Thirty years after the popular sitcom premiered, 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' star Will Smith and former co-star Janet Hubert have cleared the air about the controversial 'Aunt Viv' recast.
Janet Hubert, who played the original Aunt Viv in the 90's TV series for the first three seasons, was replaced by actress Daphne Maxwell Reid for the remaining series, which left fans confused by the swap.
Janet Hubert over the years hadn't been shy to slam her former co-stars, saying she had been fired by 'egomaniac' Will Smith, while Will was claimed to have said that Hubert wanted the show to be "The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air."
The two had not been seen together on TV until the recently released 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' TV reunion, where they finally laid to rest the details surrounding the controversy.
Janet revealed that when she got pregnant during the third season, it was a time where both she and Will had a lot of personal struggles in their lives. Janet revealed she was in an abusive marriage that the cast didn't know about, while Will as a 21-year-old felt as if "everything was a threat" to him, which made him "driven by fear".
Clearing up the rumours of being fired, Janet explained that she just didn’t accept the “really bad deal” offered to her that meant a reduced salary and not being allowed to work elsewhere. The mother of a newborn and wife of an out-of-work husband, Janet turned it down and was subsequently recast. “I was hurt deeply,” she says.
When I left the show, I had this new baby and no one. Family disowned me. Hollywood disowned me. 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 who to trust because I had been banished. And they said it was you who banished me. Because you were Will. It was hard.
Will explained in a separate confession to the camera that he understands how he had made the set very difficult for Janet. “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."
The reconciliation between the two has meant that both Aunt Vivs finally met, as well as allowed the cast to reunite for the first time in 27 years.
"I go out into the world and talk about understanding and human relationships and then have somebody that I haven’t spoken to in 27 years. I’m so happy that we were able to make that reconciliation, and I hope other people can take something from it," said Will Smith.