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‘What We Don’t Want to See Is Angela Bassett Slapping’: Courtney B. Vance Recalls How He Kept Angela Bassett from Reacting to Woman Who ‘Cussed Them Out’ at Airport Amid Will Smith and Chris Rock Drama

Actress Angela Bassett is one of the most refined actresses in Hollywood, usually moving above reproach and never associated with drama. However, a lot of that has to do with her husband of almost a quarter century, Courtney B. Vance.

During an interview with “The Breakfast Club,” Vance shared about picking and choosing the times to check people for violating loved ones. While explaining how he understands protecting his family, he unpacked the need for discretion and wisdom in letting people know they “better not!”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 24: Courtney B. Vance (L) and Angela Bassett attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

One example he gave was how he had to stop his wife from slapping a woman in an airport. 

The Tony winner, who met his wife on a theater production in 1980, said the woman was provoking “Angie” and he wasn’t about to let that become a “TMZ” moment.

He spoke about a time when a woman approached them while they were leaving the airport and made a stop to pick up their luggage. Vance said he told the woman it was an “appropriate” time to get an autograph or picture. 

The “Preacher’s Wife” actor rationalized, “If you recognize us, then TMZ will” and it would turn into something bigger. 

Vance said he asked her to “please” give them their space.

The woman responded, “I just wanted …”

He interrupted her and said, “It’s just not the appropriate time.”

When the husband stopped the woman from talking to his wife, he says the fan continued to follow them and yelled at the “What’s Love Got to Do with It” star.

“She was cussing, trying to provoke her. I said, ‘Angie, just keep walking baby. We are going to our car. Just keep walking.’” Vance says while telling the story to DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God. “Then, she [the fan] said, ‘I never liked your movies anyway!’” 

Vance remembers he kept telling his wife not to turn around because there was more for them to lose had anyone responded.

“You have to understand the situation and be able to sometimes know [when] it’s time to step up and say, ‘Don’t you dare,” and sometimes you just gotta just walk away.” 

He said the airport story has now become folklore for their family to laugh about years later, jokingly calling the woman in the airport a “hussy.” Vance and Bassett are the parents of 15-year-old- twins, Bronwyn and Slater Vance.

The story not only makes the family laugh but made “The Breakfast Club” hosts chuckle also. Vance said it was right to tell his wife to keep walking, despite her wanting to clap back, because it could have been a problem.

“What we don’t wanna see is Angela Bassett pimp-slapping [anyone],” which was the reaction he believes the woman wanted. “You ain’t getting that. We’re not going down like that. We worked too hard, for an incident that’s just gonna be folklore in our mind.”

He talked to the hosts about how one event could impact one’s entire life, shifting the conversation to the recent Will Smith and Chris Rock Oscars incident.

“In that instance with Will,” he said. “That’s the situation where you go, ‘It’s good, Chris. I’ll talk to him later,’ and let him know ‘Don’t you ever, as long as you Black, put your mouth around my wife like that. That’s between you and me.’”

Vance believed the confrontation could have been private, so no one else would have known. In that secluded environment, the 62-year-old says he wishes Will would have said, “I love you and I know you love me, [but] don’t you ever disrespect our family again like that.”

The question arose asking but what if he did it again, a possibility since this is the second time Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, the Oscar winner’s wife, on the stage at the ceremony for the Academy Award.

The O.G. said, “Then in life, we don’t deal with him.”

“In terms of our circle,” Vance said to keep the peace, “I don’t have to be around him.”

At the 2022 Oscar awards, after Rock made an joke about Pinkett Smith’s bald head, her husband slapped the comedian during the live show. Rock says he did not know the 51-year-old claims she is suffering from alopecia when he made the joke.

Since the assault, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences issued a statement saying on April 18 that it “may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct,” against Smith. 

In a statement distributed to the press by his publicist, Smith resigned from the Academy and said he would “accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate.”

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