Courtney B. Vance Shares How Angela Bassett Avoided A Will Smith Slap Situation

Will Smith's infamous slap of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards instantly sent a reverberation across Hollywood. The on-stage altercation proved semi-divisive among celebrities as many weighed in to give their takes.

Tiffany Haddish was among those that supported Smith's incendiary response. "When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife. That meant so much to me," the "Girls Trip" star told People shortly after the incident. She believed Smith acted in the best interest of Jada Pinkett Smith. "That's what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you," Haddish added. Although he did not approve of the physical assault, Lamar Odom believed Rock's joke about Pinkett Smith deserved a strong reaction. "She was hurting, it is a husband's responsibility to protect his wife," Odom wrote on March 29 in a lengthy Instagram post about the on-stage slap.

Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes was a celebrity who strongly disapproved of Smith's actions. "It was sickening. It was absolutely sickening," Sykes said while appearing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on March 30. The comedian was shocked Smith was not immediately removed from the awards show afterwards. Even O.J. Simpson, who's been the butt of countless jokes in the past, thought the "Bad Boys" star was out of line. "Don't think I wouldn't wanna slap a couple of those guys," Simpson said in a video posted to Twitter on March 29. Later, Courtney B. Vance spoke about a time his wife, Angela Bassett, almost succumbed to a slap-like incident.

A fan once tried to incite Angela Bassett

Courtney B. Vance — the long-time partner of Angela Bassett — was asked for his take on the Will Smith slap. The "Office Christmas Party" actor likened the Academy Awards debacle to a time when he and Bassett encountered an unruly fan at the airport. After approaching the couple at an inopportune time, the fan was denied an autograph and "wanted to provoke" Bassett, as Vance recalled during his April 1 appearance on "The Breakfast Club." As the fan shouted at the "Waiting to Exhale" star, Vance worked quickly to remove Bassett from the potentially volatile situation. "I said, 'Angie, just keep walking, baby. Just keep walking. We're going to our car," he recalled.

"The Preacher's Wife" actor spoke about knowing the difference between taking a strong stance when offended, and letting cooler heads prevail. "Sometimes you just gotta just walk away," Vance said on the popular radio show. He did not want his wife to end up in a situation similar to Smith's. "What we don't wanna see is Angela Bassett pimp-slapping [anybody]," Vance jokingly said. "We're not going down like that."

In 2014, Bassett was involved in her own celebrity drama when the late Bobbi Kristina Brown lashed out at her online. Brown tweeted that Bassett was a "b***h" after the actor left her out of a Whitney Houston biopic, per E! News. Fortunately, once her temper simmered a few days later, Brown apologized on Twitter for her inflammatory words.