Some shows are just too wonderful to leave in the past. The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air was one of the greatest sitcoms of the 90s and even though it is still loved, there has always been this big mystery surrounding one cast member in particular.
When Aunt Viv was recast in the fourth season, everyone was confused. Janet Hubert played the character perfectly well in the the first three seasons, but in season four, Daphne Maxwell Reid stepped in. While both Aunt Vivs were good in their own way, a lot of people wondered why Hubert left.
The story has turned out to be one of those long lasting feuds that never seems to end. The show is more than 25 years old but it seems as though every couple of years it resurfaces and we are all left scratching our heads as to what started it in the first place.
There are a lot of interviews that the cast has given over the years, and both sides have their opinion so you can decide who you think is telling the truth.
Janet Hubert's Argument:
Janet told The Dish that her appearances in the show were limited to a set number of episodes but her contract didn't allow her to appear in any other productions. She says "That was cutting my salary by $150,000 a year. How could I pay the bills I needed to pay with 10 episodes?"
She also says that she felt punished for how she acted on set. "There was a bit of a [cast feud],” she says. “I was extremely professional on that set, maybe too professional…but I didn’t adhere to the star system. By not playing the game, that cost me."
In a video message she posted she said that "I seem to recall, twenty-maybe-six, -seven years go—25, whatever it was—I don't even remember. I seem to remember at option time coming to you and saying, 'You know what, Will? You're the star of the show. Why don't we all get together and, with you, maybe we could get a little raise? Maybe the network since the show is, you know, such a hit and you being the star of the show, your influence would help us greatly, like they did on Friends. Like white shows do!' Remember that? Do you remember that, 'cause I do. Mmm."
In all fairness, Friends start negotiating together years after Fresh Prince started so it may not be fair to make that comparison as they probably wouldn't have known they were doing that at the time.
Will Smith has some pretty intense words to say about the situation, go to the next page to find out his side of the story.
Will Smith's Argument:
Will Smith doesn't seem to talk about this as much as Hubert does. Back in 1993 he said that "I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be The Aunt Viv of Bel Air Show because I know she is going to dog me in the press. She has basically gone from a quarter of a million dollars a year to nothing."
He added that, "She's mad now but she's been mad all along. She said once, I've been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.' No matter what, to her I'm just the Antichrist."
Alfonso Ribeiro's Argument:
Ribeiro played Carlton Banks and while he mentioned that there were legal restrictions to speaking about the events, at a stand-up performance he said that "You know, legally I'm not allowed to talk about it, but hey, why not? Basically, at the end of the day, the [he bleeped himself] was crazy. I did not curse…She went nuts!"
He continued and said that, "Long story short, and there were days when we were all on the set and she would literally go off on people and they got to a point by the time the second season came around where we're like, 'This is unacceptable.' We felt like, when we were doing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, that we were a family…She, at that point, ruined that, and she made it very difficult for us to work, and unfortunately she was then fired. They brought in Daphne Maxwell-Reid, who we absolutely loved, and we moved on. Oh well."
Even though this all happened so long ago, it hasn't stopped Hubert from commenting when the cast occasionally gets together and doesn't invite her. After the cast had a mini-reunion at a event, Hubert responded with some harsh words.
"I know the media hoe Alphonso Ribeiro has posted his so called reunion photo. Folks keep telling me about it. He was always the a-wipe for Will. There will never be a true reunion of Fresh Prince. I have no interest in seeing any of these people on that kind of level," Hubert said.
I don't know that this cast will ever reunite or resolve this in a way that will leave all parties satisfied. Of course we all loved the original Aunt Viv on the show, but we may never know what really happened. She did mention in her last message that there was potential for a tell-all book but who knows if or when that will come out.
Even though she didn't stick around, we will always have this moment in television history to cherish.
What do you think happened? Is one person to blame or was it a whole combination of things? Let us know in the comments!