Jada Pinkett Smith Says Will Smith Hadn't Called Her His "Wife" in a "Long Time" Prior to Oscars Slap

Jada Pinkett Smith revealed that she was shocked to hear Will Smith refer to her as his "wife," during the 2022 Oscars incident, noting she hadn't heard that in a "long time."

By Kisha Forde Oct 13, 2023 2:02 PMTags
Watch: "The View" Host Slams Jada Pinkett Smith's Split Reveal

Jada Pinkett Smith was left stunned at the 2022 Oscars for more than one reason.

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.

Will Smith & Family Attend Vanity Fair Party After 2022 Oscars

"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."

The latest revelation about their marriage comes two days after Jada, who wed the Fresh Prince of Bel Air alum in 1997, revealed that they quietly decided to separate seven years ago.

"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.

(E! and NBC are part of the NBCUniversal family.)

Keep reading to revisit their relationship.


Stunner in a blue outfit (dress?)! Will and Jada are all smiles at the Devil in a Blue Dress premiere in 1995.

White hot

Have you ever seen anything more '90s glam than this? The couple poses together in 1997, the year they got married.

Baby bump alert

Jada is styling more than just a trendy silver coat in this 1998 red carpet photo: she's showing off her baby bump in a sleek black dress. Jaden Smith was born on July 8, 1998.

Suited up

Hats off to the couple who never cease to show up on a red carpet in style. Here they are together at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California in 2005.

Here comes the bride

Jada ignored the old superstition of never wearing to black to a wedding as she and Will head to Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise's 2006 wedding in Rome, Italy.

Family affair

The kids are here in London, England with Will and Jada on the red carpet at The Karate Kid premiere in 2010.

Say cheese

Orange you glad to see this picture of Will and Jada together? The happy couple smiles in New York City in 2010.

Oh Canada

Willow, Jaden, Will, and Jada Pinkett Smith pose together in a family shot at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012.

Glam in green

Jada dazzles in green as she and Will arrive at the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in 2016.

Vacation mode

Everyone is all smiles for a family vacation after making a quick pit stop at the 2018 World Cup.

Soft smiles

Will posts an Instagram tribute to wife Jada, acknowledging that they've been together for "HALF OUR LIVES!"


In 2020, Will and Jada addressed Jada's alleged affair with August Alsina.

Admitting she and August had an "entanglement" while she and Will were separated, she explained, "It was a relationship. I was in a lot of pain and I was very broken. In the process of that relationship I definitely realized you can't find happiness outside of yourself. Luckily enough, you and I were also going through a process of healing in a much different manner."

2022 Oscars

During the 2022 Academy Awards, Will slapped host Chris Rock over a joke the comedian made about Jada's shaved head. 

After the slap, Will resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and was banned from its events for 10 years. He also apologized to Chris—calling the slap "unacceptable" and noting "there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment." 

Separation News

In Oct. 2023, Jada revealed she and Will have been separated for 7 years, including the six leading up to the 2022 Oscars.

"We're still figuring it out," Jada told People in a profile published Oct. 11. "We've been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us." 

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App