A controversial career. Will Smith has discovered himself on the heart of a number of scandals over the course of his decades-long career, a few of which even date again to his time on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
When Janet Hubert, who performed Aunt Viv on the primary three seasons, left the ’90s sitcom as a result of “creative differences” in 1993, the “Summertime” rapper slammed his former costar throughout a radio interview. “I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show,” Smith mentioned on the time, per E! News. “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.”
Though he later apologized for his feedback, the Philadelphia native’s remarks marked the beginning of a years-long feud with Hubert. “There will never be a [Fresh Prince] reunion … as I will never do anything with an a–hole like Will Smith,” the Love Life actress informed TMZ in December 2011.
Two years later, Hubert claimed that Smith was spreading “lies” about her conduct on set. “I think what happened, because the audience was so on my side at that time, that Will probably felt like he needed to go out, and he needed to tell a lot of lies. … I have proof that a lot of that didn’t happen,” she informed The Grio in March 2013.
The pair continued their back-and-forth for years earlier than ultimately burying the hatchet throughout the 2020 Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion particular, the place Smith acknowledged that he “made the set difficult” for Hubert throughout the third season.
“Words can kill. I lost everything. Reputation. Everything, everything. I understand you were able to move forward,” she informed the Ali star throughout the HBO Max particular. “Calling a Black woman ‘difficult’ in Hollywood is the kiss of death. It’s hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in this business. I felt it was necessary for us to finally move forward. And I’m sorry I have blasted you to pieces.”
While he was in a position to settle one among his Hollywood feuds, Smith began a model new one on the 2022 Oscars by slapping Chris Rock throughout the ceremony. After the comic made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith‘s shaved head, the Oscar winner stormed the stage to defend his wife (who has alopecia) and hit Rock in the face. After he returned to his seat, Smith shouted at Rock, telling him to “Keep my wife’s identify out your f–king mouth.”
The “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” rapper apologized the next day for his conduct in an announcement shared through Instagram. “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable,” Smith wrote in March 2022. “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
Keep scrolling to relive Smith’s most controversial moments: