Will Smith opened up to talk-show host Trevor Noah about the now-famous slap at the Oscars last March during an appearance on The Daily Show.
While promoting his forthcoming film Emancipation, Smith, 54, called it “a horrific night” and said he “lost it” when he stormed the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock.
“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine,” he said. “There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just – I lost it, you know. I guess what I would say is that you just never know what somebody’s going through.”
READ MORE: Top Gun and Die Hard actor dies aged 66
“I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behaviour at all,” he continued. “I understand how shocking that was for people … I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time.”
Smith said that what was most painful to him was that his actions made it “hard for other people”.
“It’s like I understood the idea where they say hurt people hurt people,” he said. “That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time. The thing that was most painful to me, is I took my hard and made it hard for other people.”
READ MORE: Will Smith fears Oscars slap will sink his newest film
Smith explained his actions were triggered by “a lot of things”, while Noah also pointed out how Smith had written in his memoir about growing up being afraid of conflict.
“It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know,” Smith said. “All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That’s not who I want to be,” he said. “It was a mess. I don’t to go too far into it to give people more to misunderstand.”
In July, Smith addressed the slap in a short video posted to Instagram, once again issuing a public apology to Rock.
“It’s all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk and when he is, he will reach out,” Smith said in the five-minute clip.
READ MORE: Aussie teen takes top spot on global charts
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment. There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults,” he added.
“It’s like, you know, I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe. I want to say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
The Academy has sanctioned Smith by banning him from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, subscribe to our newsletter here.