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Will Smith Has A Birthday Message For Fresh Prince Co-Star Janet Hubert After Resolving Their Longtime Feud

will smith laughing fresh prince of bel-air reunion hbo max
(Image credit: HBO Max)

When the cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast reunited for a candid conversation on HBO Max in 2020, it was the first time in 27 years that Will Smith had spoken to former co-star Janet Hubert. The reunion gave them a chance to put their long-held feud to rest, and over a year after they put their past behind them, Smith honored Hubert with a sweet message on her birthday.

Janet Hubert played Aunt Viv on the NBC sitcom when it premiered in 1990, but there was a lot of tension on the set surrounding contract negotiations, and Hubert left after three seasons. Daphne Maxwell Reid replaced Hubert as Aunt Viv for the second half of the series’ six-season run.

Since The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion on HBO Max, however, Will Smith and Janet Hubert’s feud is a thing of the past, and on January 13, the King Richard star shared a couple of photos of the actress on Instagram, including a classic throwback of the two of them from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, along with a sweet message on her special day. 

It’s so good to see that Will Smith and Janet Hubert have truly seemed to put their past issues behind them. Even in Smith’s message about another trip around the sun, there’s the reminder of the passage of time and years wasted between the two. Hubert has said they keep in touch and have a very good relationship now, and she thinks if they’d been able to have a conversation back then, the feud wouldn’t have gone on so long. 

Timing is everything though, and the actors had to get over a lot of pain to get to the right place to be able to communicate. Will Smith has called the conversation they had at the reunion “one of the most healing experiences of my life,” and said it played a big part in his being able to write his memoir, Will, which came out late in 2021.

Janet Hubert’s beef with Will Smith over the years included her saying that Smith screwed everyone over on the show, and she reacted to a previous reunion of the rest of the cast by saying that she had "no interest in seeing any of these people on that kind of level." 

Thank goodness she changed her mind! Otherwise she’d miss out on messages like this birthday post from someone who was present for such a big part in her life at one time. These days it’s just a regular love fest between the actors. Janet Hubert even raved about Will Smith’s latest movie, King Richard, saying she got emotional because she could relate to being a Black girl who loved playing tennis as a child.

All six seasons and the reunion special of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are streaming on HBO Max, and be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what shows are premiering soon.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.