Jada Pinkett Smith: Chris Rock asked me out when he thought I was getting divorced

As we discussed yesterday, Jada Pinkett Smith is doing a big rollout for her memoir, Worthy. Jada covers this week’s issue of People Mag, and she gave an exclusive interview to the Today Show, plus People has published some excerpts from the memoir. One of the subjects Jada finally gets to discuss in depth and on the record is this decades-long mess with Chris Rock. Rock has targeted Jada in his “comedy” since 1997, and at one point, years before the slap, Will Smith had words with Chris, asking him or telling him to back off. Following the 2022 Oscar slap, Rock did a big Netflix stand-up show where he repeatedly targeted Jada, acting as if SHE was the one who slapped him. He denigrated her, called her a “bitch” dozens of times and claimed that “she started it.” At the time, sources close to Jada went to People and noted that: “Jada has had no part in all of this other than being heckled. Chris is obsessed with her and that’s been going on for almost 30 years.” This whole time, Rock has been giving off “incel with a grudge” vibes, and guess what? Jada reveals that Rock tried to ask her out while she was married to Will!

She hasn’t spoken to Chris Rock since the 2022 Oscars: “[Do I have] any desire to talk to Chris? Here’s my desire: I just hope that all the misunderstanding around this can be cleared up and that there can be peace… I talk about this in the book, I think that there might be some misunderstanding between Chris and I as far as the 2016 Oscars. I think that he might’ve taken offense, which I meant no harm in offending. That wasn’t my intention. But I do think that there’s a big misunderstanding there.”

When she and Will boycotted the 2016 Oscars during the #OscarsSoWhite movement: Chris, who was hosting that year, made jokes about Jada in his monologue. And, in his Netflix comedy special earlier this year, Chris claimed that Jada told him he should quit the hosting gig out of solidarity. Jada admits to “not really recognizing the level of pressure [Chris] might’ve been under” at the time. “I probably should have called him and gone, ‘Hey, are you okay? And just know that although I’m speaking out about the Oscars, I do wish you the best and I just want you to know that,’ me taking the time to have called him and said that, just to touch base. But his feelings might’ve been hurt,” she says. But, Jada adds, “All we can ever do is just look at our part and see where could I have done something that would’ve seemed as if… Whatever misunderstanding might’ve been created, what could I have done to avoid that misunderstanding? The one thing that I think about is that call.”

Chris apologized after that, in 2016: Jada says Chris, 58, called her afterward in 2016 and she thought they’d moved on. “He apologized and I apologized to him as well,” she says. “So I actually thought that we were good, that the hatchet was buried between us. And we hadn’t talked since then, until 2022 came.”

Chris tried to talk to her after the slap: “Chris came down to the end of the stage and tried to apologize to me. He said, ‘I didn’t mean you any harm.’ I said, ‘I can’t talk about this now, Chris. This is some old s—.’ I thought this was [about] the Oscar 2016 and … their stuff that they had before I even came into the picture in the late ‘80s. I’ve got to leave that to Will and Chris to talk about, but they got their stuff for sure.”

On Chris’s joke about her baldness/alopecia: “I mean, that’s what comedians do,” says Jada. “I would just have to say that I am not really here to make any judgment on how people decide to express themselves and express their art. I’ll say that several times I’ve had my feelings hurt, for sure. I’ve had my feelings hurt a lot by Chris. But at the end of the day, too, being in the spotlight, it comes with the territory.”

Chris asked her out once: “I think every summer all the reports would come out that me and Will were getting a divorce. And this particular summer, Chris, he thought that we were getting a divorce. So he called me and basically he was like, ‘I’d love to take you out.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ He was like, ‘Well, aren’t you and Will getting a divorce?’ I was like, ‘No. Chris, those are just rumors.’ He was appalled. And he profusely apologized and that was that.”

[From People]

I would assume that there’s much more to the story of Chris’s obsession with Jada, but she probably doesn’t want to feed into his ego. Like, Chris, Jada and Will have all known each other since the late ‘80s or early ‘90s. Jada appeared on Chris’s defunct talk show back in the day. Reportedly, Rock wanted to be with Jada in the ‘90s. I’m just saying, I think there were probably more instances where Rock tried to shoot his shot and Jada turned him down or just didn’t realize what he was doing. All of his nastiness and horrible energy makes him seem like he feels jilted, or like he’s overcompensating for Jada brushing him off for years. Anyway, I’m not saying anyone deserves to be slapped, but there’s just so much backstory to that one moment.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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36 Responses to “Jada Pinkett Smith: Chris Rock asked me out when he thought I was getting divorced”

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  1. StillDouchesOfCambridge says:

    Exactly what I was saying at the time of the slap! There is more than 1 love story here and the slap is about jealousy and not the joke itself

    • lover says:


      “I’m not saying anyone deserves to be slapped”… bless you Kaiser. But I’ll say it 🙂

      • Bella DuPont says:

        “Anyway, I’m not saying anyone deserves to be slapped”

        @ LOVER ….lol, right?

        I’m saying he deserved to be slapped. Nobody in the history of humanity has ever deserved to be bitch slapped in public as much as that little toe rag.😁

        Will was right. Not a heavy, physically damaging punch, but an open handed bitch slap from a pimp to that bitch. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. 😈😈😊

        PS: I don’t condone violence normally. But there are exceptions to every rule. 😇

    • Yup, Me says:

      I said at the time, and I maintain, that slap was a personal moment that played out on a global stage. Chris Rock absolutely knows why he got slapped. If it had happened backstage, everyone involved would have kept it quiet and it would have just been a rumor for gossip mills.

  2. Sean says:

    “And this particular summer, Chris, he thought that we were getting a divorce. So he called me and basically he was like, ‘I’d love to take you out.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ He was like, ‘Well, aren’t you and Will getting a divorce?’ I was like, ‘No. Chris, those are just rumors.’ He was appalled. And he profusely apologized and that was that.”

    There you have it. Chris may have apologized but he never got over the rejection.

  3. Cel2495 says:

    So he been wanting this woman for a long time and out of frustration continues harassing her with his “comedy”.

    Yes the slap was not ok as I stated previously because it’s violence and it took away the joy from such a wonderful night for Will and the Williams sisters … but that Chris is not funny and has not been for a long time. The neflix special proved it yet again that he is not funny and is obsessed with Jada.

    I will not speak on their separation / marriage because we all knew that something was up for years. I guess whatever works for them. The way people are blaming her and saying horrible stuff about her in social media after she reveladles the separation is horrible.

    • Chelsea says:

      The crap she’s getting on social media for saying they’re separated is so bizarre to me because she literally admitted this years ago. When the whole mess with August happened they said that the “entanglement” happened in 2016 and that they were separated at the time and still working through what their relationship was; it definitely sounded to me like they were still separated.

      But it’s funny that no one was up in arms about those compromising pictures of Will with Margot Robbie a few years ago but sm has a conniption when Jada talks about their separation/open marriage. (The Margot Robbie thing was also why i guessed that it was an open secret that they were separated in Hollywood because i don’t think that would’ve happen otherwise considering how beloved of a couple Will and Jada were)

      • Snoozer says:

        Margot and Will probably hooked up; but there’s also a chance it was just drunken camaraderie. Margot is ‘one of the boys’, they were drunk and at a party, and that kind of pic was just not uncommon in that period in Australia or the UK when messing around with your mates.

        But Heidy de la Rosa was a very obvious affair. They went on a months long holiday to multiple countries together with another couple and posted it in a super obvious way on their social media accounts.

  4. Purplehazeforever says:

    I think too many people have been focused RN Chris Rock’s reaction to Jada throughout the years & “comedy” instead of how generous Jada is being towards Chris in her book. I don’t know, if someone treated me that badly, I would not treat them so kindly afterwards.

  5. sevenblue says:

    Do I understand correctly that he apologized to her after the slap and still called her names in his new special with “old man yelling to clouds” energy? He is truly a snake. He is contributing to the culture of acceptance of going after black women. I don’t understand how other women who insult her online can’t see that. After Jada, he is gonna find another target.

  6. Bettyrose says:

    I’ve always felt sympathetic to Will’s reaction in the moment. Chris Rock is like a kid in junior high who can’t properly express his emotions so he harasses his crush. And in my day they didn’t call that bullying. It was socially acceptable because it just meant he likes you and boys will be boys. Poor Jada. No one deserves that kind of toxic attention for years.

  7. girl_ninja says:

    He never got over the rejection and he never will. She will be his target of disgusting misogyny as long as he has breath. And if Will and Jada make it offical and divorce then he’ll probably mess with that woman too because there is a jealousy and envy of Will too. Crusty old hater.

  8. og bella says:

    Avoiding the more serious topic, I will say that while I vehemently hate the color orange, I totally love, love, love that dress. She was rocking it.

  9. KP says:

    As someone looking in from the outside-that is white person-this always had a feeling of a family fight. Like you go to a party and a couple family members get into a beef and you just walk away. To me this was clearly not about one comment and I thought the pearl clutching about Will Smith was way over the top. Yeah he did a not great thing on the biggest stage but also there was so obviously something else going on.

    I do remember Chris Rock taking cracks at Jada in 2016 show; seemed petty then and even pettier now. Though I will say I actually have more sympathy for Will as well as to why he snapped that night. That’s a lot to be dealing with while also hoping to win the Oscar etc. I mean technically Jada is his wife but they are not together-Chris has been dogging her for years and here on a night you expect to celebrate a career achievement. This guy is once again mocking her. A lot to process at once.

    I know people thing Jada is an evil witch etc but honestly she comes across to me as someone who is comfortable in who she is. Take it or leave it

  10. Amy Bee says:

    As we all suspected Jada rejected him several times. Is his current girlfriend ok with his behaviour towards Jada?

  11. TheVolvesSeidr says:

    Typical misogynist man can’t take it when a women tells him no. Chris Rock has always been that man.

  12. Eowyn says:

    No I wouldn’t call it a family fight. White culture will embrace black people like Chris Rock who build their brand on punching down on other Black people. Look at his “hood” humour. Black people like Chris Rock, Condoleeza Rice, others across all kinds of careers and walks of life will knowingly use this punching down to advance and to endear themselves in workplaces and in politics. Chris Rock and his misogynoir are very much central to this conflict. Going after Black women is very profitable.

    • KC says:

      I haven’t heard or thought of Condoleeza in years! I forgot all about her and here she is catching strays!😆

  13. Chaine says:

    It’s sad that she is still wracking her brain trying to figure out how she could have soothed his ego in 2016. This is typical of women from our era, we always blame ourselves for a man’s bad actions. Jada, that was almost a decade ago. It’s ok for you to leave it behind you. It’s not on you to fix this man and his misogyny.

  14. lucy2 says:

    Like so many other things, it all goes back to a man unable to get over a woman’s rejection.

  15. Naomi says:

    Chris Rock is giving incel.

  16. Angelica+Schuyler says:

    I said it when the slap happened, and I said it when Chris Rock’s special came out: Chris Rock is a thin skinned little incel. Will Smith shouldn’t have slapped him, but Chris Rock certainly deserved it. His poor little ego is bruised that Jada rejected him, and he’s never gotten over it.

    I’m surprised at the negativity people are giving Jada and Will about their separation. It’s their marriage. If that’s what works for them, let them be. So many people are screaming that they should just get a divorce, but nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. When/if they’re ready to actually divorce, they’ll do it. I know so many older (boomer) people who had this type of arrangement for so long. They would separate, have a long term partner, and move on with their lives, but not divorce – and both spouses were content to have this type of arrangement. They would usually only get a divorce if the partner insisted on becoming the legal spouse.

    With Jada’s new revelations it all makes more sense now.

    • ama1977 says:

      My best friend in HS had long-term separated parents who never divorced so that her mom could stay on her dad’s health insurance. It was a huge gesture on his part, especially because he had excellent coverage (he worked with my dad so we had the same plan) and she was diagnosed with cancer when we were in our early 20’s. She recovered and they remained friendly and separated but married until his death. He dated, she dated and had a long-time live-in boyfriend, and everyone was fine.

      Nobody knows what goes on in a marriage but the people in it, so they are the only ones who can say if the choices they’re making are best for them. Jada and Will share children and a history, and it sounds like there is a lot of love on both sides still. Barring abuse or other destructive behavior, it’s not our business.

  17. TIFFANY says:

    Chris ex wife, Malaak and his ex girlfriend, Megalyn share similar features to Jada and imma leave it at that.

  18. Kitten says:

    What a childish ahole.

    And the way Will Smith’s behavior has been characterized has been so appalling. He made a bad mistake and unfortunately it was made publicly. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that one moment of weakness is “violence” or indicative of anything except that the man is clearly a human being. He happened to have one of his worst moments in front of many cameras-it’s not an enviable position to be in.

  19. lunchcoma says:

    She is being extremely gracious here.

    Rock’s behavior is creepy as fuck. Who the hell thinks it’s appropriate to ask someone out because you’ve heard a rumor they’re getting divorced? If you don’t talk to them often enough to hear it firsthand, maybe you need to reconnect and figure out what’s going on and whether they have any interest in dating even if the news is true.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Yes–she’s extremely gracious. His behavior is disturbing & I can’t imagine dealing with his nonsense while navigating depression, relationship issues, etc.

  20. Frankly says:

    The point I think about is that it was just a terrible joke. It wasn’t funny. It was a duplo-level reference to a 25-year-old movie that no one gives a shit about. It was lazy.

    The whole situation was awful, but if the humor had been interesting or topical or eye-opening or ground breaking or changed the way we look at things, I could see *considering* telling the joke. Again, there was no reason to attack her like that. But, objectively, from a comedy writing standpoint, that “joke” belonged in a trash can regardless of circumstance.

    And this is all with the baseline understanding that it was ugly and unnecessary to target her at all in the first place.

  21. Boxy Lady says:

    Marlon Wayans released his comedy special God Loves Me one week before Chris Rock released his and it got lost in the shuffle. But Marlon’s whole special is about the slapping incident and how he has known Will, Jada, and Chris for decades. He makes it clear that Chris has always been a dick.

    • kirk says:

      Thanks for sharing about Marlon Wayans. (Found God Loves Me on Max after not seeing it on Netflix.)
      I used to love Chris Rock, but after all that erupted that Oscars night, I started examining my own preferences. I had thought Rock’s documentary on Hair was brilliant, but came to realize (with benefit of comments on this site) that it was quite demeaning to black women. Now I’m wondering if I was just another white sucker for Rock’s punch-down pandering 😔

  22. Sass says:

    I cackled out loud when I read the headline. OF COURSE HE ASKED HER OUT. OF COURSE!

    What a grade A loser. Bleurgh

  23. Cat Attack says:

    I lived in LA for over 25 years and have had many, many harrowing dealings with Hollywood/wellness/yoga communities, where narcissists love to work. (“Manifesting” means YOU have the power to call money, fame, any other desires down from the Universe. Also, if someone’s having a hard time, that’s on them, and we must all distance ourselves from that juju. Cruel, egotistical arrogance hidden in “vibes” and immeasurable intentions.) Purely from video assumption, Jada has seemed like she’s of that ilk and revels in creating psychosexual drama for supply, and I have felt bad for Will for a long time. At the very least, she’s been an unreliable narrator.

  24. Isabella says:

    @catattack, what terrible crime has Jada done? I see 2 men acting like jerks at the Oscars. Nobody has accused her of anything.

    Will Smith is a grown man with a great career and lots of $$$ He is nobody’s fool.

    • Cat Attack says:

      @Isabella, ya sorry, wasn’t specifically addressing the slap incident. I was just talking about how Will always seemed so sad and upset when they talked about their relationship. She has said over the years, how Tupac was her soulmate, and Will said he was insecure about that. He has talked with tears in his eyes that she didn’t really want to be in the kind of relationship he believed in, which seems like more traditional and monogamous. Then there’s the video of them arguing where she like cornered him to try and promote her Red Table Talk and he’s, again, teary and upset, and trying to ask her not to use him for clout. Then there’s the Alsina entanglement, where even Alsina is like you just got with me to make the man who’s loved you this whole time sad, and she had to like rush to clarify — oh it happened when we were separated but Will didn’t give permission and we are back together, and then now its like well we are actually separated. I’m sure you could find all that online.