Note: This article contains subject matter relating to suicide. Please read and share cautiously. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline online or via phone at 1-800-273-8255 (for the deaf and hard of hearing, contact 1-800-799-4889).
Janet Hubert and Will Smith put their nearly 30-year feud to bed with an emotional reunion during their first talk since Hubert’s exit from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1993. The exit came amid behind-the-scenes bickering between Hubert and Smith over Hubert expressing frustration regarding professionalism on set, pay, and other things.
After her exit, a media war between Smith and Hubert began, with both slinging insults toward each other. Smith accused Hubert of being difficult to work with and jealous of his position on the show. Hubert alleged Smith was an egomaniac who used his power against her. Furthermore, Hubert found it difficult to land work, believing she was blackballed following her exit from the show. Ultimately, she blamed Smith.
Hubert was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid but fans never forgot the original “Aunt Viv.” Before Hubert and Smith’s reunion, Hubert spoke openly about feeling excluded by Smith in the legacy of the show. There were several reunion specials that Hubert was not part of, with her claiming she’d never been contacted or apologized to by Smith.
The time period in between was difficult for Hubert. A trained performer, not working left her with money trouble, family trouble, and a battle with depression. She reflected on just how bad things were for her in a recent interview with Pop Viewers.
“You’re only as good as the last job you ever did. We also know that you can make money [and] the next day you can have no money,” she said, as reported by Two Bees. “I also had just opened up a studio. I signed a 10-year lease at like $60,000 to $100,000 worth of equipment…I 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 admitted that she contemplated suicide as a result but it was the inspiration from her son to keep her going.
“He saved me. He really did. My son. Because I knew I had to take care of that little boy. ‘Fresh Prince’ had not gone into syndication yet, so there was no money for a few years, until they did enough episodes to make syndication,” she explained. “I was in the third season negotiating for the fourth season…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.”Hubert went as far as taking out a life insurance policy for her son to be taken care of in case of her death.
You can see the actress soon, starring in the upcoming Mahalia Jackson film alongside Ledisi and Columbus Short.