‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ reunion sheds light on Will Smith, costar’s issues

Will Smith apologized to his former costar Janet Hubert during the HBO Max reunion show

Could There Be a 'Fresh Princess of Bel-Air' Reboot? According to TMZ, the company that owns the rights to 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' filed trademark applications for rights to 'Fresh Princess.' The name is also currently being trademarked for merchandise, including bags, backpacks, clothing and footwear. TMZ recently reported There is no word on whether Will Smith will be joining the reboot.

On Thursday, the world was able to witness the long-awaited reconciliation between “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Will Smith and the first actress to play Aunt Viv, Janet Hubert.

The show was one of the most popular of the 1990s and catapulted Smith, who started his career as a rapper, into superstardom. HBO Max has been streaming the six-season run of the show to eager fans. On Nov. 19, the network aired a special celebrating the show with the cast members. The cast mates, including Alfonso Ribeiro and Tatyana Ali, were featured on the program, and each shared never-before-heard stories about their experience on the show. James Avery, who played Uncle Phil, passed away in 2013, but the special delivered a tribute to the iconic television dad.

The most anticipated part of the show was to be the moment of the “Bad Boys” star and Hubert sharing a heart-to-heart about their time on the show. About 45 minutes into the broadcast, Smith shared with the cast that he spoke to Hubert separately. Once reunited on screen, Hubert admitted Smith was not aware of her turbulent life off-camera. She was in an abusive marriage and soon to deliver a child before contract negotiations ended her time on the show.

Smith apologized for how he treated his costar during this difficult time.

“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,” Smith admits. “But I can see where I made the set very difficult for Janet.”

Hubert, who played the beloved aunt to streetwise Will on the show, was featured on “Fresh Prince” during its first three seasons. Once the fourth season began, Hubert was no longer on the show and was suddenly replaced by actress Daphne Maxwell Reid. Rumors swirled that Smith and Hubert butted heads over acting chops and the growing prevalence of Smith’s role on the show.

Shortly after Hubert’s departure in 1993, Smith suggested the actress left due to jealousy.

“I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show,” he told an Atlanta radio station. “She’s mad now but she’s been mad all along. She said once, ‘I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.’ No matter what, to her I’m just the AntiChrist.”

Years later, Hubert in 2011 made comments about Smith, expressing doubt that a reunion would happen and referring to him as an “egomaniac.”

Hubert said Smith’s comments back then affected her career. Despite the toll on her career, she also apologized to Smith for her interviews lambasting him.

“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 reunion special is now available on HBO Max. Here’s a trailer for the special.