Will Smith accepts the Oscar for Best Actor in
Will Smith accepts the Oscar for Best Actor in "King Richard" at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Image Credit: REUTERS

Hollywood star Will Smith has opened up about how after his controversial slapping of Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars he had a “champion” by his side — Floyd Mayweather.

TMZ quoted Smith as saying in a video: “I want to say something also about Floyd... So, we’ve met each other, we’ve seen each other around, but we weren’t like, friends”

He added, “And, the day after the Oscars, for 10 days he called me every day. And, he was like, ‘Ay, you know you the champ, right? You good? You know you’re the champ, right? I want you to hear my voice say it.”

“That was every day he called me ... and it’s like, that’s my dude forever right there.”

Floyd Mayweather. Image Credit: AFP

According to TMZ, Smith revealed this at a private showing of his new film ‘Emancipation’ held at a London hotel.

In July this year, Smith took to his Instagram handle and shared an emotional video explaining why he didn’t apologise to Rock after accepting the best actor award for his performance in “King Richard” shortly after he slapped the comedian for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.

“I was fogged out by that point,” Smith said, explaining why it took so long to offer Rock an apology. “It’s all fuzzy. I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out.”

Smith expressed his guilt for his actions, calling them “unacceptable.” The actor has stated that he reacted violently because Rock’s joke alluded to Pinkett Smith’s hair loss due to alopecia. It’s a struggle that Pinkett Smith has previously addressed publicly.

“That was one of the things about that moment. I just didn’t realise,” Smith reflects. “I wasn’t thinking but many people got hurt at that moment. So I want to apologise to Chris’ mother. I want to apologise to Chris’ family. Specifically, Tony Rock. We had a great relationship. You know, Tony Rock was my man and this is probably irreparable. I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences from my history with Chris. Jada had nothing to do [with it],” Smith said, before acknowledging the “heat” his wife and kids have taken.

Smith has been banned from appearing for 10 years post which he even announced his resignation from the Academy.