according to 6abc.

Younger sister Ellen Smith told the station that people “really don’t know” what it takes to get to where her brother is, professionally. She said over the years she’s been heartbroken by conversations with him where she heard about “the things he’s said he had to go through to get to where he is.”

Will Smith apologized to Rock via social media Monday night.

The day after a night of historic wins, everyone’s talking about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at Sunday’s Oscars. Here’s how the drama unfolded.

March 28, 2022

“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith said in a post on his Instagram account. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”

Any repercussions for the actor from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences remain to be seen. A formal investigation was launched Monday, and the film academy condemned Smith’s behavior.


Everything we know about the infamous moment at the 2022 Oscars, from the history leading up to the onstage shocker to today’s latest developments.

April 8, 2022