"Now this is a story all about how," Will Smith's "life got flipped turned upside down" when he met a woman from New York and incorrectly compared most of the Empire State to Canada.

You'd probably have to be living under a rock to not know about the Will Smith controversy at the 2022 Academy Awards.

Smith went on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock in the face after Rock made a joke about Smith's now-wife Jada Pinkett.

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Many years before the infamous slap, Smith took a proverbial swing at most of the Empire State.

Around 1990, Will Smith met Sheree Zampino of Schenectady, New York. Zampino and Smith got married in 1992. They have one child together and divorced in 1995.

Actor Will Smith
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In his book, "Will," Smith recounts meeting the New York native, Zampino.

At the time, Smith was the star of the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” He was out a taping of “A Different World” in L.A. when he spotted a "gorgeous, caramel-skinned woman in the front-row center."

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Smith had to go over and introduce himself. Zampino told Smith she was from New York.

He later learned Zampino was from Schenectady.

"Near Albany, damn near Canada,” he writes in his book, according to the Time Union.

Canada map with provinces. All territories are selectable. Vector

Smith who's famously from "West Philadelphia born and raised" for some reason took offense to Zampino saying she was from New York. Which is strange, because, of course, she's from New York!

“Now, here’s the deal,” Smith told his future wife. “We’re just meeting, so I’m-a give you a pass on this one. But the next time somebody asks you where you’re from, you are forbidden to say ‘New York’ when you know damn well you are from Schenectady.”

Actor/rapper Will Smith arrives
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In his memoir, Smith recounts as he continued his verbal beating of the Captial Region.

“It’s misleading and an utter misrepresentation of the truth If you tell people you’re from New York, they’re thinking the Bronx, Brooklyn — I mean hell, even Staten Island … then they find out you’re from Schenectady? F__ing Schenectady is not New York,” he reiterated. “You’re sitting here representing Canada. You should be wearing a maple leaf sweater and handing out sap," Smith told the Schenectady native.

Pure Nova Scotia Maple Syrup

I know you might be thinking, Smith is doing a lot of cursing for someone who famously "don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell records."

Smith's verbal assault on New York State, minus New York City, was his form of flirting. He writes in his book, that Zampino was laughing the entire time.

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"You are a dumb man," Zampino told him.

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Clearly, it worked because the two began dating and later married.


For the record, Schenectady is closer to New York City than Canada. It's 163 miles from the Bronx and 173 miles to Canada, the Times Union reports.

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