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Why Did Aunt Viv Suddenly Change In The 'Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air'?

Why Did Aunt Viv Suddenly Change In The 'Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air'?

Earlier today everyone took a trip back to their childhood when Alfonso 'Carlton Banks' Ribeiro uploaded a picture of himself the 'Fresh Prince family'.

They were all there, with the exception of James Avery, who sadly passed away in 2013. Ashley, Hilary, Carlton, Will, Geoffrey and Aunt Viv. But woah, there was two Vivian's in the show, wasn't there?

The woman in the picture is Daphne Maxwell Reid, who played Will's auntie in the fourth, fifth and sixth seasons of the show, as opposed to Janet Hubert-Whitten, who took up the role in the first three seasons.


Credit: Warner Bros./Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Heading into the fourth season, Viv had undergone quite the transformation without so much of an explanation. So, what did happen?

As it turns out, it wasn't a case of Vivian kicking her nephew out of her house, along with Uncle Phil chucking Jazzy Jeff out, it was her nephew telling her to pack her bags.

The feud between the two of them is born, ironically, out of Janet falling pregnant in real life in 1992.


The pregnancy was used to create a plot line whereby young Nicki Banks was brought into the world, and he turned out to be a popular character. However, while she was pregnant she allegedly violated her contract, which resulted in her sacking after the birth of her child.

The pair have both given conflicting reports on what happened between them, but both fall on common ground with their opinions of each other.

Will Smith claimed that long before Janet's pregnancy they struggled to get along, and it was her attitude that lead her out of the door.

"I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be 'The Aunt Viv of Bel Air Show' because I know she is going to dog me in the press," Smith told an Atlanta radio station in 1993. "She has basically gone from a quarter of a million dollars a year to nothing. She's mad now but she's been mad all along. She said once, 'I've been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.' No matter what, to her I'm just the Antichrist."


She must have really pissed him off.

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On the contrary to what Will said, the 61-year-old claims that she never put a foot wrong, and was simply hardworking.

"Janet Hubert was never difficult on that set. Janet Hubert was so professional, it wasn't even funny," she said about herself last year. "I think Will simply needed to win, and I think sometimes when you get caught up in a lie and those things never happened. She never left the set. I never left the set. We got along great."

Unfortunately for the actress, Will wasn't alone in his accusations. Alfonso Ribeiro said very similar things, labelling her a 'bitch' and was 'nuts'.


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"The first mum, not so much," Ribeiro said during a stand-up comedy show, when talking about who he liked working with. "You know, legally I'm not allowed to talk about it. But hey, why not?

"Basically, at the end of the day, the bitch was crazy. She went nuts!

"There were days when we were all on the set and she would literally go off on people and it got to a point by the time the second season came around where we we're like, 'This is unacceptable'.

"We felt like when we were doing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, that we were a family...She, at that point, ruined that, and she made it very difficult for us to work, and unfortunately she was then fired. They brought in Daphne Maxwell-Reid, who we absolutely loved, and we moved on. Oh well."


Credit: Warner Bros./Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

You kind of feel a bit sorry for her, really.

In 2009 she made an effort to try and bury the hatchet after claiming that Will and Alfonso 'destroyed a 20-year-career with untruths'.

"I went back to them in 2009 I and said, 'Please, I need you to clear my name'," she told US Magazine. "I spoke to J.L. [Will's manager] when my dad died and my brother died, and I begged them. I said, 'I have a family. I need you to tell the world that this stuff didn't happen'.

"And I was waiting in my heart, thinking somebody would come to me one day and help me, but they didn't. Because I had been trained as a young woman, you always have you dignity ... but I realised that redemption was not gonna come unless I did it myself."

Since then she has changed her mind twice, saying in 2011 that a reunion was impossible as Will Smith is an 'asshole'. Then in 2013 she turned on her heals again, saying they all owe each other an apology.

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros./Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Topics: Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, Will Smith

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Mark McGowan

Mark is a journalist at LADbible, who joined in 2015 after a year as a freelance writer. In the past he blogged for independent football fan channel Redmen TV, after graduating from Staffordshire University with degrees in journalism and English literature. He has worked on campaigns such as UOKM8? and IIOC.