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Fresh Prince Alums Alfonso Ribeiro And Tyra Banks Recall Their On-Screen Romance Getting Cut Short By Will Smith

Jackie and Carlton (Tyra Banks and Alfonso Ribeiro) on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
(Image credit: NBC)

On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Carlton Banks did well if he got one or two love interests a season. Meanwhile, his cousin, Will Smith, had a cavalcade of girlfriends over six seasons -- with one or two serious relationships in the mix. It seemed things might turn for Alfonso Ribeiro when one of the show’s most notable guest stars, Tyra Banks, popped up as Jackie in Season 4. Unfortunately, those plans didn’t work out, as she was revealed to be a childhood friend of Will. Years after the series ended, the Fresh Prince alums recalled their co-star's character cutting their on-screen romance short.

The former co-stars have reconnected but not romantically, as they prepare to co-host the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars. It's hard to believe that the two entertainers haven’t shared the screen since The Fresh Prince Season 4. While speaking about the new season with The New York Post, Tyra Banks and Alfonso Ribeiro reminisced about the short-lived romance between Carlton and Jackie. It led to the following exchange between the co-hosts:  

Tyra Banks: We were love interests for one act. … It was Jackie, and Carlton and we were so into each other.

Alfonso Ribeiro: And then she sees Will. And the short guy gets dissed again. And it broke my heart a little bit.

Of course, Will Smith had come between Banks and Ribeiro. I mean, it wouldn’t have been The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air if Will (the character) didn’t get all the beautiful women who came through the classic sitcom. Unfortunately, it was to the detriment of Carlton’s love life.

After mentioning Alfonso Ribeiro mentioned that Carlton was heartbroken over the missed connection, the America’s Next Top Model creator got a little cheeky. She asked Ribeiro if it was him or his character that felt the pain. Ribeiro quipped that both he and Carlton were heartbroken over the situation. The fan-favorite actor went on to explain why he was disappointed by the development:

I wanted the story to continue. I wanted to have a love interest on the show. I wanted to be cool.

It's understandable that the star would've wanted the geeky Carlton to finally get a meaningful relationship, especially as the character began college. Sure, the preppy Bel-Air native had a few notable flings, but no recurring love that spanned a season or two. While Carlton wasn't made worse for not having had a steady girlfriend, a romance could've been great for him.

When it comes to Dancing with the Stars, viewers should only expect sparks to fly between those on the dancefloor, though. The reality dancing competition series’ shift to streaming marked Alfonso Ribeiro's new role after Tyra Banks hosted solo for Seasons 29 and 30. )The new season will premiere on September 19 and will be accessible with a Disney+ subscription.) Upon hearing the news of his hiring, former hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews sent Ribeiro some love. The congratulations were a full-circle moment as the Fresh Prince star credited his AFHV predecessor for getting him back on track in Hollywood.

But getting back to Fresh Prince, it would've been interesting had Jackie and Carlton paired up. I guess, at the very least, we can appreciate the fact that the actors who played them would've been all for it. It's a small bit of validation but validation nonetheless.

If you want to reminisce about what could’ve been between Alfonso Ribeiro and Tyra Banks, binge The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Season 4 by getting an HBO Max subscription. After you finish watching that season, watch every other season of the classic sitcom to see Carlton and Will’s relationship grow.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).