Morgan Freeman is one of the most iconic, recognizable actors of his generation. Which is why when he emerged on stage at this year’s Oscars gala last night, fans wondered over the fact that he had donned a black glove. Stylistic preference, perhaps? A nod to a previous character he’s played?

No, actually, as it happens there’s a rather more somber explanation.

According to reports, Freeman, 85, has been forced to wear the glove since 2008, when he was involved in a serious car accident in Mississippi.

The Se7en actor had been driving home late one night when his car veered off the road, flipping several times before coming to an eventual stop in a ditch.

As per The Guardian, paramedics were quick to reach the scene but had to use hydraulic cutters to free the actor from his vehicle. Freeman was said to have been conscious throughout the ordeal and continued to make jokes with his rescuers.

The then-71-year-old actor’s injuries were fairly serious, however, and he had to be flown to a Memphis hospital located over 100 miles away from the scene of the crash.