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Will Smith’s Abusive Childhood & His Desire ‘To Protect People’ May Explain That Chris Rock Slap At The Oscars

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Will Smith, Chris Rock

For the swarms of people who watch the Oscars every year, absolutely no one expected *that* moment during last night's ceremony, which stunned both viewers in the audience and viewers at home. 

While on stage, comedian Chris Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary and decided to crack a few jokes about certain celebrities in the audience, including Jada Pinkett Smith. 

"Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see ya," Rock, 57, joked. Will Smith, 53, who had been sitting with his wife in the front row, was seen laughing, while Pinkett Smith, 50, didn't seem to appreciate the joke made at her expense. 

Smith, who was nominated for, and later won, the Best Actor award at the ceremony, then took the stage and smacked Rock across the face. 

RELATED: 5 Things Will And Jada Smith Have Done — And Why People Love Or Hate Them For It

"Oh wow," said a seemingly shocked Rock as Smith walked back to his seat. "Will Smith just smacked the sh*t out of me." 

"Keep my wife's name out your f**king mouth!" Smith yelled up to the stage at Rock after taking his seat again.  "Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke," said Rock, to which Smith repeated angrily, "Keep my wife's name out your f**king mouth!"

"I'm going to, okay?" Rock replied, before adding, "That was the ... greatest night in the history of television" and went on to present the award. 

Many people were left in shock after watching the altercation occur, the internet was divided on whether or not Rock deserved the slap, and whether or not Smith was in the right for walking on stage during a televised award show and striking another person. 

However, Will Smith's abusive childhood might be a reason why he hadn't been able to shake off the comment Rock made against his wife.

Smith has been extremely vocal about living with an abusive father while he was young and even wrote about the domestic violence that he and his three siblings witnessed at the hands of their father, William to their mother, Caroline.

RELATED: 7 Dysfunctional Details About How Will Smith And Jada Pinkett-Smith Started Dating & Their Marriage Now

In his memoir, 'Will,' which was released in November 2021, Smith wrote, "When I was nine years old, I watched my father punch my mother in the side of the head so hard that she collapsed. I saw her spit blood. That moment in that bedroom, probably more than any other moment in my life, has defined who I am.”

Smith's parents ended up divorcing in 2000, while he was a teenager. Though, Smith had maintained a close relationship with his father but says his hatred had returned when he found out his father had cancer and was using a wheelchair.

When Smith was taking care of his father, he shared that often thought about killing him. “As a child, I’d always told myself that I would one day avenge my mother,” he continued.

“I paused at the top of the stairs. I could shove him down and easily get away with it. Thank God we’re judged by our actions and not our trauma-driven, inner outbursts.”

During Smith's acceptance speech, the actor alluded to wanting to protect the people he loved, which could've been a callback to him wishing he had protected his mother during the moments of abuse she suffered at the hands of his father.

"I'm being called on in my life to love people," Smith said during his speech. "And to protect people. And to be a river to my people.

"I know to do what we do, you got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you have to smile and you've got to pretend that's OK."

RELATED: 7 Weird Rules Will Smith And Jada Make Their Kids Follow

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.