Will Smith and the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Cast React to Seeing Original Aunt Vivian Janet Hubert After 27 Years

HBO Max subscribers can now watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion and see the reunion 27 years in the making. It’s been 30 years since the show premiered on NBC. However, Janet Hubert left the show in 1993. Will Smith reached out to Hubert to reconcile, and brought Hubert to the stage to reunite with the rest of his costars. Karyn Parsons, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Tatyana M. Ali share their reactions to the moment in the special. 

Why Will Smith decided to bury the hatchet with Janet Hubert

When Hubert left the show, things got contentious between her and Smith. Each spoke out against each other in the media at the time, and Hubert wrote a tell all book about her experience on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Now that he is 52, Smith wanted to set a better example for how to handle conflict. 

Janet Hubert with Alfonso Ribeiro and James Avery
L-R: Alfonso Ribeiro, Janet Hubert and James Avery | Mike Ansell/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’: Which Vivian Banks Returns for the Reunion?

“I don’t want to be that guy, you know,” Smith said. “I go out in the world and I talk about understanding and human relationships and then [I] have somebody that I haven’t spoken to in 27 years. I’m so happy that we were able to make that reconciliation and I hope other people can take something from it. 

‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ stars react to Janet Hubert

Hubert played Aunt Vivian on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. When she did not return for the fourth season, the show cast Daphne Reid as Aunt Viv for the remainder of the series. Since Reid and Hubert never overlapped, they met for the first time on the HBO Max reunion. That moment meant a lot to Parsons and Ali, who played Vivians daughters on the show. 

“Seeing Daphne and Janet, my two moms, the two Aunt Vivs come together, they’ve never met before,” Parsons said. “Seeing them meet for the first time and embrace was the most incredible thing.”

Ali added, “It made my heart really full.”

L-R: Janet Hubert, Will Smith and James Avery | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

RELATED: Will Smith and His Former ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ Co-Star Have the Sweetest Friendship

Smith’s rapping partner, DJ Jazzy Jeff, played the role of Jazz on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He had a visceral reaction to seeing Hubert again, too.

“That was chilling,” he said. “That was a dream come true, that was a full circle moment.”

Janet Hubert reacts to seeing Will Smith again

Hubert tells Smith her harrowing story in the special. She reveals she was involved in an abusive marriage, and that NBC offered her a disadvantageous deal to return to the show. When she declined, Hubert says her family turned their backs on her too. The reconciliation was important for Hubert, too.

Will Smith and Janet Hubert
L-R: Will Smith and Janet Hubert | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’: This Is How Will Smith Got Janet Hubert To Join the HBO Max Reunion After Years of Feuding

“I cannot tell you how unbelievable and wonderful it feels that I’m overwhelmed,” Hubert said. “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 because it’s time.”