HBO Max's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion was full of big emotional moments, but none were more memorable than Will Smith and original Aunt Viv, Janet Hubert, reconciling their decades-long feud. Hubert played Aunt Viv for the first three seasons of the iconic series but was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid beginning with Season 4. Among many of the reasons she's provided in the past for why she left the show, Hubert had previously referred to Smith as an "egomaniac."
He too hurled insults, once saying that Hubert wanted the series to be "The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air." Surprising both the viewers and his fellow castmates, Smith introduced a clip of him and Hubert having a candid, loving conversation about their differences. "As a family, we have our things that we talk about and then we have our things that we don’t talk about," he began. "We never really, together, publicly talk about Janet. And what happened. And, for me, it felt like I couldn’t celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without finding a way to celebrate Janet." Scroll down to read more about their chat, and see what fans were saying on social media.
After exchanging a long hug, Hubert said to Smith, "I just wanted to know one thing: Why? You guys went so far. I lost so much. How do we heal that?"prevnext
Janet Hubert - My favorite #AuntViv ! Glad to hear they buried the hatchet! 💛— J (@JasonBKNY) November 19, 2020
Smith then explained that it would be very helpful for him to hear her side of the story, to which Hubert responded it was very "tough." She shared that she got pregnant in Season 3, which was both a joyful and complicated situation, and also revealed that she'd been suffering in an abusive marriage that the rest of the cast did not know about.prevnext
I’m glad they were able to peace it up! It was beautiful— CL$€ 🕊️ (@iamclsc) November 19, 2020
"During that time of her pregnancy, I wasn’t sensitive, I wasn’t perceptive," Hubert said, "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." In a separate confessional moment, Smith admitted that he could see where he "made the set very difficult for Janet."prevnext
It’s never too late to heal old wounds and understand life is too short for all this beefing 💩.— JimmyMotenIII601 (@JMotenIII) November 19, 2020
Hubert also clarified that she was never actually fired from the show, but rather, she refused to accept the "really bad deal" they offered her to continue. Had she taken the offer, she would have been working less at a reduced salary, but would also not be allowed to work anywhere else either. This situation "deeply hurt" her.prevnext
It was THIS part that really got me! Janet was absolutely right! Calling a dark-skinned BW “difficult” knowing how hard it is for people who look like her in Hollywood was horrible. Will hurt her deep!— 𝐵𝑒𝒸𝒸𝒶 (@MJFINESSELOVER) November 19, 2020
"When I left the show, I had this new baby and no one. Family disowned me. Hollywood disowned me," Hubert said, "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. Because you were Will. It was hard."prevnext
When she said that, it made so much sense. I know she can’t get back the years that she was effectively black balled but I hope Will does everything in his power to help a talent like hers be utilized in the industry again. @shondarhimes @tylerperry @Oprah 👀— jimmi newjawns 🇧🇧 (@mykyxrlt) November 19, 2020
Smith shared how he was feeling at the time, being a 21-year-old with so much on his shoulders, saying that he believed "everything was a threat" to him. "I was so driven by fear," he said. "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."prevnext
This moment GOT me. The emotion, tears, and then joy to see the two Aunt Viv's meet for the first time.— Jamie McCarty 🇺🇸 (@JamieMcCarty) November 19, 2020
Hubert very honestly replied, "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. 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 ended their conversation with tears in their eyes, as Smith thanked Hubert for her honesty. "You’re still my Aunt Viv," he lovingly said.prev