Last fall, HBO Max released a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special in honor of the series’ 30th anniversary. Joining the special was Janet Hubert, who played Will Smith’s Aunt Viv for the first three seasons before being replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. Smith and Hubert sat down together for the special for the first time in 27 years to discuss why she had left the show, and Alfonso Ribeiro has spoken out about the emotional moment.
I was very happy for the both of them. I was very happy that they found that space for themselves, to get over and to get past what has happened in the past. I’m happy for Will and for Janet specifically to have found peace in that.
There were speculations that Janet Hubert was difficult to work with and Will Smith had her fired, thus starting the feud. The two hashed out the events that surrounded her departure during the special and it was revealed that Hubert turned down an offer to return for 10 weeks of filming Season 4, which would have included a salary cut and a clause preventing her from taking other jobs outside of Fresh Prince.
In January, Tatyana Ali, who played Ashley Banks throughout all six seasons, recalled a sweet moment during the reunion with Janet Hubert and Daphne Maxwell Reid that wasn’t even shown. It’s great to know that after everything that has happened, Hubert and the rest of the cast, especially Will Smith, have buried the hatchet and have pretty much been given a fresh start.
Last year, Janet Hubert spoke out about the real reason why she ended up leaving the series, saying that she was pregnant at the time and her home life was not good. None of the cast knew what was going on and she was offered a bad deal for Season 3. She didn’t accept the offer and she was told they were going to replace her. Daphne Maxwell Reid stuck around for the back half of the series, but it’s always a wonder how the series would have ended up if Hubert was around for those last seasons.
It’s refreshing to know that the cast has cleared the air with each other and Janet Hubert, and that the reunion made everyone emotional and happy. It was a long time coming but it was worth it. Maybe Janet Hubert and Will Smith will work together again in the future!