Will Smith is reflecting on his emotional sit-down with his former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Janet Hubert. In the latest episode of Red Table Talk, Smith took over as host, and examined his recent conversation with Hubert, which was part of HBO Max’s Fresh Prince reunion special.
Joined by psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula at the eponymous red table, Smith played portions of his tearful meeting with Hubert, and reflected on her accusations that Will ruined her personal and professional life.
While Smith and Hubert buried the hatchet during their meeting, many things came to light that painted a surprising portrait of a young Smith, who openly attacked Hubert when she left the show in the third season.
“They said it was you who banished me, because I didn’t laugh at your jokes,” Hubert said during their chat. “They ordered me to stay in my room, I couldn’t come out on the stage.”
“I wasn’t unprofessional on the set. I just stopped talking to anybody because I didn’t know who to trust,” she added.
Hubert, best known as “the original Aunt Viv,” left the sitcom after the first three seasons over “creative differences.” She was promptly replaced by actress Daphne Maxwell Reid the following season without any mention of the recasting.
Since Fresh Prince ended its run in 1996, Smith and Hubert hadn’t been shy about their ongoing feud, publicly criticizing and slamming each other in interviews over the years due to bad blood between the two on set and off.
“You know those words, calling a Black woman ‘difficult,’ in Hollywood, that’s the kiss of death,” Hubert told Smith. “It’s hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in the business. Then ‘Angry Black woman’ was all I got after.”
“I promised my dad, before he left this Earth… I promised I’d clear my name,” Hubert later explained. “My family said, ‘You ruined our name.'”
Speaking with Dr. Durvasula, Smith reflected on Hubert’s words, and examined his own behavior as a 21-year-old trying to do anything he could to find success.
“My father was violent in my house,” Smith explained. “So a part of the whole creation of Will Smith, the joking, fun, silly, was to make sure my father was entertained enough not to hurt my mother or anybody in the house.”
It was this desire for safety, and a subsequent desire for approval, that Smith said he then projected onto his TV family during the show.
“The little boy in me level, with Hubert, I needed Mommy to think I was great,” Smith shared. “And when I realized she didn’t, my dragon woke up.”
Smith’s conversation with Hubert ended with a reconciliation between the former enemies, but was eye-opening for the movie star.
“I’m not arrogant enough to think my actions and behavior were perfect. My actions and behavior were flawed and hurtful,” Smith shared. “Probably there’s nobody on Earth who’d say I hurt them that bad.”
Check out Smith’s emotional, revealing and candid journey of self-discovery on the latest episode of Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch.
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