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Tyler Perry: It’s ‘Difficult’ Being Friends With Both Chris Rock and Will Smith After ‘Painful’ Oscars Slap

Tyler Perry Its Difficult Being Friends With Both Chris Rock Will Smith
Tyler Perry, Chris Rock and Will Smith. Shutterstock (3)

Not everyone has recovered from Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars – and their mutual friend Tyler Perry is shedding light on balancing a friendship between both men.

Related: Will Smith's Inner Circle: A Look at His Close Celeb Pals After Oscars Slap

“There’s a difference between comforting and deescalating, that’s No. 1. And I left early to get to Chris to make sure he was OK. Being friends with both of them has been very difficult,” the 52-year-old director said during a Q&A Tribeca Film Festival, per reports.

Perry was in the audience when Smith, 53, hit Rock, 57, after the comedian made a G.I. Jane joke about the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, in March.

“I was there, close up. I left early to go check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms, and I made sure I said that to Will. And I’ll tell you, when we walked over to him, he was devastated,” Perry recalled. “He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t believe he did it. And I’m looking at this man in his eyes going, ‘What are you doing? This is your night.’”

Related: Celebs React to Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock at Oscars 2022

Smith went on to win the Oscar for King Richard moments after the viral moment.

“And to get all the way to this moment, winning an Oscar, that was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately,” the Madea writer continued. “And to have something like that happen, I think he is very much in reflection of trying to figure out what happened. And trust me, as painful as it was for all of us in the room, it was as painful for Chris, who was a pure champion for the way he handled it.”

Perry added: “But I want you to understand that something happened that was extremely painful for [Will] as well. That is no excuse. He was completely wrong for what he did. But something triggered him — that is so out of everything he is.”

Related: Everything Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith Have Said About Their Marriage

Following the evening, Smith apologized to Rock in a public statement and was banned from the Oscars and Academy events for 10 years. Pinkett Smith, for her part, spoke about the controversy on the June 1 episode of Red Table Talk.

“My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile,” the actress said. “The state of the world today, we need them both. And we all actually need one another more than ever. … Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that’s keep figuring out this thing called life together.”

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