Will Smith's mother said she's never seen her son "go off" like he did when he hit Chris Rock at the Oscars on Sunday night.
"He is a very even, people person. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime ... I’ve never seen him do that,” Carolyn Smith told ABC affiliate WPVI of Philadelphia.
Smith slapped Rock on stage after the stand-up comedian said that he was excited to watch Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in the sequel of “G.I. Jane."
Pinkett Smith, who in 2018 revealed she was diagnosed with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss, could be seen rolling her eyes at the joke.
After hitting Rock, Smith returned to his seat and twice told him to “keep my wife’s name out your f-----g mouth.”
Smith later won best actor for his depiction of Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Venus and Serena, in “King Richard.”
During his speech, he apologized to his fellow nominees and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and compared himself to Williams.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said.
Carolyn Smith said that she was overwhelmingly proud of her son.
“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!’” she said.
“I am proud of him being him,” Carolyn Smith added.
Smith on Monday apologized to Rock. “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” Smith said in a message posted on Instagram. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”
“Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” he added.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had earlier condemned Smith for hitting Rock and said it was reviewing the matter and exploring "further action and consequences."
SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents presenters and performers at the Oscars, also condemned Smith's behavior.
"The incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable," the union said in a statement. "We have been in contact with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC about this incident, and will work to ensure this behavior is appropriately addressed."