Will Smith and his “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” co-star Janet Hubert have been famously feuding ever since she left the show during its run.
On the recent HBO Max reunion special, however, Smith and Hubert mended fences, putting an end to nearly 30 years of animosity.
In a special edition of Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Red Table Talk”, Smith takes over from his wife and invites clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula to join him and Hubert in order to find out what went wrong, why, and how to heal going forward.
“We had a cast reunion. I wanted us to seek healing and I knew the first phase of that healing was me understanding what she experienced, so I asked Janet to sit down with me, and Dr. Ramani was on set with us that day in case Janet or I needed assistance to be able to make our way through,” says Smith in the video. “After 27-plus years, this was the first time that we ever sat down.”
Smith addresses Hubert: “This has been tough… has it been tough for you?” Smith agrees that it has: “Only you know and I know what the truth is about all of this. I just wanted to know one thing. Why? Why so far? You guys went so far. I lost so much,” she asks, which prompts Smith to ask her to tell her story, as he “was having a different experience.”
“As the oldest woman on that set, there’s that respect level that I just needed to have of being an older woman and a Black woman. We had our issues. I’d been banished and they said it was you who banished me because I didn’t laugh at your jokes. Then, they ordered me to stay in my room. I couldn’t come out on the stage, and I wasn’t unprofessional on the set. I just stopped talking to everybody because I didn’t know who to trust and the whole negotiation thing was messed up. You guys offered something I had to turn down and I was like, ‘Why?’” she explains.
“Did you know that they offered me 10 weeks of work and said you can’t work anywhere else?” she tells Smith.
“How do you survive [with a] mortgage, and a new business, and a new baby and a husband who wasn’t working at the time? How do you survive? So much of what you said just destroyed everywhere I went. Everybody just beat me up. We lost our house. I lost everything — reputation, everything. You took all that away from me with your words,” she continues.
Smith, looking back, recalls that “my 21-year-old eyes could only see that I felt like you hated me.”
“No. I hated what you did,” she explains. “I just hated what you did. You took my career away — of 30-something years. You just went too far when you were younger and I know that you always had to win.”
“I didn’t realize the power of my words and how that would affect you and went way too far and said things to people that wouldn’t know how to hold that information,” Smith admits. “And then, once you put it in, the machine grabs it then they start putting their own spin on it. It was all way too far on my end. When I look back now, it’s obvious that you were having a hard time. I have children, I’ve been divorced and gotten a second marriage and so it’s like, I can see now the level of pain and the level of struggle that it was just for you to show up everyday.”
The entire emotional episode can be viewed in the video above.