Will Smith and Janet Hubert ended their decades-long feud this week as part of HBO Max's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special, with the original Aunt Viv describing how deeply damaging and hurtful Smith had been to her.
Appearing on a special episode of Facebook Watch's Red Table Talk, Smith sat down with Dr. Ramani Durvasula to revisit his talk with Hubert and take a deeper look into the reasons behind this behavior, saying of his 21-year-old self, "I wasn't sensitive, and ultimately, I wasn't kind."
Smith tells Dr. Durvasula that his fun-loving Fresh Prince persona initially stemmed from his childhood need to keep his father entertained enough that he wouldn't become violent against his mother, and that he realizes now that he carried over that family dynamic into his television family.
"I felt threatened," Smith said about Hubert reacting coldly to his youthful unprofessionalism on the set of the show. "At that point in my career, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air really saved my life. I had a few years in the music business, but I had lost all of my money, I didn't pay taxes, I was in debt to the IRS, I had just flopped an album, you know, and The Fresh Prince represented life. So, on the little boy in me level, with Janet, I needed Mommy to think I was great, and then once I realized that she didn't, my dragon woke up."
Smith's complete episode of Red Table Talk can be viewed below:
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Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.