Gregg DeGuire/WireImage, Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty, Steve Granitz/FilmMagic From left: Chris Rock, Nia Long, Will Smith
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, the Best Man: The Final Chapters actress opened up about communicating with both actors after Smith, 54, struck Rock, 57, in the face earlier this year during the 94th Academy Awards.
"I checked on him and Chris, because I'm friends with both of them," said Long, 52. "That was hard for me, because those are like my brothers, both of them."
Smith smacked Rock at the March 27 ceremony shortly before his win for Best Actor, when he walked onstage and hit the comedian on live TV for making a joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. (Jada, 51, lives with alopecia.)
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Getty (2) Chris Rock; Will Smith
The actor explained in a statement days later that the punchline was "too much for me to bear" and he "reacted emotionally."
In the weeks following the show, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was eventually banned from attending Academy events for a decade. He has since apologized multiple times for his actions, including to Rock.
In her interview with THR, Long — who starred with Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and in multiple films, and appeared alongside Rock in the documentaries Good Hair (2009) and The N Word (2004) — said she is hoping they can bury the hatchet.
"I guess my prayer is that they can come to a place where they can at least be civil with one another and make peace," she said.
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Smith opened up more about the incident on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Monday, admitting, "There's many nuances and complexities to it, you know, but at the end of the day, I just — I lost it."
"It was a lot of things," he said about the motivation for his actions and his past history of fearing conflict. "It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother. All of that bubbled up in that moment ... You know, just, that's not who I want to be ... I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time."
Smith added in reference to Trevor Noah describing the awards show as one of the "best and worst" nights of the actor's life, "I have no independent recollection ... That was a horrific night, as you can imagine."
The Men in Black actor is about to return to the big screen for the first time since the Oscars in the slavery epic Emancipation, for which he is still technically eligible to be nominated for another Academy Award.
"But he wouldn't be able to accept the award in person if he were to win," Entertainment Weekly Awards Correspondent Dave Karger told PEOPLE.