Entertainment Movies Tyler Perry Admits Being Friends with Both Will Smith and Chris Rock 'Has Been Very Difficult' "I think he is very much in reflection," Tyler Perry said of his pal Will Smith, after the King Richard actor smacked Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards By Glenn Garner Glenn Garner Instagram Twitter Glenn Garner is a Writer/Reporter who works heavily with PEOPLE's Movies and TV verticals. Since graduating from Northern Arizona University with a dual major in journalism and photography, he got his professional start at OUT Magazine, The Advocate and Teen Vogue, and he's since consistently kept his finger on the pulse of the LGBTQ community. His first book The Guncle Guide was released in 2020 and was featured on Katie Couric's list of 100 recommended books of the year. People Editorial Guidelines Published on June 13, 2022 09:47 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage; Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage; Carlos Alvarez/Getty Tyler Perry has had to navigate a delicate dynamic in wake of the Will Smith and Chris Rock incident at the Oscars in March. During a Tribeca Film Festival Q&A on Monday with Gayle King, the Academy Award honoree, 52, opened up about the "very difficult" experience of being friends with both actors after Smith, 53, infamously smacked Rock, 57, at the 94th Academy Awards. "There's a difference between comforting and deescalating, that's number one," Perry said, recounting: "And I left early to get to Chris to make sure he was okay. Being friends with both of them has been very difficult." Tyler Perry Recalls 'Devastated' Will Smith Moments After Oscars Slap: 'He Couldn't Believe He Did It' Santiago Felipe/Getty Perry went on to detail what happened in the moments following the attack and how he attempted to console both his friends. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. "I was there, close up. I left early to go check on Chris because it was wrong in no uncertain terms, and I made sure I said that to Will," he said. "And I'll tell you, when we walked over to him, he was devastated. He couldn't believe what happened. He couldn't believe he did it. And I'm looking at this man in his eyes going, 'What are you doing? This is your night.' " Chris Rock Shuts Down Audience Member Cursing Out Will Smith at His Comedy Show in Boston "And to get all the way to this moment, winning an Oscar, that was one of the crowning moments of his career that he wanted so desperately. And to have something like that happen, I think he is very much in reflection of trying to figure out what happened," Perry continued. For more on Tyler Perry, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. He remained diplomatic, empathizing with both Smith and Rock, while acknowledging that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum was still in the wrong. "And trust me, as painful as it was for all of us in the room, it was as painful for Chris, who was a pure champion for the way he handled it," Perry said. "But I want you to understand that something happened that was extremely painful for [Will] as well. That is no excuse. He was completely wrong for what he did. But something triggered him — that is so out of everything he is." ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty The debacle at March's award show unraveled after Rock made light of Jada Pinkett Smith's hair loss (Pinkett Smith, 50, has been open about living with alopecia). "Jada, I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see ya," he joked. Will then walked onto the stage and slapped Rock in the face, leaving the audience and live viewers around the world stunned. "Oh wow," said Rock as Smith made his way back to his seat. "Will Smith just smacked the s— out of me." RELATED VIDEO: How Will Smith Smacking Chris Rock at the Oscars — and the Aftermath — Unfolded "Keep my wife's name out your f—ing mouth!" Smith yelled up to the stage after taking his seat. The King Richard star went on to win best actor later in the night. Will has since apologized to Rock and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which banned him from the awards show for 10 years. He can still be nominated and win one of the coveted awards.