A 30-year feud is a really long time to hold a grudge, but that’s what Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air co-stars Will Smith and Janet Hubert, who played the original Aunt Vivian Banks, tried to unpack for the first time ever as well as the reasons behind her departure from the show after the first three seasons.
Analyzing their bitter strife on the latest episode of the popular Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk on Friday, November 20 at 9am PT / 12pm ET., Smith takes over for wife, Jada Pinket Smith (who normally co-hosts the show with her mother and their daughter, Willow) to get to the bottom of the hurt and the pain he and Hubert caused each other. Joined by clinical psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Ramani Durvasula, Smith is able to walk through life lessons, explore how to endure psychological punches, and understand the process of healing broken relationships.
The episode follows the premiere of the Fresh Prince reunion special on HBO Max just in time for the 30th anniversary of the show, with the reconciliation between Smith and Hubert being a big topic of discussion.
Smith said that his “war of words” with Hubert was something that he never thought that he would get to resolve, but he knew that they could not do a 30 year reunion show without her. And it wasn’t until recently that he began to understand the process of reconciliation. Dr. Durvasula helps him to accept that this feud not only took up a big part of his adult life, but was also a huge load to carry.
“You get tired of fighting. I don’t want to fight,” said Hubert during their meeting. “It’s time for letting go. My heart is just tired. I’m so tired from all of this. Thirty years of shunning, closure, forgiveness, move forward. Stop them from all the chatter. Enough. I’ve served a 30 year life sentence.”
As Smith re-watched the one-on-one meeting that he and Hubert shared, he took the time to analyze the true intention of his relationship with his TV aunt and confessed that his 21-year-old self eventually felt like Hubert actually hated him when all he wanted was her acceptance.
“The little boy in me, with Janet, I needed mommy to think I was great,” he explained. “And then once I realized that she didn’t, my dragon woke up.”
Grappling with his own emotions and past childhood triggers of abuse, Smith recognized her feelings, but also acknowledged his own as a defense mechanism used to avoid the pain he experienced as a child. “I felt right back into my family dynamic with my television family,” he said.
“I hated what you did,” an emotional Hubert said, speaking about powerful words Smith used at the time that ultimately blacklisted her in Hollywood and the Black community. “You took my career away of 30 years, you just went too far when you were younger. And I knew that you always had to win.”
Watch the BET.com exclusive clip from “Will Smith’s Red Table Takeover: Resolving Conflict” episode below.
Photo by Isa Foltin/WireImage