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Janet Hubert on Health Struggle She Battled for More Than 10 Years: ‘I Was Scared to Death’

Edduin Carvajal
Feb 18, 2020
02:30 A.M.
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Actress Janet Hubert, best known as Vivian Banks on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," once opened up about a health issue that deteriorated her life for over ten years.


Janet began her career in the entertainment industry as a singer, dancer, and actress on Broadway. Between 1988 and 1990, she worked in a few TV shows such as "21 Jump Street," "A Man Called Hawk," and "Tales from the Crypt."

"I felt trapped inside my own body!"

Portrait of Janet Hubert as Vivian Banks on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" circa 1990 | Photo: Getty Images



Her big break came in 1990 when she started portraying Aunt Viv on the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" next to none other than Will Smith. The relationship between the two was not as smooth as one would expect, though.

Janet worked on the project for the first three years. After that, she was fired despite the fact that the TV show was among the most beloved sitcoms in the US.


The reason that the production gave was that the actress violated her contract by getting pregnant. Writers made her character pregnant and give birth before letting Janet go.

Shortly after leaving the show, Janet sued Will Smith and NBC, alleging that the "Pursuit of Happyness" star used his influence with the network to get her fired.



According to E!, Will told an Atlanta radio station in 1993 that Janet wanted the show to be about her character. The actor added:

"She's mad now, but she's been mad all along. She said once, 'I've been in the business for ten years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.' No matter what, to her, I'm just the Antichrist."


The feud between Janet and Will made headlines again back in 2016 when the former uploaded a now-deleted video on YouTube complaining about Jada Pinkett Smith, Will's wife, for boycotting the Oscars and asking Black artists to do the same.

According to Janet, Jada should have been concerned about the more important racial matters that were happening in the world instead of attacking one of the most influential organizations in the industry that gave the Smiths their fortune.



Following her rant, Janet appeared on "The Doctors" to talk about the health problem that she had been struggling with for over a decade. After going to a chiropractor who put a traction device on her neck, she heard a crack.

From that point on, she started feeling "violent, intense pain," as well as mild tremors that eventually became powerful and dizziness.

Janet Hubert crying while talking to "The Doctors" about her health problem | Photo: YouTube/The Doctors


Janet had to be taken to a hospital after she blacked out once. Unfortunately, the more than 40 doctors she visited couldn't find what was wrong with her. After saying that she was "scared to death," the actress confessed:

"I felt trapped inside my own body! I couldn't go out of the house; I couldn't stand up straight. I woke up in the middle of the night, and I said to my husband [Larry Kraft]: 'I'd rather die than live like this any longer.'"

Janet Hubert crying while talking to "The Doctors" about her health problem | Photo: YouTube/The Doctors



For Janet Hubert's son, things were especially difficult as the actress pointed out that it was like he lost his mother even though she was right there. In tears, she confessed that her health struggles had been "really tough."

Thankfully, Janet found relief in a specialist who would insert needles into trigger points in her face, head, and jaw that would reduce her symptoms.


Initially, the procedure was covered under her health plan with the American Federation of Television and Radio Acts (AFTRA). However, the insurance company decided that they would pay only 16 sessions a year, which, according to Janet, was not enough.

Due to her condition, she could not work and was unable to pay more sessions herself, which led her to sue the AFTRA in 2013. Janet lost the court battle in August 2014.


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