Tatyana Ali's 'heart aches' over Fresh Prince co-star Will Smith's Oscars slap

Tatyana Ali's "heart aches" over her The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.

The 43-year-old, who played Will's onscreen cousin Ashley Banks on the TV sitcom, told her Twitter followers over the weekend that she believes in her co-star, although Chris did not "deserve to be hit" for making a joke about Will's wife Jada Pinkett Smith on 27 March.

"I love #WillSmith very much. @chrisrock didn't deserve to be hit. Period," she wrote. "My heart aches for what has happened. I don't know what caused that chaos & confusion, but I do know that Will has a big heart. I've seen him many times try his best to do what is right. I believe in him."

Tatyana and Will starred alongside each other in all six seasons of the TV show between 1990 and 1996.

The Best Actor winner apologised for his "inexcusable and unacceptable" behaviour on Instagram the day after the Academy Awards and again in a statement on Friday in which he announced his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Academy is conducting a review of the incident and is considering what disciplinary action to take against the actor.