Janet Hubert Admits She Contemplated Suicide Amid ‘Fresh Prince’ Exit
Janet Hubert has been open about how her exit from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air led to trouble finding steady employment. Hubert blamed her co-star Will Smith for much of her downfall. The two have since made amends but the actor admits she once considered suicide due to her dire financial situation and public humiliation.
Janet Hubert and Will Smith’s feud lasted nearly 30 years
After three seasons of playing the doting aunt to Smith on-screen, Hubert exited The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in a less than amicable fashion. Hubert alleged that she was lowballed in terms of pay and worked in a hostile environment due to her complaints of Smith’s unprofessionalism on set.
Hubert was accused of being difficult to work with by both Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro. Per E! News, Smith spoke of how tense things were between the cast, crew, and Hubert in a radio interview in 1993:
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. 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.Will Smith on working with Janet Hubert, E! News
In turn, Hubert accused Smith of being an egomaniac. There were several reunions with the cast that excluded Hubert. But alas, Hubert and Smith sat down for an emotional reunion in 2020 in which Smith apologized for participating in slandering Hubert’s reputation.
Janet Hubert says she contemplated suicide after her exit from “Fresh Prince”
Hubert had a difficult time finding work amid her exit from the show despite her critical acclaim as “Aunt Viv” and her Julliard training. For years, she’s spoken publicly of the belief that she was blackballed. As a result, her personal financial situation became grim and she opened up about how bad things were in a recent interview with PopViewers.
“You’re only as good as the last job you ever did,” she explained. “We also know that you can make money [and] the next day you can have no money. “I also had just opened up a studio, signed a 10-year lease at like $60,000 to $100,000 worth of equipment, had a franchise to develop…I not only had a house, a mortgage, a husband who wasn’t working at the time, I also had a business and a baby, an infant who needed me desperately.”
Hubert said the stress took its toll, so much so that she contemplated suicide.
“It was hard. There were moments when I felt so broken. So low. I didn’t know what I could do. There were moments where I wanted to die,” she said. “I figured I had a life insurance policy to take care of my son… I’m not gonna do this. I can’t do this. I can’t make it, this is too much. ‘Cause everywhere I went people would attack and say hurtful things. [My son] was an infant. What was I gonna do?”
Since her reunion with Smith, things have been better for Hubert. Her career is back on track. She’s in one of the many upcoming biopics on gospel great Mahalia Jackson slated for release within the next year.