The Grown Ups actor, 57, was “surprised” by Smith’s reaction to his joke about Jada Pinkett Smith during the Sunday, March 27, telecast, but “it didn’t ruin his evening,” a source exclusively tells Us Weekly.
The former Oscars host was seen celebrating with friends at a post-awards show party at his pal Guy Oseary‘s house, the source tells Us. “If he was shaken up, he didn’t let on,” the insider explains.
During the broadcast, Rock said he couldn’t wait to see Pinkett Smith in the G.I. Jane sequel due to her shaved head. The Gotham alum, who has been vocal about having alopecia, rolled her eyes before her husband charged the presenter and slapped him.
“Will Smith just smacked the s–t out of me,” the Saturday Night Live alum said in response, causing some fans to think the altercation was staged.
However, after Smith returned to his seat, it became clear that he was very upset by Rock taking a jab at Pinkett Smith’s appearance. “Keep my wife’s name out your f—king mouth,” the Wild, Wild West actor yelled back at the Everybody Hates Chris alum.
Smith later tried to clear the air during his best actor acceptance speech for his performance in King Richard.
“I want to apologize to The Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. … Thank you for this moment,” the Philadelphia native said. “And thank you on behalf of Richard and the entire Williams family. Thank you. I hope the academy invites me back.” Smith did not directly address Rock at the time.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Monday, March 28, that they were starting a “formal review around the incident” even though Rock declined to file a police report about the physical encounter.
A different source told Us on Monday that the Academy were debating during the show on whether Smith “should be removed” immediately for his actions. “In the moment, the reason to allow Will to stay was because Chris had gone backstage and there wasn’t a risk of them bumping into each other again,” the insider explained.
The Aladdin actor, for his part, was later seen having a good time with his wife at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party after forgoing the Oscars press room post-show. The couple’s kids, Jaden Smith and Willow Smith, along with Will’s eldest son, Trey Smith, were all in attendance.
“It was strange how happy Will and his family were acting at the afterparty. They arrived all smiles and sat in a section on their own,” a third eyewitness told Us of the party. “The DJ played a medley of Will’s songs and he danced with Jada. Several people were coming up to congratulate him. From watching [them from afar], you never would have thought there was any drama all night.”
With reporting by Travis Cronin