Nia Long Talks Beating Jada Pinkett Smith for Role of Will Smith's Girlfriends on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'

Monica Otayza
Mar 18, 2020
12:20 P.M.
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Nia Long opens up about beating Jada Pinkett-Smith for the lead role on "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," saying that in the end, Jada got Will anyway. 

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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were almost going to be paired up as an on-screen couple on "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," but she ended up being beaten for the role by Nia Long, who ended up bagging the role. 

While she didn't end up with the job, they felt an instant connection and began dating. 

Nia Long at the LA Premiere of "47 Meters Down Uncaged" on August 13, 2019. | Photo: Getty Images/GlobalImagesUkraine

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A SUDDEN DECISION SWITCH

While speaking to PeopleTV's "Couch Surfing," Long revealed that Jada was initially cast for the role, until the production team made a switch. 

"First, they cast Jada to play his girlfriend. They cast Jada, and they were like, 'Jada's too short.' I'm only about two inches taller than her, that does not make a difference."

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ALL IS FAIR IN THE WORLD

Thanks to this change, Long went on to play Will's girlfriend, Lisa Wilkes, in season 5 of the series. In the end, she assured fans that there were no hard feelings between her and Jada, and there's even a joke about who came out as the winner, overall. 

"The joke that I have with Jada is that I got the job, but she got the husband. That's like our running joke."

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The Smith couple first met in 1994 when she auditioned for the role of Lisa. While she didn't end up with the job, they felt an instant connection and began dating less than a year after meeting. Meanwhile, Nia remained friends with both of them, and all was well among them. 

LIVING THEIR BEST LIVES

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While Nia Long didn't end up dating her co-star, she is  happily engaged to her fiance Ime Udoka and has two children who light up her life. Although she never married, she is content with the way her life is, and her little family is all she needs to get by. 

With her former NBA player fiance, she shares a son named Kez. She also has an older son, Massai Dorsey, from a previous relationship. 

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