Red Table Talk: Will Smith Reveals 'Feud' with Janet Hubert 'Troubled Me for Nearly 30 Years'
In a PEOPLE exclusive clip of Friday's Facebook Watch surprise Red Table Talk episode, the 52-year-old actor takes over the red table to discuss the lessons he's learned from his contentious feud with Hubert alongside clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula.
In the clip, Smith says he went to the red table — usually hosted by his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, daughter Willow Smith and mother-in-law Adrienne Banfield Norris — to talk about "something that has really troubled me for nearly 30 years."
"My painful situation was around the Fresh Prince," he says. "I had a feud, a war of words that I’d been in with Janet that I never thought would get resolved."
The two reunited and buried the hatchet during the show's HBO Max reunion special, which debuted on Wednesday night.
Smith says, "I really couldn’t see myself celebrating without really dealing with this."
Hubert, 64, played Aunt Viv for the first three seasons of the series. She left the show in 1993 citing "creative differences" and was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid, 72. Since then, Hubert and Smith, 57, have tangled occasionally in the public eye.
"We never publicly talk about Janet and what happened, and for me it felt like I couldn't celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without finding a way to celebrate Janet," Smith told his fellow costars Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid and Alfonso Ribeiro on the special. "So she agreed to sit down and have a conversation with me, and Janet and I saw one another for the first time in 27 years yesterday."
As the two sat down together, they were able to speak to each other openly about what had occurred in the past.
"I don't know your story," Smith said.
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WATCH: Fresh Prince Reunion: Will Smith and Janet Hubert Discuss Her Contentious Exit 27 Years Later
"I know, you have no idea. It was insane," Hubert replied, going on to say that she was not fired from the show, contrary to what was widely reported at the time.
"They offered me this really bad deal in the third season. They said, 'You've got two months and two weeks of work and you cannot work anywhere else,'" Hubert recalled. "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 continued. "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."
Hubert said Smith's words following her departure hurt her life and her career. "You were going forward and getting bigger and bigger, we knew you were going to be huge," she told him, explaining that her difficulties on set had nothing to do with the cast, but more so with her situation at home, including what she described as a "very abusive marriage."
"I lost everything — reputation, everything — and I understand you were able to move forward, but you know those words — calling a Black woman difficult in Hollywood is the kiss of death," Hubert said. "And it's hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in this business."
She then expressed a desire to patch things up with Smith, saying, "I felt it was necessary for us to finally move forward, and I'm sorry that I have blasted you to pieces."
"First of all, thank you for sharing that with me," he said. "I didn't know that, when I look back now it's obvious that you were having a hard time and I felt like you hated me. I could not do a 30-year celebration of this show and not celebrate you, celebrate your contribution to the show, celebrate your contribution to my life."
"The person I want to be is someone who protects you, not someone that unleashes dogs on you," he added, before the pair both apologized for the long-running feud.
Smith's takeover of Red Table Talk airs Friday at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT.
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