Will Smith appeared to wipe away tears as he spoke with Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Tyler Perry in the aftermath of his shocking slap of presenter Chris Rock that left the audience and millions of viewers stunned at Sunday night’s Academy Awards.
Photos showed Cooper, 47, with his hand on the “King Richard” star’s shoulder and hugging him during the commercial break following one of the most shocking moments in Oscars history.
Perry, 52, and Washington, 67, also conferred with Smith, 53, who later referenced a comment by Washington in his acceptance speech after winning the Oscar for best actor.
“Denzel said to me a few minutes ago, ‘At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you,'” Smith said during his six-minute speech.
Viewers commented on Smith’s peers, particularly Washington, stepping in to calm him down.
“Shout out to Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry for standing up like OGs and covering Will Smith in his vulnerable moments,” one person tweeted. “Instead of being shocked face, they poured virtue BACK into him….”
“Denzel Washington told Will Smith, “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.” Denzel is the real GOAT,” another person tweeted. “He is a legend who never misses a chance to motivate, inspire, and encourage successful characters.”
Rock was on stage to present the award for best documentary when he made fun of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, saying, “Jada, love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.”
The joke appeared to be in reference to Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. (Demi Moore famously shaved her head for her role in the 1997’s “G.I. Jane.”) Pinkett Smith has been public since 2018 about having alopecia and hair loss.
It’s unclear if Rock knew about Pinkett Smith’s hair loss. But it was enough to anger Will Smith to the point that he marched onstage and smacked Rock in the face. While the American broadcast of the moment was heavily censored, the uncensored moment was seen in broadcasts around the world.
“Will smith just smacked the s— out of me,” a stunned Rock said.
Smith returned to his seat and cursed at the comedian, telling him, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—- mouth!”
Forty minutes later, Smith was on stage to accept the best actor award for playing Richard Williams in “King Richard,” the film about the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams. It was Smith’s first Oscar after two previous nominations.
“I want to apologize to the academy,” Smith said during his speech without referencing Rock specifically. “I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees.”
After relaying the line that Washington had told him, he spoke about needing to protect his loved ones.
“But, love will make you do crazy things,” he said. “Thank you. I hope the academy invites me back. Thank you.”
The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement after the show that Rock declined to file a report against Smith. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement saying it “does not condone violence of any form.”
TODAY reached out to Smith and Rock and did not receive a response.
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Will Smith appears to wipe away tears as he talks to Bradley Cooper, Denzel Washington at the Oscars