Will Smith's mother was as shocked as everyone else when she saw her son slap Chris Rock onstage in the middle of the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday night.
Carolyn Smith, 85, was watching the broadcast with family in suburban Philadelphia when she saw her son angrily react to a joke by Rock about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in one of the most stunning moments in Oscars history.
“He is a very even, people person," she told ABC Philadelphia affiliate WPVI. "That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him go off. First time in his lifetime... I’ve never seen him do that."
It was a night of mixed emotions for Carolyn and her family, as Smith then won his first best actor award for his role in "King Richard" less than an hour after the incident with Rock.
"I know how he works, how hard he works...I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting," Carolyn Smith told WPVI. "When I heard the name, I was just, ‘Yes!’”
Amid the ongoing fallout over Smith's behavior, his family has stood by his side.
“I am proud of him being him,” his mother said.
Fallout and reaction after Will Smith smacks Chris Rock at OscarsMarch 28, 202203:37
Smith, 53, apologized to the academy and said "love will make you do crazy things" during his acceptance speech. He then apologized to Rock and everyone watching in a statement he shared on Instagram Monday.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally,” he wrote.
The confrontation with the comedian occurred when Rock was on stage to present the award for best documentary and made fun of Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head.
Pinkett Smith has been public since 2018 about having alopecia and hair loss.
Oscars 2022: Will Smith incident overshadows historic firstsMarch 28, 202203:24
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which runs the Oscars, condemned Smith's actions and said it's conducting a formal review "and will explore further action and consequences" in accordance with its bylaws. The most serious consequence could be the organization taking away Smith's Oscar, or he could simply be admonished.
The Screen Actor's Guild also announced that it has been in contact with the academy to ensure Smith's behavior is "appropriately addressed."