Fresh Prince reunion: Will Smith reconciles with co-star Janet Hubert after decades-long feud

Annabel Nugent
·3-min read
Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Janet Hubert, Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, James Avery, and Will Smith in a promo shot for 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'. (Photo by Nbc/Stuffed Dog/Quincy Jones Ent/Kobal/REX)
Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Janet Hubert, Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, James Avery, and Will Smith in a promo shot for 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'. (Photo by Nbc/Stuffed Dog/Quincy Jones Ent/Kobal/REX)

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-stars Will Smith and Janet Hubert have opened up about their difficult relationship.

The touching reunion between the estranged actors took place during yesterday’s (18 November) one-off special, which saw the cast of the hit 1990s sitcom come together to discuss their time on the show.

Many viewers were surprised to see Hubert make an appearance given the unhappy terms on which herself and Smith had parted. In 1993, Hubert – who famously portrayed Aunt Viv – exited the show after being pushed out of the series. She was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid in season four.

In the time since her departure, Hubert has been vocal in her claims that it was Smith who was mostly responsible for making the show’s set inhospitable to her. As a result, there was a very public feud between the two actors that has continued for almost 30 years.

Hubert kicked off her one-on-one conversation with Smith by asking him: “Why? Why so far? You guys went so far. I lost so much. How do we heal?”

Hubert revealed that her third and final season on the series was especially tough due to the fact that she was pregnant, and also in an abusive marriage.

She said that it was because of these reasons that she wasn’t “laughing, smiling and joking” with her fellow actors as much as she had previously done.

“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,” she told Smith. “And they said it was you who banished me.”

Referencing Smith’s previous claims that Hubert had been difficult to work with, she added: “Calling a Black woman ‘difficult’ in Hollywood is the kiss of death. And it’s hard enough for a dark-skinned Black woman in this business.”

Smith admitted that he was not “sensitive” or “perceptive” to Hubert’s needs during her pregnancy, stating: “Now that I have three kids, I’ve learned some things that I did not know at the time and I would do things very differently. I can see how I made the set very difficult for Janet."

Fresh Prince fans were divided over Smith’s surprise admission. While many users praised Hubert for holding Smith “accountable”, some were unconvinced and claimed that it was a “half-a** apology”.

The Men In Black star added: “I didn’t know [about her circumstances] and when I look back now, it’s obvious that you were having a hard time. I felt like you hated me. “

The reunion episode also featured cast members’ audition tapes, behind-the-scenes footage and a touching tribute to the late James Avery, who had played Smith’s Uncle Phil.

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