“You took it all away from me with your words,” Hubert told Will, who admits he “made the set very difficult” for his former bonfire.
After the nasty breakup between Janet Hubert and the cast of “The Fresh Prince of Bell Air”
; when she was replaced before the show’s fourth season 27 years ago, the original Banks family finally put the feud behind them.
Hubert was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reed after the third season of the 90’s comedy sitcom, before star Will Smith claimed it was difficult to work in the following years. Although she, too, would hit him in almost any interview she could, Smith extended an olive branch for the new 30-year special date that fell Wednesday night on HBO Max.
In the middle of the 15-hour special – during which Smith reunited with everyone else on the show except Hubert – Will commented that they had never “really, together in public” talked about what had happened to Janet. “I felt like I couldn’t celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without finding a way to celebrate Janet,” he explained, before showing them footage of a conversation he had with Hubert the day before.
Before the conversation began, both Smith and Hubert admitted to individual confessors the problems they had in the beginning.
“During this third season, when I got pregnant, a lot of things happened in my life and in Will’s life. There was some friction because I was pregnant. Home life wasn’t good at all,” Hubert explained. “I didn’t laugh anymore, I smiled, I joked because things were happening that no one knew about. The cast had no idea what was going on.”
Smith admitted that he was “not sensitive” to her situation. “I was not shrewd and now that I have three children, I learned some things I didn’t know at the time and I would have done things completely differently,” he told the camera. “I understand why I made the set very difficult for Janet.”
She went on to explain that she had been offered a “really bad deal” where she would only work for two months and two weeks and could not work anywhere else. “It meant my salary was reduced, I had a new baby and a husband who was out of work. I said no,” she said. “I did not accept their offer. I was never fired. The misconception was always exposed there. I was trapped, what could I do. “
When the decision was made to rework the role, Hubert said she was “deeply hurt, deep. “
Hubert and Smith greeted each other with a hug as they acknowledged how much time had passed since they had been in the same room. Saying that the gathering was “difficult” for her, Hubert began by asking him a question that had been on her mind for years.
“I just wanted to know one thing, why? Why so far? You’ve gone so far, I’ve lost so much,” she said. “How do we heal?”
As Will told Hubert that he “didn’t know your story,” she told him she was “crazy” before telling her in detail what was going on in her life when she left the show.
“When I left the show, I had this new baby and no one. The family denied me, Hollywood denied me, my family said you ruined our name, and I wasn’t unprofessional on set,” she told Smith. “I just stopped talking to everyone because I didn’t know who to trust, I was kicked out. They said you kicked me out. Because you were Will, you were a kid. It was hard.”
“You didn’t realize I was going through a lot at home. You didn’t know,” she said before claiming she was in a “very forced marriage.”
Looking back – thanks to his own experience with children, marriage and divorce – Smith said that “he can now see the level of pain and the level of struggle, that it’s just for you to show up every day.”
“He took it all away from me with his words. Words can kill. I lost everything. Reputation, everything, everything“she continued.” I understand you’ve been able to move forward, but you know those words, calling a black woman in Hollywood is a kiss of death. It’s hard enough when you’re a dark-skinned black woman in this business. “
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In what she told him, she said she now “feels it is necessary for us to finally move forward” before apologizing for “smashing them to pieces” in the media for years.
“First of all, thank you for sharing this with me. I didn’t know what. When I look back now, it’s obviously hard for you and I felt like you hated me,” he replied. “I couldn’t make a 30-year celebration of this show and not celebrate you. To celebrate your contribution to this show and to celebrate your contribution to my life.”
He then told her that he hoped to be someone who could protect her ahead, not “someone who unleashed dogs on you.” He added, “You’re still my Aunt Viv!”
After mixing it one-on-one, Smith asked the rest of the cast if they would open up talking to her. They all said they would be happy – as Reed, her deputy, revealed that the two had never met before.
This was followed by footage of Hubert reuniting with everyone in the cast before finally embracing Reed – something Karin Parsons (aka Hillary) says is “the most amazing thing.”
“It was chilling. It was a dream come true. It was a moment in full circle,” added DJ Jazzy Jeff – while Tatiana Ali said that testifying to their embrace “made my heart really full.”
Hubert said being with the rest of the cast was “amazing and wonderful” before Smith hoped others could take something from them so they could finally bury the ax.
The full special meeting of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” is now available on HBO Max.