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The Original Aunt Viv and Will Smith Hash It Out on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion

Photo: NBCUniversal via Getty Images

On Wednesday, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast reunited on HBO Max to celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary. And when we say the cast of Fresh Prince, we really do mean the entire remaining principal cast, as Janet Hubert, the actress who originally played Aunt Viv, showed up. Hubert unceremoniously exited the show after three seasons and for quite some time very vocally held a grudge against Smith for her exit from the show. However, Will Smith invited the OG Aunt Viv to have a Red Table Talk moment of her own during the special, and from the looks of it some healing really did happen.

About 45 minutes into the reunion, Hubert kicked off her one-on-one with Smith with a simple question: “Why? Why so far? You guys went so far. I lost so much.” Hubert goes on to say that during her third and final season she got pregnant and her home life was “not good at all,” revealing that she was in an abusive marriage at the time. “I was no longer laughing, smiling, joking because there were things that were going on that nobody knew about. The cast had no idea what was going on,” Hubert said. Smith admits that he wasn’t “sensitive” or “perceptive” to Hubert’s needs during her pregnancy, stating, “Now that I have three kids, I’ve learned some things that I did not know at the time and I would do things very differently. I can see how I made the set very difficult for Janet.”

The most challenging and cathartic moment between the two estranged actors came later during their heart-to-heart, where Hubert explained the emotional and professional toll that leaving the show and being labeled as “difficult” took on her. “I lost everything. Reputation. Everything. 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. It’s the kiss of death and it’s hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in this business,” said Hubert. For his part, Smith said he was 21-years old and driven by fear and ignorance of her situation. “I felt like you hated me,” Smith said, as Hubert began to cry. While the hurt was palpable, the pair ultimately forgave each other for the hurt they caused. “But it was necessary for us to finally move forward, and I’m sorry that I have blasted you to pieces,” she said, referencing their prickly past. “I could not do a 30-year celebration of this show and not celebrate you and your contribution to this show and your contribution to my life,” Smith said before the two finally embraced.

It wasn’t all cathartic and emotional, as the Original Aunt Viv had some fun moments on the reunion too. She triumphantly walked back on set and reunited with the whole cast, and met her replacement, Daphne Maxwell Reid, for the first time ever. “Thank you all for the love … the understanding, especially you, Will,” tweeted Hubert. “It was amazing seeing you all again. Be blessed, this is my story all about how … healing happened.” Well, it may have taken 27 years, but the OG Aunt Viv finally got her flowers.

Will Smith and Janet Hubert Go Deep in Fresh Prince Special