It’s been 27 whole years since the highly publicised feud between The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-stars Will Smith and Janet Hubert (original Aunty Viv) but now, thankfully the duo at long last managed to make amends.
It all happened Nov.18 during “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion,” which premiered yesterday Nov. 19 on HBO Max. The highly anticipated reunion saw the cast of the hit 1990s sitcom come together to reflect on memorable moments on the show.
Many viewers had looked forward to Hubert’s appearance given the unhappy terms on which herself and Smith had parted. In 1993, Hubert, known for portraying Aunt Viv exited the show on unhappy terms, she was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid in season four. At the time after her departure, Hubert pointed accusing fingers at Smith saying it was mostly him who made the show’s set inhospitable to her. The feud lasted decades.
Smith and Hubert in a candid conversation opened up on their difficult relationship in front of fellow alums #TatyanaAli #KarynParsons #JosephMarcell #DaphneMaxwellReid and #AlfonsoRibeiro.
Prior to their chat, Smith told the other cast members:
“We never really together publicly talk about Janet and what happened,” Smith told the other cast members. “And for me, it felt like I couldn’t celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without finding a way to celebrate Janet. So she agreed to sit down and have a conversation with me. And Janet and I saw one another for the first time in 27 years yesterday.”
Hubert and Smith finally reunited on-camera and gave each other a lengthy hug. Kicking off her one-on-one conversation Hubert asked Smith: “Why? Why so far? You guys went so far. I lost so much. How do we heal?”
“It’s been a real long time,” Smith said.
During their heartfelt talk, Hubert discussed being pregnant during the show’s third season revealing “there was a lot of things going on in my life and Will’s life as well.”
Opening up about been in an abusive relationship, she said
“There was friction because I was pregnant. Homelife was not good at all. I was no longer laughing, smiling because there were things going on that nobody knew about.”
Hubert further cleared the air about rumours which made rounds that she was fired. Explaining, the actress said: “They offered this really bad deal in the third season. They said ‘You’ve got two months and two weeks of work and you cannot work anywhere else. “So that means my salary was cut. I had a new baby and a husband who was out of work. So I said no. I did not accept their offer. I was never fired.”
After leaving the “Fresh Prince,” Hubert felt “disowned” by Hollywood, and was reportedly told that Smith had had her “banished.”
“I was hurt deeply,” she continued. “When I left the show, I had this new baby and no one. Family disowned me. Hollywood disowned me. My family said, ‘You’ve ruined our name.’ And I wasn’t unprofessional on the set. I just stopped talking to everybody because I didn’t know who to trust because I had been banished. And they said it was you who banished me,” she said to Smith. “Because you were Will. It was hard.”
Smith admitted his own part in the situation, revealing that he wishes he knew then, at 21-years-old, what he knows now; “During that time of her pregnancy, I wasn’t sensitive, I wasn’t perceptive, and now that I’ve had three kids I’ve learned some things that I did not know at the time and I would do things very differently,” he said. “But I can see where I made the set very difficult for Janet.”
To Hubert, Smith explained that he felt like everything was a threat to him, and that he was driven by fear.
“I have children. I’ve been divorced and I have a second marriage, and I can see now the level of pain and the level of struggle that it was just for you to show up every day,” he said.
“But you took all of that away from me—with your words. Words can kill. I lost everything. Reputation. Everything. And I understand you were able to move forward, but you know those words, calling a Black woman difficult in Hollywood, is the kiss of death,” she said. “And it’s hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in this business. But I felt that it was necessary for us to finally move forward. And I’m sorry that I have blasted you to pieces.”
The pair apologized to each other, and Smith looked at Hubert and declared, “You’re still my Aunt Viv.” After the clip played Smith asked the rest of the cast for permission to invite Hubert on set.
“I don’t want to be that guy. I go out into the world and talk about understanding and human relationships and then have somebody that I haven’t spoken to in 27 years,” Smith said. “I’m so happy that we were able to make that reconciliation, and I hope other people can take something from it.”