It has been described as the “ugliest Oscar moment ever”.
The world watched in disbelief as Will Smith, 53, slapped comedian Chris Rock in the face in the middle of the celebrity-filled ceremony.
Conspiracy theorists were quick to label it a publicity stunt to get the public interested in the prestigious awards show, which has suffered from falling viewership in recent years.
But it quickly became clear that there was nothing wrong with Smith’s anger at Chris Rock’s comments about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith’s short haircut, a result of her alopecia. Some felt it was a chivalrous gesture on the part of Smith, who shortly thereafter won the Academy Award for Best Actor, apologizing to the Academy and the audience for his actions during his acceptance speech.
Others accused the actor of ruining a golden moment in terms of promoting diversity in the film industry for African American actors.
He’s now only the fifth black man in 100 years to win the statuette for Male Lead, and yet his big win that night was marred with negativity and claims of toxic masculinity.
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It’s also spotlighted Smith’s 24-year relationship with his wife, which has always been the focus of intrigue and curiosity. We take a look at the background behind one of Hollywood’s biggest power couples and their unconventional union.
The actor’s relationship began in 1995 while he was married to first wife Sheree Zampino, with whom he has son Trey, 29.
Pinkett-Smith, 50, met him at an audition to play his girlfriend’s role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Although she didn’t get the role, she did get a date with Smith. When he asked her if she was dating, she said no, and he replied, “Cool, you’re dating me now.”
Thus began one of the most sizzling relationships in celebrity circles and the couple married on New Year’s Eve 1997. They welcomed son Jaden in July 1998, followed by daughter Willow in October 2000.
The high-profile couple were forced to issue a statement in 2011 amid rumors that Pinkett-Smith was “unreasonably close” to singer Marc Anthony, who was married to Jennifer Lopez at the time.
“While we hesitate to respond to this type of press coverage, the rumors circulating about our relationship are completely false.
“We are still together and our marriage is intact,” it said.
Speculation continued as to the true nature of their relationship as both had said it wasn’t a traditional monogamous partnership. They began researching polygamy after saying they were “miserable” and realizing “something had to change.”
They broke up for a while in 2015 and stopped communicating altogether when Jada had a brief “entanglement” with rapper August Alsina – whom she met through their son at a music festival.
She and Will have settled their differences and opened up about what really happened during their marriage in a very candid exchange on Pinkett-Smith’s popular podcast Red Table Talk.
Will, who has made over 60 films and is one of Hollywood’s top-grossing stars, told her he was “done with your ass” when they decided to break up.
“But marriages do. We decided to break up for a period of time and you are thinking of ways to make yourself happy and I will try to figure out how to make myself happy. I really felt like we could be over,” he said.
In a 2021 interview with GQ, he elaborated on his new memoir Will, saying that while Jada was raised in a religious family, he was raised in an “unconventional” environment.
“Jada never believed in a conventional marriage … Jada had family members who were in an unconventional relationship. So she grew up very differently than I did,” he said.
“And for most of our relationship, monogamy wasn’t what we chose, we didn’t see monogamy as the only relationship perfection. We gave each other trust and freedom with the belief that everyone has to find their own way.”
Smith also admitted to harboring a fantasy of having a 20-person “harem of girlfriends,” including actress Halle Berry and ballerina Misty Copeland. After working through his issues with an intimacy coach, he concluded that his fantasy was actually going to be “terrible” and he needed to work on his own relationship with Jada.
He said marriage can’t be a “prison” for her and her way of life isn’t for everyone, but it’s working for her right now.
“But the experience of the freedoms we gave to one another and the unconditional support for me is the highest definition of love,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-features/will-smith-jada-pinkett-smith-and-how-the-world-has-watched-their-highly-unconventional-24-year-relationship-41499346.html Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and how the world has watched their highly unconventional 24-year relationship