‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’: Daphne Maxwell Reid Thanked Janet Hubert for Not Returning to the Show
The switching out of the Aunt Vivs on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was one of the most dramatic casting changes in scripted television in the 1990s. What made it so weird was that the show never addressed it, one day the character just looked drastically different. For years, there have been rumors swirling about what caused the show to switch Janet Hubert out for Daphne Maxwell Reid. At the HBO Max reunion, Hubert and Reid finally hashed everything out.
Why did Janet Hubert leave the show?
Leading up to the reunion event, rumors had been floating around that Hubert was let go because she wanted to make the show about her and was difficult to work with.
Finally, she was given the chance to clear up what really happened.
“They offered me this really bad deal in the third season,” Hubert said at the reunion. “They said, ‘You’ve got two months and two weeks of work and you cannot work anywhere else. 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,” she said. “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.”
And what was even worse was what was waiting for her when she left the show. Word got around that Hubert was difficult to work with and she was basically shut out of the industry. At the reunion, she finally got to express to Will Smith how much leaving the show affected her.
When I left the show, I had this new baby and no one. Family disowned me, Hollywood disowned me, my family said you’ve ruined our name and I wasn’t unprofessional on the set. I just stopped talking to everybody because I didn’t know who to trust, I had been banished. They said it was you who banished me. Because you were Will, you were a kid. It was hard.
What did Daphne Maxwell Reid say to Janet Hubert?
Reid, the actress who ended up replacing Hubert, benefited greatly from Hubert leaving the show. So, when she got the chance to speak with her at the reunion, Reid actually thanked Hubert.
“Everybody hugged and finally, it was the two of us. And I just embraced her and said, ‘Welcome home’,” she told HollywoodLife of the reunion. “We had a really lovely day, that day. The two of us took a lot of pictures together. There were a lot of hugs. I told her, it sounds mean, but I mean it sincerely. ‘Thank you for not coming back so that I could have a job.’”
In response, Hubert just laughed and Reid emphasized that she meant no harm by her comment.
“I said, ‘I don’t mean it in a mean way and I don’t know what happened but I’m so glad I got to work on this show’,” she said.