Original Aunt Viv on Fresh Prince reunion: Alfonso ‘was always the ass wipe for Will’

Janet Hubert played Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air for their first three seasons, from 1990 to 1993. She was replaced by Daphne Reid in that role for the show’s last three seasons. Back in 2009, Hubert went public with her side of the story, that she had been replaced on Fresh Prince for overshadowing Will Smith and that she refused to suck up to him or take a pay cut. Hubert had a memoir which came out around that time called Perfection is Not a Sitcom Mom which is sadly no longer in print. (If you want to pay a fortune you can still get it on Amazon though.)

Yesterday Corey reported on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air cast reunion which took place at an event for Karyn Parson’s (Hilary) charity, Sweet Blackberry. All the original cast was there except for James Avery (Uncle Phil), who passed away in late 2013 after complications from open heart surgery, and the first Aunt Viv, Hubert. Alfonso Ribiero posted a photo of all the castmembers together and included a sweet message about Avery, but of course didn’t reference Hubert at all. Well Hubert heard about that and she had some things to say. She posted this to Facebook:

I know the media hoe Alphonso Ribero [sic] has posted his so called reunion photo. Folks keep telling me about it. He was always the ass wipe for Will. There will never be a true reunion of the Fresh Prince. I have no interest in seeing any of these people on that kind of level.

I am not offended in the least, by this photo… it was an event for Karen’s [sic] charity. It does however prompt me to take some meetings in Hollywood to pitch my memoir PERFECTION IS NOT A SITCOM MOM, and tell of the behind the scenes story before I leave this earth.

[via Jezebel]

I’m relying on Jezebel for that excerpt because the original post which Hubert had on Facebook has since been removed. As Jezebel points out she really butchered the spelling of both Alfonso Ribeiro and Karyn Parson’s names. A lot of you mentioned in the comments yesterday that Hubert was the better Aunt Viv, and that sentiment is shared by JayBird, who used to write for us and swears she’s seen every Fresh Prince episode about a dozen times because it was all her parents would let her watch when she was growing up. I was only a casual Fresh Prince watcher, probably because I’m old and it aired when I was in college. If it was on when I was in high school you can bet I would have watched it more. So I don’t have a dog in this fight and will defer to your judgment that the show was never the same after Hubert left. Her candor is refreshing, I’ll give her that. I’ve also never heard anyone call someone an ass wipe for someone else. Is that a thing? Ass licker I’ve heard, but not ass wipe used in that context.

photos credit: WENN, Getty and via Twitter

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36 Responses to “Original Aunt Viv on Fresh Prince reunion: Alfonso ‘was always the ass wipe for Will’”

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  1. littlemissnaughty says:

    Oy. I loved her on that show, she was phenomenal and they didn’t even try to save the character after she left. Poor Daphne Maxwell Reid. She did her best with what she was given. But man, this post kind of gives a taste of what she can be like. I don’t doubt that Will could’ve been a bit of an a** at the time but if a person thinks that a reunion is only a reuinion if they themselves attend? “I won’t show up so it’s NOTHING without me!” Uh, I’m sure you weren’t invited.

    • Char says:

      I agree. She was great on the show, but she seems to be a bit of an ass herself. & have we heard other complaints of Will Smith being difficult to work with? I haven’t, but of course that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. But I’m just wondering if it was more if a clash of personalities/ producers really focusing all their attention on Smith & her not liking it, or was Smith truly difficult to work with? And while I like Smith, aside from the weird Scientology aspect, I don’t have any real reason to defend him, other than I can’t recall hearing any other costars ever complaining about him?

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I really don’t know, I’ve never heard anything negative about his behavior. I’m just saying that at that age and with all of the success of the show at that point, it’s entirely possible he was a bit cocky. She does not seem like a woman who would do well around a cocky 20-something dude who’s the star of the show she’s on.

      • Char says:

        This makes sense & it’s even likely that it didn’t bother anyone else. Which doesn’t mean he wasn’t cocky, but just possible that others found him entertaining. It’s why people liked the show, afterall.

      • vaultdweller101 says:

        She was a great Aunt Viv, but she seems really thirsty for attention. I mean, the rest of the cast isn’t allowed to get together without her?
        Lady, please.

        The more she talks, the more I believe that the problem was probably her, rather than Will Smith or anyone else in the cast.

    • lem says:

      She just sounds extremely bitter about the whole thing all these years later. I won’t argue that Smith couldn’t have been an ass, but the show has been off the air for 21 years & every time the remaining cast get together, she trashes them for it. It seems everyone else has moved on from whatever drama there may have been during filming.

      • Matomeda says:

        This article left a loooooot out! I loved her too but who she really is is nasty. She left because she got along with no one and wanted more money but to work fewer hours after her baby. Seriously everyone on that she she disliked and scraped with. She also complained about ridiculous things like how will liked the cast to bs and dance in his trailer, and “if you want me to dance you’d better put it in my contract.” Just really reaching for things to complain about. So was it every single actor and producer…..or her?

  2. detritus says:

    I thought she was removed because she wanted to be the lead, and wasn’t happy with it being about Will?

    I’ve heard so many conflicting stories about this woman, but she seems to dance to the beat of her own drum and give no f*cks and I can’t hate on that. Plus Will is probably obnoxious in person, lets be real here.

    Watch her go though, those moves and that figure.

    • Clucky says:

      Yes! This is the episode I referenced below. Love it!!

    • Ramona says:

      If we are being real we would consider the fact that not only did nobody on that set ever even vaguely confirm her stories, they all remain friendly with Will two decades on. Not to mention that Will has been on a dozen movie sets thereafter without even the sputtering of a rumor of bad behavior. Meanwhile this lady is trashing Alfonso just because he is friends with somebody she hates, she is clearly the ahole here.

      • detritus says:

        truth, i may have a bit of a soft spot for a petty b.
        she does need to let the grudge die though. or get a bit shadier so not everyone can see it.
        i dunno, i go back and forth between loving Will and thinking he may be shady. Alphonso is just straight up adorable though. Don’t tell me any awful truths about him please

    • Missmarirose says:

      That’s ridiculous to think you should be the lead on a show named after someone else and (very) loosely based on that other person’s life. I mean, c’mon!

  3. Beth says:

    Ouch! What a bitter lady

  4. MeeMow says:

    She seems like a real delight, I wonder why she isn’t invited to the reunions? *sarcasm*

  5. Dani says:

    She sounds bitter to me. Like trying to play it that she doesn’t care but she very obviously cares.

  6. Mia4s says:

    I was waiting for this. Seriously I wasn’t even a big fan of the show (I mean, I’ve seen it) but her level of bitter AND candid stands out in Hollywood. Ummmm, is it wrong to say I’d totally read her book?

  7. Clucky says:

    It’s true. Original Aunt Viv was the best Aunt Viv. The other one lacked authority and charisma.

    I’ll never forget that episode where original Aunt Viv tried out for some dance group and killed her audition after training with a professional dancer, snaps her finger in the younger dancer’s faces, then collapsed outside the room afterwards. I think the routine was done to the song “Everybody Dance Now.”

    • Sayrah says:

      I remember that scene too. She was a classically trained dancer who was also in Cats on Broadway if I remember correctly.

  8. Bluesky says:

    I mean, I get it. I’m sure there was a clash of egos, but the show was called “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” I agree that she was better than Daphne Maxwell Reid, but it’s been 20 years and she seems really bitter. If you don’t care, why respond?? She clearly still holds a grudge especially after she went after Jada Pinkett after the Oscars so White controversy. Plus, I haven’t seen her in anything since which makes me wonder if she was part of the problem. Didn’t she have some health issues too in the past?

    • Miko says:

      I think the powers that be ,won’t hire her much anymore. You don’t go against a Hollywood Powerhouse Corporation like Will Smith. Even though tabloids may gossip about him, the dude is very well liked in and out of the Industry. Will Smith, in loved Internationally..

      She sounds bitter, but her snarky comments are funny too, but bitter sounding.

  9. MissInformation says:

    An ass wipe for someone else is actually a proper thing – a Groom of the Stool. Truth.


  10. Sayrah says:

    She was the better aunt viv in my opinion but wow, she needs to take it down a notch. It’s time to let that s— go.

    • JFresh says:

      It’s definitely poor form and makes her look bad. At the same time, gotta have some respect for a person who speaks her truth. Also I do wonder what really went down. They might have wronged her really bad. It’s easy to say get over it/let it go, but some wounds go deep and are very hard to heal. We don’t really know what happened

  11. Christin says:

    I was late to the party in terms of watching Fresh Prince reruns, so I had little background on why the casting change happened.

    Her story sounds similar to how the Ginger Grant actress thought Gilligan’s Island was going to be about her character and refused any reunions.

  12. QQ says:

    *Smug watching My case Resting , LOL* No but fr I’m happy to see that show fans and twitter explained my yesterday point about OG Aunt Viv

  13. perplexed says:

    I used to think there was truth to the stories about Will Smith being mean to her. Now, I’m thinking it was the other way around!

    • Miko says:

      Were there rumours that she and Will had a thing for awhile? Maybe it was just tabloid nonsense.

  14. minx says:

    Let it go, Aunt Viv.

  15. Insomniac says:

    Goodness, what a charming lady. Can’t imagine why the other cast members wouldn’t want her around.

  16. BJ says:

    Tatyana posted the reunion pic so why didn’t she call her a media hoe?
    Be Better not Bitter

  17. Sage says:


    She was the best Aunt Viv. I never warmed up to her replacement.

  18. Tig says:

    Yea, not really getting this being her being “candid”. Yeesh, she is one bitter Betty. And she desperately wants that book of hers back in print.

  19. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    I liked her Aunt Viv much better. That one was a highly educated college professor, a black woman in a mostly white college if we judge by Will’s fellow students, who fought for human rights when she was young and then all her life.

    She was replaced by somebody that seemed to be defined by being a stay at home mom and nothing more. All the edge was gone. So like almost every other sitcom mom ever. I’m not sure if the new Viv was even still a teacher and an activist, but they definitively didn’t use that info anymore like they did before.

    That being said, the actress sounds bitter and nasty overall. Too bad.

  20. Marianne says:

    And maybe thats why they dont want to talk to you anymore.

  21. Bread and Circuses says:

    She WAS the best Aunt Viv; she was stellar, which was maybe part of the problem, because she wasn’t supposed to be the star of that show.

    It’s too bad it all became toxic, because they really did create a great body of work together.