What Will Smith And Alfonso Ribeiro's Relationship Is Like Today

You could say that  "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," which premiered on NBC in 1990, was Will Smith's playground. Not only did Smith lend his name to the lead character, but his comedic timing was a breath of fresh air for the half-hour comedy. However, "The Fresh Prince" also benefitted from its talented supporting cast. For example, the late James Avery, who played Uncle Phil, countered Smith's rebellious spirit. On the other hand, Tatyana Ali and Karen Parsons — Smith's on-screen cousins — helped to cultivate his sensitive side. And despite the messy feud brewing between the co-stars, Janet Hubert, who portrayed the original Aunt Viv, helped hone Smith's intellectual qualities. 

With that said, Alfonso Ribeiro's contribution as Carlton Banks — Smith's geeky, socially awkward cousin — was invaluable to the show's success. During early seasons, Ribeiro served as Smiths' foil, often ratting him out before he could enact his mischievous plans. Later, the cousins became best friends who often got into various Hijinx together, although their inherent differences still set the stage for lots of laughs. Eventually, Ribeiro's character rivaled Smith's in popularity, partly thanks to his signature dance. In any case, the on-screen chemistry between Smith and Ribeiro was absolutely palpable. But what about offscreen?

Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro have been friends for 30 years

Fret not: Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro are just as close in their private lives as they are on set. Not only have the pair kept in touch since "Fresh Prince" went off-air in 1996, but they've been rather gracious in sharing their friendship with fans. Ribeiro, for his part, has proven himself to be a loyal friend to Smith, often supporting him amid his various controversies — including the backlash against his "Aladdin" performance and his infamous Oscars debacle.

According to Ribeiro, Smith has certainly reciprocated. During an appearance on "Sway In The Morning," Ribeiro spoke highly of his friendship with Smith. After denouncing critics who felt Smith hadn't done enough to help the "Fresh Prince" cast advance their careers, Ribeiro offered a different perspective. "Will Smith has helped me in many ways beyond what we have seen on camera," shared Ribeiro. "But he has supported me in ways beyond anybody could understand." In addition to supporting each other throughout their three-decade friendship, they've also managed to have fun, such as the time that they appeared on The Graham Norton Show, treating the audience to a lively performance of the "Fresh Prince" theme song and "The Jump on It" dance.

Why Alfonso Ribeiro probably didn't read Will Smith's memior

While it's clear that Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro are super close, the entire "Fresh Prince" cast share a special bond. In 2020, ahead of the show's 30th-anniversary special, Ribeiro addressed fans' excitement at seeing the cast back together again. "At the end of the day, I know everyone always likes to make whenever we get together a big moment," said Ribeiro to Cinema Blend. "I look at it very simply as we always get together. We constantly chat. We're family. It'll be interesting and fun. I think it's going to be a great special. But for us, it was the same as how we always get together."

It appears familiarity is the reason Ribeiro probably didn't read Smith's memoir. "For many, many, many years, people speculated about [the Smith family]," said Ribeiro to People. "They are laying it out there in a way that is their truth. I don't know if I'll read the book because I know the people," he added.