Will Smith stormed the stage of the Oscars and hit Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

Smith, who won his first Academy Award for King Richard, appeared to take offence to a gag Rock made about Pinkett Smith’s short haircut.

The Magic Mike XXL star and Red Table Talk host has previously spoken about her experiences with hair loss and said it is what prompted her to shave her head.

Referring to Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, Rock said: “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2”, prompting the actress to roll her eyes.

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However, Smith walked up on stage and appeared to hit Rock before returning to his seat and shouting twice: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth.”

Rock appeared shocked and flustered as he tried to resume presenting the best documentary feature category.

He said: “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”

He handed the prize to The Roots star Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson for his film Summer Of Soul.

After Rock left the stage Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs appeared and said: “Will and Chris, we’re gonna solve that like family at the gold party.”

The incident cast a cloud over Smith’s acceptance speech for his first ever Oscar, after he was named best actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard.

 

Smith apologised to both the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not to Rock, as he collected his gong, joking that he “looks like the crazy father.”

Breaking down in tears, he said: “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family.

“In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling me to do and be in this world.”

He added: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.

“I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, you’ve got to be able to have people talk crazy about you in this business.

“You’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend like that’s OK.”

He added: “I want to apologise to the Academy, I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees.

“This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award, it’s not about winning an award for me, it’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people.”

He continued: “Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.”

After paying tribute to his mother and his family he added: “Thank you for this honour, thank you for this moment…I hope the Academy invites me back.”