How All The Jokes About Will And Jada's Personal Life Have Reportedly Taken A Toll

The slap heard around the world. If you didn't tune into the 2022 Oscars, you might have missed the slap that stole the show. We are talking, of course, about Will Smith rushing the stage, slapping Chris Rock in the face, and then screaming at him repeatedly to "Keep my wife's name out of your f***ing mouth!" after Rock made a light hearted joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith's alopecia.

Fans and celebrities were divided on Smith's impulsive decision to attack Rock. Judd Apatow, for one, called it dangerous and suggested that Smith could have killed the comedian in a since-deleted tweet. Others, like Nicki Minaj for example, were firmly on Smith's side. For Smith, though, the situation was anything but funny. Per his tearful apology later in the evening when he won best actor, he just saw red when Rock made a joke at his wife's expense.

So, why was Smith so angry? He was already at a breaking point thanks to a series of jokes other presenters made about his rocky marriage over the years.

Will Smith was pushed to the edge

You might remember that the major drama surrounding Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith (pre-slap of course) was their reportedly open marriage. See, back in 2020, Will joined his wife on her talk show "Red Table Talk" and discussed their marriage and the fact that she had an "entanglement" with rapper August Alsina, per People. Jada and Will were reportedly taking space at the time, but that didn't stop Alsina from releasing a song wryly titled "Entanglements" about the affair.

Space or not, it didn't stop the scrutiny and jokes that have followed the couple since. Perhaps comedians have felt safe to take shots at them because they've been so open about their marriage in the past. Will told GQ a year later that he and Jada are no longer monogamous. The stress of bearing all those jokes added up, and when Chris Rock took a jab at his wife, Will snapped. "They have felt more exposed these past few years and it's taken its toll," a source told the New York Post.

More importantly, Will reportedly couldn't handle a joke like that coming from Rock, with whom Will has had tension for years. At the 2016 Oscars, Rock made jokes about Jada protesting the show despite not being nominated. "This was personal," another source told the outlet. "If someone else would've said it, it probably wouldn't have mattered as much, but this was totally personal stemming from 2016 — and maybe before that."

Was Will mad at Chris before the joke?

That's not the only report suggesting there was lingering bad blood between Will Smith and Chris Rock before either stepped foot inside the Dolby Theatre on March 27, though. A source also claimed to People that Will still had a bad taste in his mouth regarding Rock's 2016 Oscars joke, noting, "When Chris hosted the Oscars in 2016, Jada was boycotting because of 'Oscars So White.' In his monologue, he made fun of her, saying she can't boycott something she wasn't invited to. Will was still mad about that."

We also know that some questionable past Will interviews have come to light in the wake of the slap seen around the world, which could shed some new light on exactly how Will felt about Jada, and how he seemingly enjoyed protecting her, years before the 2022 Oscars. One of the most telling past appearances to rear its ugly head came in the form of Will, Jada, and their son, Jaden Smith, appearing on the Spanish TV show "El Hormiguero" back in 2010. In the clip resurfaced by Daily Mail, Will, seemingly jokingly, warned the host to be careful about what he said to his wife while listening intently as the two spoke and the host complimented her.

There's also been new attention drawn to some of Will's other past interviews, including one from 1991 where he joked about musician John B. Williams' bald head during an appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show."

Inside Will and Jada's relationship

Despite Will Smith getting physical with, and swearing at, Chris Rock on the Oscars stage, he's previously opened up about his relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith and how they worked hard on their communication skills because he did not want their relationship to be like his parents'. "I grew up in a household where I watched my father punch my mother in the face. I will not create a house, a space, an interaction with a person where there's profanity and violence," he explained on Jada's "Red Table Talk" in October 2018. "It was 20 years before we used profanity in any conversation that we've had."

Will has apologized in the wake of the incident. As well as addressing the slap in his acceptance speech during the ceremony, he then took to Instagram to apologize again, this time explicitly addressing Rock. "Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. 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 wrote.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will decide on what, if any, disciplinary action is taken against Will on April 18. In a statement obtained by People, it was noted that there's the potential for the actor to be expelled over the incident.