Will Smith’s Mother Reacts to Oscars Slap: ‘The First Time I’ve Ever Seen Him Go Off’

“I know how he works, how hard he works,” Carolyn Smith added

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Carolyn Smith, Will Smith’s mother, was just as surprised as everyone else when her son approached the stage at the Oscars on Sunday night and slapped Chris Rock.

“He is a very even, people person,” Carolyn Smith told ABC Philadelphia affiliate WPVI in a new interview. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime… I’ve never seen him do that.”

Regardless of the incident, Smith was beaming with pride when her son won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance of patriarch Richard Williams in “King Richard.”

“I am proud of him being him,” Carolyn Smith added. “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!’”

In a statement posted to his Instagram, Smith apologized directly to Rock. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong,” Smith said in part. “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. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world.”

Read his full apology here.

On Monday, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said that it condemns Smith slapping Rock during Sunday night’s Oscars and that it has started a “formal review” of the incident.

“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law,” the Academy said in a statement.