It’s been eight months since the slap heard ‘round the world, and Will Smith is ready to step back into the Hollywood spotlight and talk about it. The actor had the support of his family at the premiere of his new film Emancipation on Wednesday, as he walked the red carpet in Los Angeles for the first time since the 2022 Oscars.
Smith’s three children — Trey, 30, Jaden, 24, and Willow, 22 — joined their dad at the screening, alongside Jada Pinkett Smith, 51, who held her husband’s arm and stayed close to him throughout the evening.
Pinkett Smith stunned in a cream Stephane Rolland gown featuring a ruffle train and tulle cape adorned with gems. Willow wore a Stella McCartney top and bedazzled cut-out pants as her brothers and father looked put together in bold suits and jackets.
This is the Smith family’s first public appearance since he left Oscar viewers and attendees shocked in March. The actor, 54, marched onto the stage and struck Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke regarding Pinkett Smith's shaved head. (The Red Table Talk host has been open about her journey with alopecia, and Smith seemingly took offense to Rock’s choice of words.) After he returned to his seat, Smith shouted to Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth.”
Later in the evening, he won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in King Richard — but the moment was overshadowed by his prior act of violence.
Smith disappeared for a bit to process what happened, and recently shared what he’s learned from the experience in a candid interview with Trevor Noah.
“That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time,” he said of the moment, noting that “it was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That's not who I want to be."
He later stated, “The thing that was most painful thing for me is I took my hard and made it hard for other people. I understood the idea when they say hurt people hurt people.”
For her part, Pinkett Smith previously said that she and Will “are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that’s keep figuring out this thing called life together.”
Emancipation, starring Smith and Ben Foster, and directed by Antoine Fuqua, is out in theaters and will be available to stream on Apple TV+ Dec. 9.