Original Aunt Viv, Janet Hubert, apparently ends 27-year feud with Will Smith

Nine years ago, actor Janet Hubert told TMZ she would never do a reunion show “… as I will never do anything with an a--hole like Will Smith.”
/ Source: TODAY
By Samantha Kubota

It looks like Aunt Viv and her A-List nephew have buried the hatchet after a decades-long dispute that, at times, even played out in the press.

Smith posted photos from the Banks family mansion set as the cast got together for a much-anticipated “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” unscripted special slated to air on HBO Max around Thanksgiving.

“Today (Thursday) is exactly 30 YEARS since The @FreshPrince of Bel-Air debuted! So we’re doin’ something for y’all… a for real Banks Family Reunion is comin’ soon to @HBOmax!” Smith posted. “RIP James.”

James Avery portrayed Smith’s uncle Philip Banks on the show for all six years it was on the air and died in 2013.

Eagle-eyed fans noticed the second photo Smith posted showed him and the original Aunt Vivian, Janet Hubert, laughing in the empty audience seating of a stage. Hubert played family matriarch Vivian Banks for the first three seasons of the show before she was replaced by Daphne Reid in 1993.

Hubert and Smith in an 1990 episode titled "Day Damn One."Mike Ansell / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Their friendly conversation is a surprise, as the two have historically not gotten along over the years. In 2011, she told TMZ there would “never be a reunion… as I will never do anything with an a—hole like Will Smith.”

Hubert reportedly blamed Smith for her premature departure from “Fresh Prince” in 1993.

"He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up," she said in 2011 — commenting after an off-screen reunion of some of the other cast members sparked reunion rumors. “This constant reunion thing will never ever happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology, which he doesn't know the word."

But based on the photo, it seems like he did know the right words to bury the hatchet after all these years. Hubert even shared the same picture.

“Reunited and it feels so good!” Hubert wrote, adding in the hashtags that God spoke to her and she’s “#freeatlast.”

Smith sat down with Hubert on Wednesday, according to HBO, for the first time in 27 years for an “emotional reunion and a candid conversation.” Their meeting came as a surprise to the cast as well, HBO said in a release.

Hubert didn't immediately respond to TODAY's request for comment.

Co-stars Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid and DJ Jazzy Jeff all participated in the Thursday reunion, which was billed by HBO as "a funny and heartfelt night full of music, dancing, and special surprise guests, in honor of the series that ran for six seasons and 148 episodes.”

The cast of "Fresh Prince" following the departure of Hubert, who was replaced by Daphne Reid in 1993.Getty Images

The special, which is being developed by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's media company Westbrook Media, will feature the show's stars reminiscing about shooting the beloved sitcom and looking back at its cultural impact.

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It was taped on Sept. 10, as Smith noted, the 30th anniversary of its series premiere on NBC.

Westbrook Media is also developing a dramatic new version of the “Fresh Prince” series that will be called “Bel-Air.”

According to a statement, the revamped show will “lean into the original premise of Will’s journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air.”

"With a reimagined vision, BEL-AIR will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today, while still delivering the swagger and fun nods to the original show."