Watch: Will Smith opens up about Oscar slap
In his first on camera interview since the incident which saw him banned from the ceremony for ten years, Smith discussed his actions.
The King Richard star went on to say: "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 went on to refer to that he was going through things emotionally that night: "It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That's not who I want to be."
The Oscar winner also pleaded for empathy: "In the audience right now, you're sitting next to strangers, and somebody's mother died last week. You know? Somebody's child is sick. Somebody just lost their job.
"Somebody just found out their spouse cheated. There's all these things, and you just don't know what's going on with people. And I was going through something that night."
Smith slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith's bald appearance. Pinkett Smith has alopecia which causes hair loss.
Smith has also been open about growing up in an abusive home where he witnessed his father assault his mother. In his memoir which was released last year, Smith detailed how his experience of domestic violence framed him as a man.
Smith is next set to star in Emancipation which is released later this year and features the Men in Black actor as an enslaved man who escapes to freedom.
Emancipation is streaming on Apple TV+ from 9 December.
Watch below: Will Smith understands if viewers aren't ready to watch new film after Oscars slap