Although Will Smith's riposte to Chris Rock - "take my wife's name out your f**kin' mouth - at last year's Oscars has become infamous, it seems that there is more to the story that anyone first realised.

Smith reacted violently - and apparently passionately - when Rock made a joke at the expense of his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, whom he married in 1997.

However, Pinkett Smith has now dropped the bombshell that the pair have actually been separated and living apart since 2016.

With her memoir 'Worthy' set to be published later this month, the actress is ready to reveal parts of her life and told People that she and the 'Men in Black' star are "still figuring it out" despite being separated for seven years. "We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us."

She added: "I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be. I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever. And I just haven’t been able to break that promise… We live separately."

The actress also revealed her thoughts on the night of the Oscars slap, saying "I thought, ‘This is a skit'. I was like, ‘There’s no way that Will hit him.’ It wasn’t until Will started to walk back to his chair that I even realised it wasn’t a skit."

She added that Rock tried to apologise to her that same night. "Chris came down to the end of the stage and tried to apologise to me," she said. "He said, ‘I didn’t mean you any harm.’ I said, ‘I can’t talk about this now, Chris. This is some old shit.’"

In another interview, Pinkett Smith had suggested that her criticism of the Oscars on a previous year that Rock was hosting may have been a reason for him to take a pot-shot at her. And rather tellingly, she also claimed that he had previously asked her out on a date when rumours of her divorce from Smith had circulated years earlier. "I was like, ‘No. Chris, those are just rumours'," she said. "He was appalled. And he profusely apologised and that was that."