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Will Smith and Aunt Viv Bury the Hatchet

Can Lee Daniels and Mo'Nique be far behind?

One of the main segments of the show that many will be itching to see is the meeting between Smith and the original Aunt Vivian played by Hubert — and it is a good meeting that will take you on a whole other journey.

Hubert exited Fresh Prince of Bel-Air after three seasons and was replaced by Reid. As a result, there was a very public feud between Smith and Hubert that continued for almost 30 years.

“For me, it felt like I couldn’t celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without finding a way to celebrate Janet,” said Smith.

But what would this reunion be like? Will be more of a catty Real Housewives reunion? Or more of an Oprah Winfrey Show moment? Luckily, it was the latter.

“Been a long time,” Hubert greeted Smith as they met one-one on the set.

Hubert was the “OG Aunt Vivian”. She said she never saw anyone that looked like her that played a role like Aunt Viv. A dark-skinned Black woman who was regal, a good mother, role model, professional and as Hubert put it, could throw down. Hollywood never looked to an actress like Hubert to fill that type of role so in that sense, Hubert was a trailblazer. She was definitely a favorite when the series launched. She could act, sing and dance (remember that iconic dance she did to C+C Music Factory’s “Everybody Dance Now”?) But then after season 3, she left, disrupting the show and this special was an opportunity for the two to hash things out.

“This has been tough,” Hubert told Smith at the start of this very candid conversation. “I just wanted to know one thing: why did you guys go so far? I lost so much.”

Smith responded that he didn’t know her story.

“You have no idea,” she said. Hubert went on to clarify that during the third season when she got pregnant, there was a lot going on in her life and in Smith’s life which caused the friction between the two. “I was no longer laughing, joking smiling because there were things going on that nobody knew about.”

Smith admits that during her pregnancy that he wasn’t sensitive to Hubert, but now that he has matured he wishes he would have done things differently. “I can see where I made the set very difficult for Janet,” he said.

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by Anonymousreply 58Last Saturday at 2:17 PM

I watched this last night. It was a lot of fun. The Janet Hubert reunion with will was well done but heavily edited. They still did not answer why Hubert was fired/left and what the real beef was. Hubert claimed after she got pregnant she was offered a new contract in which she would only be in half the episodes but couldn't do any other acting jobs so her salary would have been cut. But that just sounds odd to me. I do think there is some mental illness at play with Hubert, but she looked good.

by Anonymousreply 111/20/2020

I think it made sense R1.

It's like a job cutting your hours in half after a few years but not letting you take another job to make it up.

She asked them to figure out a way she could be on the show full time or do other work because she was pregnant & her husband didn't have a job. Their response was to fire and replace her.

Her issue with Will was that not only did he not stand up for her but she was told he was behind all of it from someone there.

She stopped talking to everyone because she didn't know who she could trust after that because people may have been running back to the network saying things about her.

Will and the cast not knowing any of this just thought she was being difficult (by not talking to them) and not that someone there had told her that he was trying to push her out. So they made fun of her exit, Will and Alphonso bad mouthed her for years and it damaged her career.

If Will was more mature and she was more open years ago they probably could have resolved all of it.

Also since he was gone when she was there, it looks like she didn't forgive Alphonso since he called her crazy on stage pretty openly. Will didn't stoop to that level.

by Anonymousreply 211/20/2020

R2, I didn't notice Alphonso not being there when she came on the set. Wow! I did pause the scenes that showed the entertainment articles from back when she was fired, and in one of the articles, Janet Huber was quoted as saying something like, "I refuse to be the n!gger of the network," or something equally shocking. She was obviously still very hurt by Will, but I'm sure she got paid a pretty penny to come on the special and "make good" with everyone. The producers actually did a really good job with the special...'Friends' has their work cut out for them when they finally film their reunion on HBO Max next year.

by Anonymousreply 311/20/2020

Based on things Will Smith, Janet Hubert, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Joseph Marcell have said over the years, it was a bit more complicated:

Allegedly, even before she became pregnant, Hubert was increasingly frustrated with her role on the show. She was angry at basically having to sit around many weeks only to deliver a few lines and so she pushed to either be given more to do or be allowed to look for other jobs while still remaining on the show. I believe Will Smith took her attitude to be a threat to him, that she was trying to make this the "Aunt Viv show" and this is what lead to major tension with her. When she became pregnant her attitude allegedly became worse (which is alluded to in the special) and she basically cut herself off from the cast. Hubert had been attempting to renegotiate her contract to reduce her appearances on the show but be allowed to work on other projects. Basically, she was offered a contract that they knew she would refuse. It was a firing without technically firing her.

by Anonymousreply 411/20/2020

I have little sympathy for her. She sounds like a supporting character who wanted it all to be about her.

by Anonymousreply 511/20/2020

I wish I could bury the hatchet in Will Smith's smug face.

by Anonymousreply 611/20/2020

[quote]She sounds like a supporting character who wanted it all to be about her.

I think The Fresh Prince was at its best when it was about the family trying to help Will be a better person. He'd do something stupid then Uncle Phil or Aunt Viv would correct his behavior and he'd learn from it.

After she was "fired" it shifted more towards Will, Carlton and Hillary (meeting and dating Trevor) since Daphne didn't have her gravitas. Uncle Phil stuck with helping Will trying to be an adult for another season or so but otherwise he was a joke.

by Anonymousreply 711/20/2020

Let me tell you about a few things...

by Anonymousreply 811/20/2020

R7 The show had already started shifting towards Will, Carlton, and Hillary by the second season and I think that's where a lot of Janet Hubert's frustrations came from. When the show started, it was supposed to be Will, Uncle Phil, and Aunt Viv at the core but it became apparent fairly quickly that the fans responded to the younger cast more. Uncle Phil still remained the "fatherly" figure, but Aunt Viv's role decreased and Janet was pissed.

I think she was basically at the point where she was like "either use me or let me do other stuff." I do believe the rumors that she became difficult to deal with (this has been backed up by most of the cast) and Will (as he said in the reunion) was threatened by it cause this was his show so we worked to get rid of her. They offered her a new contract that they knew she would never take.

by Anonymousreply 911/20/2020

[quote]Also since he was gone when she was there, it looks like she didn't forgive Alphonso since he called her crazy on stage pretty openly. Will didn't stoop to that level.

I assumed Alphonso didn't want to be on stage with *her* because she said he was Will's tampon and other outlandish thing in her war against Will. But Alphonso was interviewed by THR or Variety about the reunion and he just wasn't there the day she was - he was off shooting "America's Funniest Home Video". He said the reunion took place over three days and there was plenty that didn't make it to air.

Networks always play hardball with their actors and it's petty, but if I were in Blacktress Janet Hubert's shoes I would have collected my pay, while looking for work that would shoot during hiatus in order to feel artistically fulfilled.

There was a lot going on that I think she felt it was easier to blame Will and the show. When she said she was disowned by her family and that she was told she disgraced the family's name - that's a her problem. Her family likely saw that she was allowed her anger to make her look insane, and thus she was the cause of her own problems, without actually owning her actions.

by Anonymousreply 1011/20/2020

R9,Season 2 is where we got the Viv turning 40 spotlight episode. I think that was one of the great things about her. She could carry an episode if needed. (Granted that wasn't the show but it's nice to know she was that good.) Even Alfonso, between making fun of her, pointed out that she was a great actress.

In Season 3 she was pregnant. We got the episode with her sisters, another spotlight episode for her about the baby and plenty of things she and Uncle Phil had to help Will out with. I can see why they had to shift the show since she was pregnant but she was still was getting attention.

Also, for the thread here's a link to Alfonso talking about Janet during an old Q&A. His comments start at 2:14. I'm just posting it here because it should be somewhere here.

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by Anonymousreply 1111/20/2020

I always wanted to fuck Alfonso’s tight, velvety asshole.

by Anonymousreply 1211/20/2020

[quote]I always wanted to fuck Alfonso’s tight, velvety asshole.

by Anonymousreply 1311/20/2020

"I always wanted to fuck Alfonso’s tight, velvety asshole."

by Anonymousreply 1411/20/2020

She says Will was rude to people. He sounds like a brat who'd disappear when he felt like it. I bet there was sexual harrassment and all kinds of stuff going on.

When she complained, they made her go away.

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by Anonymousreply 1511/20/2020

[quote]I were in Blacktress Janet Hubert's shoes I would have collected my pay, while looking for work that would shoot during hiatus in order to feel artistically fulfilled.

The contract she was offered specifically prohibited her from finding other work. That was the problem. As has already been said more than once, it was a terrible contract that she was offered because they knew she wouldn't take it.

by Anonymousreply 1611/20/2020

Never saw the show, can't stand Will Smith, a smug, arrogant and not very good actor. And GAY

by Anonymousreply 1711/20/2020

There are a lot of actors and actresses who have colorful ways of expressing themselves and who fight really hard to not be taken advantage of, and Hubert is one of those.

It sounds like she was shocked at how she was treated by the show and probably also by her family's attitude -- who were mostly likely upset that their meal ticket had run out -- and went overboard. Add to that a deadbeat husband and a new baby, plus the sexism and racism of the TV industry 30 years ago, and she must have been under tremendous stress. Then the tabloids egged her on for the lulz and made her look even worse.

She seems like a handful but so do a lot of other actors, which is why I feel badly for her. If she had a good agent or someone with connections on her side, she never would have gotten into that mess in the first place.

by Anonymousreply 1811/20/2020

She has aged a lot better than Daphne Maxwell Reid.

by Anonymousreply 1911/20/2020

when i see or hear the words will smith i flip the channel damn quick !!!

by Anonymousreply 2011/20/2020

I noticed Maxwell Reid looked a lot older than I expected.

by Anonymousreply 2111/20/2020

Smith looks like a jackass eating barb wire when he smiles. his whole damn family is a bunch of fukups.

by Anonymousreply 2211/21/2020

I wonder if she got 30 years of abuse because she is dark-skinned? Would Vanessa Williams have incurred such wrath?

It must have been galling to watch his meteoric rise while she scrounged for soap opera roles. Compounded by the advent of the internet and being attacked viciously by strangers.

We've all been in toxic work environments, but in Hollywood the stakes are so high. And any whiff of scandal or being "difficult" can ruin you.

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by Anonymousreply 2311/21/2020

My intense dislike of Will Smith makes it hard to discuss this objectively.

by Anonymousreply 2411/21/2020

[quote]I noticed Maxwell Reid looked a lot older than I expected.

Black don't crack, but Brown frowns. Also, she's 72 - she has 8 years on Janet.

by Anonymousreply 2511/21/2020

His energy is creepy, so is his wifes....i find them and their family to be folks who prob sit on the back porch and laff at how they grifted their way they pick their toe nails.

by Anonymousreply 2611/21/2020

The actor who plays Carlton has publicly spoken about how psycho Aunt Viv was behind the scenes so there must be some awkwardness there

by Anonymousreply 2711/21/2020

People need to walk away from toxic environments with their heads held high. Trash talking and finger pointing are low and ruin reputations.

by Anonymousreply 2811/21/2020

Here's Will Smith's Red Table Talk that contains a ton of footage between him and Janet Hubert that was cut from the reunion special.

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by Anonymousreply 2911/21/2020

So why was *I* dumped from a hit show??!

by Anonymousreply 3011/21/2020

For what it's worth, in this interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Ribeiro claims he couldn't be there the day Hubert joined the rest of the cast for the reunion (it was taped over multiple days). But given his comments in the Youtube clip r11 posted (where he comes off like a real asshole), he could be lying.

-You were absent the day Janet Hubert was on set. Did you get a chance to talk to her at all?

No, I did not. I wasn't there. Like two or three days before we supposed to shoot, they were like, “Hey, are you available the next day?” Unfortunately, I had to go shoot [America's Funniest Home Videos] that day. So all of the social media content and the photographs were taken without me. I literally did my own photo shoot on the couch so they could put me in the group photo. The actual special was filmed in one day, but all the other stuff was done on the other days.

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by Anonymousreply 3111/21/2020

Also, Winifred Hervey, the executive producer for 2 seasons, did a TV academy interview a few years ago where she discussed working with him, and noted how he wasn't always the easiest to work with because of his youth, which did rub the older actors the wrong way at times.

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by Anonymousreply 3211/21/2020

Ribeiro's career went nowhere after the sitcom. Til he rode a wave of Milllennial nostalgia and worked his way back via reality shows.

I'm wondering if the public apology/reconciliation is part of some $ettlement behind the scenes? Because she keeps basically saying 'you ruined me', and that usually means money.

After all that show did to her- would she really be in a huggy mood?

by Anonymousreply 3311/21/2020

A few days ago, Will appeared on Entertainment Tonight, and a clip was shown of a related interview. He spoke about being abused by his father, and how he had used humor to avoid being beaten by his father. Humor was his way of coping. He acknowledged that on the Fresh Prince set, his jokes didn't amuse Hubert, and Will was annoyed by that.

I wonder if she got along with the older cast members.

by Anonymousreply 3411/21/2020

Ribiero comes off as an arrogant asshole in the clip glibly calling her "cuckoo", etc. Maybe one of his kids will develop a mental illness and he'll learn his lesson. Clearly hasn't yet...

by Anonymousreply 3511/21/2020

I'm glad they buried the hatchet.

She did this at age 35!

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by Anonymousreply 3611/21/2020

[quote] Ribiero comes off as an arrogant asshole in the clip glibly calling her "cuckoo", etc. Maybe one of his kids will develop a mental illness and he'll learn his lesson. Clearly hasn't yet...

Then maybe [italic]Silver Spoons[/italic] should have gotten a better spokesman for dyslexia to make his character feel better about having it than Bruce Jenner.

by Anonymousreply 3711/21/2020

R29, she comes off as completely normal. She had an abusive husband, a new baby, and as she says 'no sanctuary', no safe place for her to go to. The cast didn't know that at the time...

by Anonymousreply 3811/21/2020

Wow, she rocks in that dance clip! Aunt Viv would kick Claire Huxtable's ass in a dance contest!

by Anonymousreply 3911/21/2020

I wonder if Smith wrote her a check for a mil or two?

by Anonymousreply 4011/21/2020

[quote]I wonder if she got along with the older cast members.

At first she was mad with the entire cast but I'm sure she had to realize at some point that most of them probably just wanted to keep their jobs and wouldn't have stuck their neck out for her which is sad because she claimed at one point she went to Will and tried to get him to help them all negotiate better contracts. According to her he said, "My deal is my deal, and y’alls deal is y’alls deal."

Then years later in 2013 she zeroed in on Will & Alfonso which is much more sensible since they were the two that were openly bad mouthing her in the press even years later.

She then said some very nice things about James Avery when he passed.

However, when she saw a group photo of them all without her after James passed she said wanted nothing to do with any of them but again zeroed in on Alfonso. She later deleted her post about it.

[quote]I wonder if Smith wrote her a check for a mil or two?

I hope so. He not only has it to spare but it seems like these past few years he has been going through some weird internal transformation. He seems more mature and less cocky but he's also 52 years old. Seems like age may have given him more perspective.

Also for her to go from 100 to 0 in the hatred department for him, even caressing his face ... I'm sure he gave her something or promised her something in addition to admitting the his fault in all of this.

by Anonymousreply 4111/21/2020

R41, you think too much. Geez. It was just a stupid sitcom.

by Anonymousreply 4211/21/2020

For what it's worth, when I was a young kid watching the show when it originally ran I thought that she was a pivotal figure in the cast and for all intents and purposes stopped watching after they replaced her. Was my lack of interest over the cast change? Unlikely, as a campy show like this one could only hold anyone's interest for just so long. Still, I couldn't stand the "new" Aunt Viv and in many ways Hubert being replaced was the beginning of the end for the series IMO. I'm shocked that it ran for 6 seasons to begin with. I'm no fan of Will Smith either; frankly I was amazed that he parlayed this embarrassing sitcom and a cheesy Top 40 song into a huge movie career. More power to him I suppose.

by Anonymousreply 4311/21/2020

Is Will and Janet’s interview online anywhere?

by Anonymousreply 4411/21/2020

[Quote] She did this at age 35!

Is 35 ancient???

by Anonymousreply 4511/22/2020

Janet recorded this in 2018 after her son's suicide attempt was made public.

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by Anonymousreply 4611/22/2020

They ran as long as they did because they were the only Black sitcom family at the time not connected to Norman Lear, Bill Cosby, Miller-Boyett, Sherwood Schwartz, Disney, or Les Moonves.

by Anonymousreply 4711/22/2020

I think the show ran for so long because of Will Smith's star quality. Also, the audience loved seeing nerdy, uptight Carlton break out into song and dance. In 80s sitcom style, they did have a few "very special" episodes. One episode was about Will not wanting to date Queen Latifah because she was too fat.

by Anonymousreply 4811/22/2020

I did it first!


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by Anonymousreply 4911/22/2020

I never watched the show, but #36's clip shows she has an engaging screen presence, and may have even warranted a spin-off for her character.

The others were threatened by her and edged her off the show.

by Anonymousreply 5011/22/2020

I kept wondering what Kris Kardashian has to do with Suzanne Sommers when I first saw r49's picture.

by Anonymousreply 5111/22/2020

[quote] Is 35 ancient???

No! I’m way passed that age. But when it comes to dancing, yes. That her 35-year-old did that when a lot of 25-year-old bodies could never is makes it more impressive than it already is, considering also most TV actors aren’t trained in dance. I should have worried it differently!

by Anonymousreply 5211/22/2020


by Anonymousreply 5311/22/2020

I just watched both the reunion special and the Red Table and while it does seem Will Smith was the cause of Janet Hubert's push off the show, I do still think something seems "off" about Hubert. I do believe there is some kind of emotional/mental health problem there. That being said, it sounds like Will's behavior on set was too much for Janet (and some of the other actors) and she got vocal about it. Will didn't like it, and pushed her out and then started bad mouthing in her in the press.

by Anonymousreply 5411/23/2020

[quote] I do believe there is some kind of emotional/mental health problem there.

I think getting everything you want then having it yanked away from you by someone half your age while having to hear about it -- for 30 years, is enough to mess anyone up.

But if you add on top of that the issues her husband had and her son's mental problems and suicide attempt which she had to deal with in the black press when it got picked up, Janet has been through a lot.

by Anonymousreply 5511/23/2020

Anyone bothered to tell old willy boy that he is a tired corpse in need of a hole 2 fall into?

by Anonymousreply 56Last Tuesday at 5:49 AM

If you watch Winifred Hervey's interview with the Television Academy it's clear Will Smith was difficult to deal with at times. He could be high strung, particularly with women. Janet Hubert was allegedly fine until she got pregnant. Hervey says that Hubert confided to her that she was having a difficult pregnancy, there was some underlying health issues, and her marriage was falling apart. Realizing the stress Hubert was dealing with on set, Hervey made the decision to cut back on Hubert's scenes to allow the actress more time to rest. She feels that she inadvertinetly sent the message that Janet didn't want to be there anymore and Will wasn't sympathetic to Janet's condition. Hervey was ultimately "not renewed" at the end of the third season and left but she says she resisted the notion of replacing Janet and if she had remained with the show she would not have allowed that to have happened.

by Anonymousreply 57Last Saturday at 2:15 PM

Lonette McKee is not having it.

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by Anonymousreply 58Last Saturday at 2:17 PM
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