'Time Can Heal' (Source): Will Smith Is 'More Cautious' and Has 'Learned a Lot' Since Oscars Slap

Will Smith has grown since that infamous Oscars incident, according to multiple sources

Published Time: 04.06.2024 - 18:31:18 Modified Time: 04.06.2024 - 18:31:18

Will Smith has grown since that infamous Oscars incident, according to multiple sources.

The actor, 55, returns to the big screen in Bad Boys: Ride or Die opposite Martin Lawrence, the fourth installment in their action-comedy franchise that dates back to 1995.

Smith starred in the drama Emancipation months after the Oscars incident in 2022, though it had a much more limited theatrical release before streaming on Apple TV+. All eyes will be on Bad Boys at the box office to test Smith's staying power in Hollywood.

"I think he is ready for more of an impact with his work after laying low,” one friend of Smith tells PEOPLE. "He will always be a private guy in his personal life, but he loves the attention on the big screen that he richly deserves with his level of talent."

It's now been over two years since Smith got onstage at the Academy Awards on March 27, 2022, and hit Chris Rock in front of millions watching the ceremony. The confrontation was over a joke the comedian made about Smith's wife Jada.

Smith (who went on to win Best Actor that night) has since apologized and no charges were pressed. The Academy banned the actor from attending its events for 10 years.

A source in the film industry says Smith "has had plenty of time to -

reflect on his life and is doing well" now.

"He wants to move forward and continue with his career. His life has improved and he is optimistic with a lot of projects upcoming," adds that source.

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“Time can heal, and he will be more cautious about what he does," the source says. "That includes what kind of projects he takes on. He has learned a lot from everything that happened."

Additionally, another source in the entertainment industry says Smith's "life is better now" than before.

"Things are really great between Will and Jada," says another source close to the family. "She's in a good place, he's in a good place. She has been with him non-stop."

The actress, 52, previously revealed that she and Smith are separated but remaining married, and she has attended several Bad Boys premieres to support him.

The first source adds that Smith "is an emotional guy and knows he has made mistakes. He has been through all of this with help. It’s time to move forward."

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