Will Smith 'Deeply Remorseful' Months After Chris Rock Slap: 'He Is Still Doing a Lot of Work' (Source)

"He's deeply remorseful, he is still doing a lot of work and he's also human and made a mistake," a source tells PEOPLE of Will Smith

Will Smith posted his recent apology video to Chris Rock in an effort to move forward from their Oscars incident — and he's still working on himself.

On Friday, Smith, 53, shared a video on his social-media channels in which he apologized to Rock and explained that he has been doing "a lot of thinking and personal work" in the months since he hit the comedian onstage at the March 27 ceremony.

A source tells PEOPLE of Smith, "From a person who has never displayed anything like [the slap], he's very aware that isn't someone he will ever be again," adding, "He's deeply remorseful, he is still doing a lot of work and he's also human and made a mistake. He's going to move forward with the same positivity that he always had."

"If you spend your life beating yourself up over one thing then it's really hard to move forward as the positive, joyful person that you know you are," says the insider. "But he's also in a very human place, recognizing that mistake and really looking at it and not brushing over it. He really needed to do the work, and that was very important to him."

Addressing Smith's decision to post the video, the source says: "There was no rhyme or reason to it other than time had passed, work had been done, the same questions had been bubbling up and also people were really wanting to hear from him in other ways, not even about this."

For more on Will Smith and Chris Rock, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"There was just a general feeling that it's time and he's at a place where he had more things he wanted to say," the insider adds. "He has always had that direct connection to people on social media and he felt it was appropriate now to show up and answer some questions. And he read them and answered them honestly."

"He's worked with a therapist, people saw him in India at an ashram, but a lot of it has just been quietly at home," says the source.

In the video, Smith said, "I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out. So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I'm here whenever you're ready to talk."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Will Smith Apologizes to Chris Rock in New Video: 'I'm Here Whenever You're Ready to Talk'
Will Smith; Chris Rock. Will Smith/Youtube; MediaPunch/Shutterstock

Smith explained that he is "trying to be remorseful without be ashamed of myself," adding, "I'm human. I made a mistake and I'm trying not to think of myself as a piece of s---."

The actor also addressed his disappointed fans: "I hate when I let people down. It hurts me psychologically and emotionally to know I didn't live up to people's image and impression of me."

"I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking, but I promise you I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world," continued the King Richard actor. "And if you hang on, I promise we'll be able to be friends again."

At the Oscars, Smith walked onstage and hit Rock, 57, on live television after taking issue with a joke made about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. (The joke was about Jada's shaved head; she lives with alopecia.) Smith said in a statement days later that the punchline was "too much for me to bear" and he "reacted emotionally."

Smith, who later resigned from the Academy and was banned from attending their ceremonies for the next 10 years, said in his statement at the time, "I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."

Jada, 50, addressed the incident on an episode of her Red Table Talk show, saying, "About Oscar night: My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile. With the state of the world today, we need 'em both, and we all actually need one another more than ever. Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years — and that's [to] keep figuring out this thing called life together."

Meanwhile, Rock said during his stand-up performance Friday at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, "Everybody is trying to be a f---ing victim. If everybody claims to be a victim, then nobody will hear the real victims. Even me getting smacked by [Smith] ... I went to work the next day, I got kids." He also added, "Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face."

Rock is gearing up for the fall release of his new film Amsterdam, in which he stars alongside Christian Bale and Margot Robbie. He's also currently dating Lake Bell, with whom he was recently spotted touring Croatia.

Related Articles