10+ 'Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' Behind The Scenes Secrets Fans Didn't Know

So you think you're a fan of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? If you answered yes, then it's time to rejoice! The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is returning to HBO Max!

To celebrate this incredible news, I've managed to put together a list of 10+ The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air behind the scenes secrets fans didn't know.

Let us know your favorite fact at the end of the article!

1. Will Smith had almost no acting experience before landing the part.

By his own admission, Will was incredibly green. He had no formal acting training whatsoever and was learning everything on the fly.

He even used to mouth the lines of other actors while they were saying them!

2. There's a Michael Jackson connection that you might have missed.


The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was produced by a man by the name of Quincy Jones. That name should warrant no explanation but in case you happen to be unfamiliar, Quincy produced Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

3. Geoffrey actually does have a last name!

Believe it or not, Geoffrey's last name is Butler. Now, some might think it a bit on-the-nose, but that's part of what made The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air so incredible! They never shied away from poking fun at themselves.

4. There were two Aunt Vivs!


The first actress to play the role was named Janet Hubert. She got into messy contract negotiations with production and even began publically feuding with Will Smith.

She was fired and the role was recast.

5. Will Smith was in an incredible amount of debt at the time.

It was the biggest reason why he accepted the part! Before Will landed The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he owed a whopping $2.8 million in back taxes to the IRS.

The situation was so bad, that they even garnished his wages!


Will was forced to pay the government 70% of his salary for the first three seasons.

He came incredibly close to declaring bankruptcy altogether. Were it not for the intervention of Quincy Jones, he very well may have.

6. The show's theme song caused a high school lockdown.

Multiple schools in Pennsylvania County were placed on lockdown when a school receptionist misheard a student's answering machine.

She thought the student said "Shooting some people outside of the school," instead of "Shooting some b-ball outside of the school."

7. Nicky Banks puts the boy in Boyz II Men.


Nicky's full name is Nicholas Andrew Michael Shawn Nathan Wanya. The four founding members of Boyz II Men are named Michael, Shawn, Nathan, and Wanya.

They even did a performance at Nicky's Christening!

8. The show had an incredible amount of famous cameos.


The stars of Hollywood couldn't line up fast enough to get a guest spot on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Over the course of the series, Evander Holyfield, Queen Latifah, BB King, and even President Donald Trump made appearances.

9. Tyra Banks made her acting debut as Jackie Ames!


Long before the days of America's Next Top Model, Tyra Banks was Will's no-nonsense-sometimes-girlfriend friend from Philadelphia, Jackie Ames.

The pair had a short-lived romance on the show as well. I always thought that Jackie was a better fit for Will than Lisa...

10. Will Smith met his future wife Jada Pinkett-Smith during her audition.

Jada was auditioning to be Will's girlfriend, Lisa. As impressive as Jada was, the production team felt that she was just too short for the role.

They began dating and within two years they were married with their first child.

11. The Banks' mansion isn't actually in Bel-Air!


The mansion that they use for all the exterior shots is real! Only it's located in Brentwood — not Bel-Air.

Clearly they made the right decision. The Fresh Prince of Brentwood just sounds flat.

12. Carlton's dance has real world inspiration.

According to Alfonso Ribeiro, the idea came when he saw Courtney Cox in Bruce Springsteen's music video for "Dancing In The Dark."

He combined her moves with Eddie Murphy's "White Man Dance" from the comedy special Delirious, and The Carlton was born!

13. The series was once the preferred program of choice for inmates at Guantanamo Bay.


I wasn't even aware that those suspected of high treason could even get TV privileges!

For a long time, the standing favorite was Harry Potter, but Will and the gang just edged them out!

14. Nike endorsed a pair of Will Smith Air Jordan's!

The sneakers are supposed to be modeled after the elective outfit choices of a young Will Smith.

An endorsement by Nike is a pretty cool thing to bring up in conversations if you ask me.