The highly anticipated Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion aired last night on HBO Max. The cast of the iconic sitcom came together to reminisce about the groundbreaking show and even the original Aunt Viv, played by Janet Hubert, made an appearance. It was her first time talking with Will Smith in 27 years.
Hubert, who was the first of two actors to play family matriarch Vivian Banks on the sitcom, famously had a falling out with Smith as well as other members of the cast. Nonetheless, during the reunion, 52-year-old Will Smith said he could not do the reunion without Janet Hubert.
Hubert and Smith had an emotional one-on-one sit down. Hubert explained, despite misreporting, she was never fired from the sitcom, “They offered me this really bad deal in the third season. They said, ‘You’ve got two months and two weeks of work and you cannot work anywhere else.’”
She continued, “So that meant my salary was cut. I had a new baby and a husband who was out of work, so I said no. I did not accept their offer. I was never fired, but the misconception was always put out there. I was trapped — what could I do? They said, ‘Okay, then we’re going to recast your role,’ and I said, ‘What can I say?’ I was hurt, deeply.”
Hubert also revealed she was in a “very abusive marriage.”
Smith said, “I have children, I’ve been divorced, I’ve had a second marriage. And I can see now the level of pain and the level of struggle that it was for you just to show up every day.”
Hubert also discussed the challenges of being a Black woman in Hollywood, “I lost everything — reputation, everything — and I understand you were able to move forward, but you know those words — calling a Black woman difficult in Hollywood is the kiss of death. And it’s hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in this business.”
Additionally, Hubert apologized for slamming him in the press over the years, “I felt it was necessary for us to finally move forward, and I’m sorry that I have blasted you to pieces.”
Smith responded with, “First of all, thank you for sharing that with me. I didn’t know that, when I look back now it’s obvious that you were having a hard time and I felt like you hated me. I could not do a 30-year celebration of this show and not celebrate you, celebrate your contribution to the show, celebrate your contribution to my life.”
Last night, Hubert tweeted, “My heart is so full right now… Will you have freed me from this prison.”
Watch a clip of the reunion below:
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired from 1990 to 1996. However, the series will still continue.
PEOPLE reported back in September that NBC’s streaming service Peacock ordered two seasons of Bel-Air, a dramatic take on reimagining the classic ‘90s comedy.
Peacock shared in a press release that Bel-Air is a “serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that leans into the original premise: Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air.”
It’s not clear if Will Smith will appear in the reboot.