Will Smith apologizes to the Academy in tearful speech after slapping Chris Rock

'I want to apologize to the Academy and fellow nominees'

Will Smith has apologized, during a tearful acceptance speech, after slapping Chris Rock in a shocking Oscars moment.

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Moments before Will won Best Actor, he walked on stage and attacked Chris over a comment he had made over his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

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WATCH: Will Smith apologizes during tearful speech

"Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family, and in this time of my life, in this moment I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world," Will began.

"I am being called on in my life to love people and to protect people, and to be a river to my people, and I know to do what we do you have to be able to take abuse and have people talk crazy about you, and in this business you have to be able to have people disrespecting you and you have to smile and pretend it's ok," he continued.

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"Denzel said a few minutes ago, 'At your highest moment be careful as that is when the devil comes for you.' It's like, I want to be a vessel for love. I want to apologize to the Academy and fellow nominees."

Will was in tears throughout the speech

Chris had appeared on stage to present Best Documentary and mocked Jada Pinkett Smith's new look, joking: "Jada, love you, GI Jane 2, can't wait to see it!"

He was referencing her shaved head, a style she chose after sharing she has been suffering with alopecia.

But as Chris went to continue his speech, Will stormed the stage and slapped Chris with the sound being picked up on his mic.

Will was bleeped by ABC

As Chris tried to continue talking, ABC cut the sound but the mics were still live, and other territories aired the scene, with Chris trying to diffuse the situation by calling out "it was a GI Jane joke".

The camera froze but then turned back on and was focused on Will who was screaming at Chris: "Shut your mouth, keep my wife's name out of your [expletive] mouth."

"I am going to," replied a clearly rattled Chris. 

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