During the now-infamous award ceremony, her husband Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage for making a dig about Jada's hair and issued a stern warning after returning to his seat: "Keep my wife's name out your f--king mouth!"
It was a moment that no one saw coming and proved to be multi-layered for the Girls Trip star.
"Now, first of all, I'm really shocked," Jada told Today's Hoda Kotb in a preview from their interview set to air Oct. 13, "because mind you, I'm not there. We haven't called each other husband and wife in a long time. I'm like, 'What is going on right now?'"
But her attention quickly shifted from the commentary itself to concern. "I'm really worried for Will," she recalled, "because I don't know what's going on."
The Red Table Talk host also revealed that moments after the slap, Chris leaned over the stage to apologize for his joke.
"Chris looks to me and he says, ‘Jada, I meant no harm,'" she shared, adding, "Now, I'm just out of it because I'm really worried about Will. And Will's still talking, because now he's mad because Chris is talking to me. I go, ‘Chris, this is about some old s--t.' That's all I could think to say, right? And I couldn't really take in his apology."
Jada went on to note that the entire incident was completely out of character for Will, who picked up an Oscar for his performance in King Richard later in the ceremony, telling Hoda, "It's not him whatsoever."
EXCLUSIVE: Jada Pinkett Smith tells @hodakotb that the blame she received for the slap had "more to do with the false narrative that I helped to create on the Red Table," referring to when she previously spoke about her 'entanglement' on Red Table Talk. pic.twitter.com/Hb2OyfuWN1— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 13, 2023
"Why it fractured, that's a lot of things," she said in an interview clip released Oct. 11. "I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be."
That said, the Set it Off star also shared why she ultimately chose not to make a legal decision regarding their split.
"I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce," she explained. "We will work through whatever. I just haven't been able to break that promise."
For more, tune in to Jada's Story–An NBC News Special when it airs Friday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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Keep reading to revisit their relationship.