Now this is a story all about how one actor's life got flipped-turned upside down by fame and the other… stayed known as Carlton Banks until Dancing With The Stars came along. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro is opening up about his relationship with former co-star Will Smith since their days on the popular NBC sitcom.
Yesterday, on Ribeiro's 52nd birthday, Smith took to his Instagram account to post a message in honor of the occasion. “Happy Bday to my guy, the GOAT, @therealalfonsoribeiro!!” said Smith. He also posted a cheeky pic of himself posing alongside a sequin pillow of Carlton Banks.
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According to various interviews Ribeiro has done that were collected by Hello! Magazine, he and Smith are still and have always been very close.
Ribeiro admitted it was not easy to step out of the Carlton shadow and being typecast as an uptight nerd after the popularity of his Fresh Prince character, but he didn't begrudge any of the success Will Smith has achieved as a Hollywood blockbuster actor.
He also didn't blame Smith for not using his fame and fortune to help further Ribeiro's acting career. Ribeiro told one interviewer, “Will Smith has helped me in many ways beyond what we have seen on camera.” He added, “But he has supported me in ways beyond anybody could understand.”
In another interview, Ribeiro reflected on the longevity of his relationship with Smith. “We’ve spent many years working together, hanging together, playing together, you know, having families together.” He continued, “Will is just a wonderful individual and we have such a great time whenever we're together.”
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast got together for a reunion special on Max in 2020, and Alfonso Ribeiro is currently gearing up to host the 32nd season of Dancing With The Stars, which premieres September 26th on ABC and Disney+. It's safe to say his eponymous “Carlton dance” from Fresh Prince days is part of what got him the gig (and remains integral to his enduring legacy).