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Sheree Zampino is a star of the 12th season of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,’ and she knows a thing or two about facing the bright lights of Hollywood as the ex-wife of Will Smith and mother of their son, Trey.
While Smith faced a strong backlash for his on-air reaction to a joke Chris Rock told about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith during the 94th Academy Awards, Zampino told Fox News Digital exclusively. that she never discussed the incident with their son after the Oscars.
“Believe it or not, we never had a conversation,” she said. Zampino recalled their brief interaction shortly after Oscar night, asking Trey, “‘Are you okay?’ Dad… how’s dad?'”
She recalled Trey telling her “Dad’s awesome, Mom” after the incident in March. “That was it.”
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“‘Are you okay? I just want to know, is everyone okay?’ That’s how I’ve always been with him. I never questioned him,” she said. “I don’t ask him a thousand questions. I think it’s a bad parental gesture when the child is with the other [parent] and come back, and you ask them a million questions.”
Smith shared a public apology on YouTube earlier this month after slapping Rock on the TV show. Shortly after the incident, he won Best Actor for his role in ‘King Richard’.
A few days later, Smith announced his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a statement provided to Fox News Digital, saying he had “betrayed the trust of the Academy.” The Academy also announced that Smith had been banned from attending the Oscars or any other Academy event for 10 years.
Zampino didn’t comment on Smith slapping Rock at the awards show at the time, but instead praised him on Instagram and said family comes first. “Epic night! Congratulations again – when 1 wins, we all win! #family1st,” she captioned the photo.
Regarding her relationship with her son, Zampino tells Fox News Digital that she appreciates the bond she has cultivated with Trey, who is nearly 30 years old. “With their relationship, you don’t have to know all the details. If they want to share it, that’s one thing, but don’t force it. It’s just the kind of flow we’ve always had. ” she says.
She thanked her late mother Pat for setting a positive example in how she wanted to raise her future children.
Zampino’s parents had two children and were never married. His father married later in life and had a son, Richard, whom his mother always welcomed into their home.
“Sometimes you’re taught…not to like the ex and the new wife, but my mom was an example to me in that regard,” she said. “She just said to me, ‘Children aren’t asking to be born. They’re here. So you can’t really entrust your business to them.'”
She recalled the pain her mother, a black woman, felt at seeing the rejection of Zampino’s paternal Italian grandfather who had a problem with his grandchildren “being biracial”.
“She loved children,” Zampino said. “She hurt for us. She wouldn’t dare do that to another child, avoided another child based on anything other than who he is.”
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Her relationship with her own son, Trey, has only benefited from her approach to letting her son exist exactly as he is without letting his own world interfere in his life.
“A big part of your job is to protect your child and protect them, especially from you,” she said. “But then, as he gets older… We’re able to have real conversations. He’s so wise, he literally gives me the best advice. I’m so grateful to him.”
Sheree feels “honoured” to be a positive change in promoting how blended family dynamics can evolve.
She said the 2018 “Red Table Talk” where she sat down with Jada to talk about the start of Pinkett Smith’s relationship with her ex, which began after Zampino and Smith split in 1995, was a ” powerful episode and conversation”.
“I’m lucky that we were lucky enough to have this in such a public way, and we didn’t hold anything back,” she said.
As a true fan of the show, she was connected to “RHOBH” through her friend, Garcelle Beauvais, who also dated Will.
“It was funny because people say, ‘You two are friends, and she was dating [Smith]. I said, look, you know, that’s what it is. It wasn’t like they were dating when we were together. We broke up and then they formed a connection and I didn’t know it.”
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Sheree joked that Garcelle kept her own dating history a secret until they formed their bond: “She slipped that after we were friends.”
Zampino recalled doubting if she was making the right choice when she heard she might have the opportunity to join “Housewives.”
“Garcelle reached out,” she said, recalling a conversation with her longtime friend who has been on the show since season 10.
“My knee-jerk reaction was to say ‘no’ and then it was like, you know, what are you even saying no to? You don’t even have to refuse anything. At least be able to refuse it. The end of the game might not be the ending you thought it was. So I said, ‘Just let me be ready to move on.'”
Zampino was “grateful” to be so welcomed into the group and connected quickly with “most of the women”, but was surprised to form a bond with Erika Jayne.
“I’m a fan of the show, so I watched the show for many years, and I just didn’t think it was emotionally accessible,” she said. “I found out she was, so that was a nice surprise. I was like, ‘Oh, she’s human!'”
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As for the rest of the season, Zampino was excited for Bravo fans to see what’s in store and said, “buckle your seat belts.”
She also reassured viewers that she was waiting for the offer to be promoted to full-time housewife status.
“I was not offered the diamond,” she said. “I want to be offered the diamond. I’m going to say it very, very clearly. But I want to be asked.”