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Jada Pinkett Smith Says Chris Rock Asked Her Out While She and Will Were Still Together

The actor also dropped the bombshell that she and Smith have been separated since 2016.

On March 27, 2022, the Oscars broadcast took a shocking turn when Will Smith took to the stage to slap presenter Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Now, the public is hearing about a new piece of the backstory of that incident. Pinkett Smith just revealed that she and Smith have actually been separated for several years, that there was ongoing drama among the three actors, and that Rock once asked her out on a date when he heard through the grapevine that she and Smith had split.

Pinkett Smith opens up about her life and marriage in her new book, Worthy, which is out Oct. 17. Ahead of the book's release, the Girls Trip star spoke out in interviews, sharing more context for "the slap" and explaining why Rock asked to take her out even though she was still married. Read on to find out more.

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Pinkett Smith says Rock asked her out after hearing rumors.

The cast of "Madagascar 3" at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival
Jaguar PS / Shutterstock

Pinkett Smith, Smith, and Rock have all known each other for years and have also worked together, including Rock and Pinkett Smith starring in the Madagascar movies and Rock and Smith working together on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and on a short film titled Torrance Rises, as reported by People.

In a new interview with People, Pinkett Smith explained that Rock once asked to take her on a date after he heard rumors that she and Smith had broken up.

"I think every summer all the reports would come out that me and Will were getting a divorce," the 52-year-old said. "And this particular summer, Chris, he thought that we were getting a divorce. So he called me and basically he was like, 'I'd love to take you out.' And I was like, 'What do you mean?' He was like, 'Well, aren't you and Will getting a divorce?' I was like, 'No. Chris, those are just rumors.' He was appalled. And he profusely apologized and that was that."

Best Life has reached out to Rock for comment.

There were tensions between Pinkett Smith and Rock at a previous Oscars.

Warning: Explicit language in video above.

In her People interview, Pinkett Smith explained that she believes there is an ongoing "misunderstanding" between herself and Rock that is tied to the 2016 Oscars. That year, Smith and Pinkett Smith boycotted the show, which was deemed #OscarsSoWhite after no non-white actors were nominated in the four acting categories for the second year in a row. That year, Smith was eligible for his role in Concussion, for which he had been nominated at the Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Drama.

Rock was hosting the Academy Awards that year, and Pinkett Smith suggested to him that he step down. He didn't, and he joked about her protest in his monologue. "Jada's going to boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited!," the comedian said.

Pinkett Smith has regrets about how she handled it.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Chris Rock at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Pinkett Smith told People that she should have handled her disappointment with Rock hosting the awards show, because she wasn't "really recognizing the level of pressure [Chris] might've been under."

She explained, "I probably should have called him and gone, 'Hey, are you OK? And just know that although I'm speaking out about the Oscars, I do wish you the best and I just want you to know that,' me taking the time to have called him and said that, just to touch base. But his feelings might've been hurt."

But she thought their friendship had been mended.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, and Will Smith at the 2005 Kids' Choice Awards
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Pinkett Smith explained that she and Rock spoke after the 2016 Oscars and that she thought that they had moved on from that conflict. She also noted that Smith and Rock were not always on the best of terms in the past but would not expand on why.

She said that when Rock tried to apologize to her at the Oscars after Smith slapped him, she said, "'I can't talk about this now, Chris. This is some old [expletive].' I thought this was [about] the Oscar 2016 and … their stuff that they had before I even came into the picture in the late '80s. I've got to leave that to Will and Chris to talk about, but they got their stuff for sure." Pinkett Smith also said that she initially thought that the slap was part of a planned skit.

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They haven't spoken since the 2022 Oscars.

Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Pinkett Smith and Rock haven't not been in contact since the 2022 Academy Awards. During the show, Rock joked about Pinkett Smith's bald head while presenting an award. The actor has been open about her diagnosis with alopecia, which is why the joke didn't sit well with Smith. He took to the stage, slapped Rock, and said, "Keep my wife's name out your [expletive] mouth!" Moments later, Smith won the award for Best Actor for his role in King Richard. He has since resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and has been banned from the organization's events for 10 years.

Smith has apologized multiple times. Rock has joked about the slap in standup comedy performances. During a June episode of her talk show, Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith said of the incident, "Now about Oscar night, my deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile."

In her new People interview, Pinkett Smith said that she hasn't spoke to Rock since the 2022 Oscars. "[Do I have] any desire to talk to Chris? Here's my desire: I just hope that all the misunderstanding around this can be cleared up and that there can be peace," she said.

She made a surprising announcement about her marriage.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

In an interview with Hoda Kotb for an NBC News special that will air Oct. 13, Pinkett Smith revealed that she and Smith have been separated since 2016 despite seemingly still being married for the past seven years. The couple wed in 1997.

The Magic Mike XXL actor said that while she and Smith are not legally divorced, she considers their separation to be the same as a divorce. When Kotb asked why she hadn't opened up about this sooner, Pinkett Smith responded, "Just not being ready yet … Still trying to figure out between the two of us how to be in partnership … In regards to, how do we present that to people? We hadn't figured that out."

Of why they split up, she explained, "Why it fractured…that—that's a lot of things … By the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be."

She added that she "made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce … We will work through … whatever. I just haven't been able to break that promise."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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