Cherie Zampino says She “froze” when Ex Will Smith hit Chris Rock: “I couldn’t figure it out”

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A moment she will never forget. Cheri Zampino was as shocked as everyone else when her ex-husband Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars in 2022, but she has hope for reconciliation between the two men.

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“It was one of those moments when I froze,” the 54—year-old “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star told Us Weekly exclusively on Monday, August 8.]. And when it doesn’t make sense at the moment… we didn’t even really have time. I didn’t even do it.”

The New York native said later she still “couldn’t figure it out,” but she thinks a public reunion of the 53-year-old Oscar winner and the 57-year-old comedian would be a “powerful” moment.

“When will Chris and Will be able to come together, publicly heal and forgive each other?” she mused to Us. “Do you know how many people this will help and free? So I see this as an opportunity.”

Zampino, who was married to Smith from 1992 to 1995, celebrated her ex-husband’s big win after the Academy Awards in March. “Congratulations @willsmith — you are more than worthy!” she wrote via Instagram at the time. The reality star, who has a son Trey, 29, from Smith, did not attend the ceremony, but she later posed with the “Men in Black” star and his trophy, joking that the statue was her new boyfriend.

Cherie Zampino, Will Smith and Chris Rock. Shutterstock (3)

Last month, the King Richard actor apologized to Rock in a long video posted on Instagram. The Philadelphia native said he contacted the alumni of the Saturday Night Live show after the Oscar incident, but Rock told him he didn’t want to discuss the situation yet.

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“In response, a message came that he was not ready to talk,” Smith said in the video. “And when he is, he will stretch out his hand. So I’ll tell you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m always there when you’re ready to talk.”

However, an insider later informed us that Rock “has no plans to meet one-on-one” with the Miami rapper in the near future. “He’s moving forward,” a source said earlier this month.

Despite any lingering tension, Zampino says her ex is behaving “amazing” after the scandalous moment. “I think the reason he’s so successful is because he did it with great dignity, he did it with great grace,” she told Us. “Will will always be fine.”

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The Whoop Ash founder has previously said she doesn’t think star Ali and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith are watching RHOBH, but if she continues her participation in the show, she’s willing to let the cameras capture her relationship with Trey. (Zampino joined the cast as a “friend” in the 12th season of Bravo, which premiered in May.)

“I like our dynamics. I like the relationship we have as mother and son,” she told Us, adding that she thinks Trey would have agreed to participate in the show if she had asked. “I do not know how often he will do it, but I think he will be in the game.”

“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” airs on Bravo Wednesdays at 20:00 ET.

With a report by Cristina Garibaldi

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