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Will Smith has had many successful acting roles throughout his career, but more than 20 years later, he’s still known for his role on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Smith starred on the show from 1990 to 1996, and he developed close relationships with his co-stars outside of filming. Today, he and Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton) still have the sweetest friendship.

'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air' cast
‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ cast | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro met on the set of ‘Fresh Prince’

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air premiered back in 1990, and it was on that set that Smith and Ribeiro met for the first time. On the show, Smith played the nephew of Vivian and Phil, with whom he was sent to live after his mother was concerned for his safety and well-being in their home city of Philadelphia.

On the show, Ribeiro plays Smith’s goofy cousin, Carlton, and though he and Smith are about the same age on the show, their characters couldn’t have less in common if they tried. Their interests, personalities, and fashion were far different, and though they stepped on one another’s toes (well, it was mostly Will stepping on Carlton’s toes), they always had each other’s backs when it came right down to it.

Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro in 2019
Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro in 2019. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Smith and Ribeiro have remained close through the years

Smith and Ribeiro’s close relationship on the show went far beyond the cameras. It turns out the two have remained close friends for years. On Sept. 21, Smith posted a photo in honor of Ribeiro’s 49th birthday. “I’ve known you for over 30 birthdays!” Smith captioned the photo. “Through questionable fashion choices and the inevitable glow up … You are the definition of Ride or Die.”

“[I’ve known] Will… maybe 24, 25 years,” Ribeiro told Access of his former co-star back in 2013. “We’ve spent many years working together, hanging together, playing together, you know, having families together … [Will is] just a wonderful individual and we have such a great time whenever we’re together.”

That same year, Ribeiro and Smith both flew to London to surprise fans on the set of The Graham Norton Show, where Ribeiro came out and did his signature “Carlton Dance” to the song “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones. “It was a lot of fun to do,” Ribeiro said. The two men have continued to build fun memories even 20 years after Fresh Prince ended.


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The ‘Fresh Prince’ cast still stays in touch

Years later, the cast of the show has still remained close. Earlier this year, HBO Max announced a reunion special, where the entire cast will get together for an unscripted reunion — DJ Jazzy Jeff and all. The only two who will not be present at the reunion are Janet Hubert (Vivian Banks), who was fired from the show after three seasons, and James Avery (Philip Banks), who passed away in 2013.

Not much is known about the reunion special, but there is also a Fresh Prince reboot in the works, though it reportedly won’t be the same as the original.