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Jada Pinkett Smith Says She Thought Oscars Slap Was ‘a Skit’

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Jada Pinkett Smith is revealing what went through her mind when her husband Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards.

“I thought, ‘This is a skit,’ ” Jada, 52, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, while discussing her new book Worthy, out Oct. 17. “I was like, ‘There’s no way that Will hit him.’ It wasn’t until Will started to walk back to his chair that I even realized it wasn’t a skit.”

Will, 55, struck Rock, 58, onstage at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre after the comedian made a joke about Jada’s alopecia, which causes bald spots and hair loss. Will would later go on to win the award for Best Actor during the ceremony.

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Jada tells PEOPLE that the first words she spoke to Will once they were alone were: “Are you okay?”

Will was banned from attending Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences events — including the Oscars — for 10 years in the days following the incident. He has since apologized multiple times for his actions, including apologies to Rock and a confession that he simply “lost it” during an appearance on The Daily Show last November.

Read also: Jada Smith reveals she and Will Smith have been separated since 2016

Rock, meanwhile, refrained from publicly commenting on the incident until his live-broadcasted Netflix standup comedy special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage in March, where he said he does not think of himself as a victim.

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A source told PEOPLE in March that Will has “tried unsuccessfully to make amends in the best way he could with Chris” in the months following the incident. Rock’s friend and fellow comedian Leslie Jones recently told PEOPLE that the incident “really affected him.”

Jada’s new memoir recounts further what went through her mind during the incident, as well as the revelation that she and Will “had been living separate lives and were there as family, not as husband and wife,” at the time of the 2022 Oscars ceremony.

“But when I hear Will yell ‘wife’ in the chaos of the moment, an internal shift of Oh s— . . . I am his wife! happens instantly,” she writes in the book.

Jada’s new memoir, Worthy, hits bookshelves everywhere Oct. 17.

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SOURCE: PEOPLE.COM

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