After 27 years of tension, Will Smith finally sat down with his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air castmate Janet Hubert—who played the original Vivian Banks—and she explained how he essentially ruined her life. The actress was replaced after season three of the iconic ’90s sitcom and blamed her exit on Smith being an “egomaniac.” “You guys went so far. I lost so much. How do we heal that?” Hubert said in the reunion special, which aired on HBO Max. She said she wasn’t fired but rather turned down a “really bad deal” and was not offered a new one, and her role was recast. At the time, she was the mother of a newborn daughter and in an abusive marriage, and her husband was out of work, she said. “I was hurt deeply. When I left the show, I had this new baby and no one. Family disowned me. Hollywood disowned me,” Hubert said. “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.” Smith thanked her for sharing her story and apologized. “You’re still my Aunt Viv,” he told her. “I can see where I made the set very difficult for Janet,” Smith admitted separately in an on-camera confessional.
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