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Will Smith is back with both of his Aunt Vivians!
On Wednesday, in conjunction with the premiere of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special on HBO Max, the actor, 52, posted a video on Instagram showing both actresses who portrayed his aunt on the show, Janet Hubert and Daphne Maxwell Reid.
Hubert, 64, played Aunt Viv for the first three seasons of the series and left the show in 1993 citing "creative differences." The role was recast with Reid, 72. Since then, Hubert and Smith had tangled occasionally in the public eye but buried the hatchet in the reunion.
"Two queens, one throne, all love! #FreshPrinceReunion tonight on @hbomax :-)," Smith captioned the clip, which showed the star pretend to be shocked to see Hubert in the iconic living room featured on the comedy series.
During the reunion special, which celebrates 30 years since the show's debut, Smith and Hubert sat down for an emotional conversation and resolved the issues between them that had been brewing for nearly three decades.
"We never publicly talk about Janet and what happened, and for me it felt like I couldn't celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without finding a way to celebrate Janet," Smith told his fellow costars Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Reid, and Alfonso Ribeiro. "So she agreed to sit down and have a conversation with me, and Janet and I saw one another for the first time in 27 years yesterday."
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"I don't know your story," Smith said during the special, to which she replied, "I know, you have no idea. It was insane," continuing to say that she was not fired from the show, contrary to what was widely reported at the time.
"They offered me this really bad deal in the third season. They said, 'You've got two months and two weeks of work and you cannot work anywhere else,' " Hubert recalled. "So that meant my salary was cut. I had a new baby and a husband who was out of work, so I said no. I did not accept their offer."
"I was never fired, but the misconception was always put out there," said Hubert. "I was trapped — what could I do? They said, 'Okay, then we're going to recast your role,' and I said, 'What can I say?' I was hurt, deeply."
Hubert said Smith's words following her departure hurt her life and her career. "You were going forward and getting bigger and bigger, we knew you were going to be huge," she told him, explaining that her difficulties on set had nothing to do with the cast, but more so with her situation at home, including what she described as a "very abusive marriage."
"I have children, I've been divorced, I've had a second marriage," Smith replied. "And I can see now the level of pain and the level of struggle that it was for you just to show up every day."
"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," Hubert said. "And it's hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in this business."
She then expressed a desire to patch things up with Smith, saying, "I felt it was necessary for us to finally move forward, and I'm sorry that I have blasted you to pieces."
Hubert said in a solo interview later in the special: "I have to say, after 27 years, being here today and having the conversation that Will and I had together — it's healing. I didn't come here to have animosity, I came here to resolve, 'cause it's time."
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air reunion special is now streaming on HBO Max.
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