Will Smith Buries the Hatchet with Janet HubertJanuary 13, 2021
It’s one of the most well-known and well-quoted TV shows of all time, but — behind all the laughs — drama simmered. When Will Smith began his tenure on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, it was not yet known whether or not the show would become a hit. Although Smith had established himself as a very popular rapper, people in the entertainment industry did not know if he had the chops to carry a television show.
As soon as the show started to air, however, it quickly became obvious that Americans were happy to hop on this comedy bandwagon. Smith’s television persona was unlike any other that audiences had seen up to this point. Not only was he relatable, but his talent as a triple threat shined through with ease on each episode. Of course, it wasn’t just Smith that made people tune in. Accompanied by a very impressive cast of actors, Smith delivered the heartfelt messages that audiences craved. One of the actors that helped him in this department was Janet Hubert. She played Aunt Viv, the mother figure of the show.
Although the vibe started off well, it wasn’t long before Smith’s newfound success started going to the 21-year-old’s head. What ended up happening was that Smith would invite hordes of friends to attend tapings of the show and sometimes disrupted the energy on set. As a Julliard-trained actress, Hubert took her acting much more seriously. Tensions started to arise. Eventually, this tension boiled over and Hubert was offered a very low paying contract for the next season. She refused to sign on, leaving the show.
This, however, was far from the end of tensions between Smith and Hubert. Over the past 27 years, the two actors have slung barbs at one another through the media. Each blaming the other for the dysfunctional relationship, it seemed as if Hubert and Smith would never bury the hatchet. However, Smith felt as though the failed friendship was weighing on him. As the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion became a reality, Smith could not imagine having a reunion without Hubert. First, though, he would have to make up with her.
Using his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s platform, The Red Table, Smith reached out to Hubert and asked if she would be willing to come on the show and discuss their relationship and what had gone wrong on the set of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air during the early 90s. Hubert obliged, and what followed was a very public make-up session. The two actors talked about how their separate personality issues and conflicts led to the ultimate fallout. On the show, Smith even consulted a therapist to help him express himself properly. After communicating and reconnecting in the wake of such contentious rhetoric, Hubert and Smith finally seemed to see each other as real people. They hugged and cried, and a healthier and more productive relationship was born for them.