The Academy Award-winning actor discussed it in-depth with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” on Monday night.
Smith said it was “a horrific night” when he stormed the stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock after he commented on Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He also said there were “nuances and complexities” tied to the entire incident.
He revealed that, basically, he “just lost it.”
“You just never know what somebody is going through,” he explained. “I was going through something that night. Not that that justifies my behavior at all.”
“That was a rage that had been bottled for a long time,” he continued.
“We just gotta be nice to each other, man,” he reasoned with the lesson he had learned. “It’s hard. I guess the thing that was most painful for me is I took my heart and made it hard for other people. I understood the idea when they say hurt people hurt people.”
The “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” rapper then discussed how his actions were an accumulation of “a lot of things.” He said the incident took him back to that “little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, all of that bubbled up at that moment. That’s not who I want to be.”
In his memoir “Will,” he referred to himself as a “coward” because he felt he didn’t protect his mother from his abusive father. He also expressed that he has “failed every woman” he has interacted with, which includes his grandmother and daughter, Willow.
The “Independence Day” star then told Noah a story about his nephew who stayed up to see his “Uncle Will” on the big night.
“We are sitting in the kitchen, he’s on my lap holding the Oscar, [and he asked] ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?’”
“Why you trying to Oprah me?” Smith said to lighten the tale. “It was a mess. I don’t want to go too far into it to give people more to misunderstand.”
The “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star sat down with Noah to promote his new movie “Emancipation,” which debuts in select theaters on Dec. 1.
He says he hopes his actions will not taint the movie’s success.
Meanwhile, Rock has dropped jokes here and there about the infamous slap. Many expect him to address it fully during his live Netflix special coming in 2023.