Will Smith is still intent on repairing his relationship with Chris Rock, a source tells PEOPLE.
A year after the infamous incident at the 94th Academy Awards where Smith struck Rock onstage, Rock addressed the assault in his live Netflix comedy special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage on Saturday, asserting he “is not a victim.”
A source tells PEOPLE that Smith, 54, has “felt terrible for so long” about smacking Rock at the Oscars. “He’s tried unsuccessfully to make amends in the best way he could with Chris,” adds the source.
“But beyond that, family is important to him and [Smith] leaned on them” in the aftermath of the incident, the source says. “It all has helped him look inside and mature. He is better but still remorseful.”
“Will listened to those who tried to help him and feels that he has become a better person,” the source continues.
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Kirill Bichutsky/Netflix Chris Rock
During Rock’s comedy special on Saturday, which was filmed at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore and made for Netflix’s first-ever live broadcast, the comedian, 58, closed his show by focusing on the Oscars slap and applied the special’s title to Smith as he slammed him and his marriage.
But Rock’s scathing jokes in his Netflix comedy special about Will and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith may have widened the rift even further.
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“Will Smith practices selective outrage,” Rock said in his stand-up routine, adding of the Oscars slap: “Everybody that really knows knows I had nothing to do with that s—. I didn’t have any ‘entanglements.’ ”
Rock was referring to back in July 2020, when Jada, 51, opened up about having an “entanglement” with singer August Alsina years ago while she and Will were on a break. She explained at the time that she and Will eventually were able to repair their relationship, saying at the time: “We have really gotten to that new place of unconditional love.”