Will Smith’s Oscars slap made Jada realize she’ll ‘never leave’ him – even though she cried on wedding day

Jada Pinkett Smith once said she “never” wanted to marry Will Smith — and even cried at their “horrible” wedding. Now, she says the actor slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars actually saved their marriage.

In a new interview with the Daily Mail’s YOU Magazine, the 52-year-old actress called the altercation between Smith and Rock the “holy slap.”

“I nearly didn’t even attend the Oscars that year, but I’m glad I did,” Jada told the outlet. “I call it the ‘holy slap’ now because so many positive things came after it.”

“That moment of the s— hitting the fan is when you see where you really are,” she continued. “After all those years trying to figure out if I would leave Will’s side, it took that slap for me to see I will never leave him.”

She added: “Who knows where our relationship would be if that hadn’t happened?”

Jada Pinkett Smith during her Hoda Kotb interview. Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the 27th annual Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles on March 13, 2022. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

In October, Pinkett Smith revealed while promoting her memoir, Worthy, that she and the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” alum, 55, were actually separated when he slapped Rock (ultimately getting banned from Academy Award events for the next 10 years.) They’ve been living separate lives for seven years, but appeared to grow closer during her book tour.

“I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying,” Pinkett Smith told “Today” show’s Hoda Kotb, 59. “I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be.”

“I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever,” she continued. “And I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

Will Smith yelling at Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. AMPAS POOL via Reuters

On Oscars night, Smith screamed from his seat at Rock to keep his “wife’s name” out of his mouth after he made a “G.I. Joe” joke bout Pinkett Smith. (The actress suffers from alopecia.)

“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 told Kotb. “I’m really worried for Will because I don’t know what’s going on.” 

“When I was sitting at the Oscars, it clicked in, I was like, ‘Oh snap, you hit Chris.’ I was like, ‘I’m riding with you. I didn’t come into this place as your wife, but I’m leaving here as your wife because we got a storm we’re gonna have to deal with together. I am NOT going to leave your side.’ I said, ‘I’m not gonna be able to get away from this dude. I really love him.’”

Last month, the “Girls Trip” star solidified their status while appearing on the “Drew Barrymore Show.”

Hoda Kotb and Jada Pinkett Smith in October 2023. NBC

She concluded: “We’re staying together forever.”

The couple married on New Year’s Eve in 1997. Years later, the actress revealed why she didn’t want to get married at the time.

“I was under so much pressure, you know, being a young actress, being young, and I was just, like, pregnant and I just didn’t know what to do,” she said in a 2018 episode of her “Red Table Talk” Facebook series. “I never wanted to be married.”

“We only got married because Gammy was crying,” Smith chimed in at the time.

“It was almost as if Gammy was like, ‘You have to get married, so let’s talk about the wedding,’” said Pinkett Smith, prompting her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, to reply, “I remember feeling very strongly and wanting you guys to be married.”

“I do remember [wanting you and Will to get married] but I don’t remember your rejection of the idea of marriage,” Banfield-Norris added. “I remember the rejection of the idea of a wedding but not of a marriage.”

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