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Behind The Scenes History Of 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' Most People Don't Know

List RulesVote up the most shocking behind-the-scenes stories from ' The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.'

In 1990, NBC took a chance on the young, Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Will Smith and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Though the show worked its way into everyone's hearts with its thoughtful plot lines, infectious theme song, and Smith's raw charisma, the cast of Fresh Prince were decidedly not chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool. They were busy writing petty notes in a Mean Girl's-style "Burn Book" and feuding with their fellow actors.

Much of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's behind-the-scenes drama dealt with the cast's grievances involving the actor playing the original Aunt Viv. Over three seasons, Janet Hubert failed to see eye-to-eye with the show's biggest stars and had her hand in the juiciest tidbits of Fresh Prince drama. A whopping 22 years later, most of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's biggest secrets have already been aired. But these dark Fresh Prince stories also paint a picture of a rap star who struggled with his newfound TV stardom amid feuds with his onscreen family, record label, and even the US government.

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    Jada Pinkett Smith Lost The Role Of Will's Girlfriend Because She Was Too Short

    Photo: NBC

    Back in the early '90s, Jada Pinkett Smith was an unknown actor vying for the role of Will's girlfriend on The Fresh Prince. We all know how that story plays out: they got married in 1997 after meeting on set and went on to become one of the most well-known A-list families to ever grace Hollywood. Onscreen was a totally different story, though, as Pinkett-Smith didn't win her paramour's heart.

    According the actor, she was told she was too short to be his girlfriend"They told me I was too short… to play Will's girlfriend…only for me to become his wife," she said.

    Years later, after she did Different World and became a bona fide movie star, production asked her to come back, but she told them, "No, I'm a movie star. I don't have time." Burn, Jada. Good burn.

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    'Fresh Prince' Was Based On The Life Of Benny Medina, A Producer And Manager Whose Dad Was Involved In A Drug Cartel

    Photo: NBC

    Will Smith's dad was missing for the majority of The Fresh Prince. Only later was he introduced and the reason he left Will revealed (he wasn't ready to be a father). The truth is that the real Fresh Prince had a father who was deep into drugs, but he wasn't absent because he wasn't ready to have kids: he was in prison.

    Smith's character was inspired by Benny Medina, a producer and manager who was in and out of foster homes with brief stints at his aunt's house in Watts, a neighborhood in South Los Angeles. When he was 9 years old, his mother died of cancer and his father left after numerous stints in prison for using and dealing drugs. In an interview with The Marshall Project, Medina's father (also named Benny Medina), spoke about his struggles as a drug-dealing parent.

    I kept all five of my kids the best I could but I was involved with a cartel dealing drugs, so I could supply myself with money for a babysitter and drive a nice car and have drums.

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    The Soundtrack Was Originally Only Released In The Netherlands

    Video: YouTube

    Though everyone should know the words to The Fresh Prince's famed theme song, you might have a lot of trouble actually finding the physical album. The soundtrack was only released on CD and vinyl in the Netherlands, where the theme song peaked on the charts at #3 in 1992.

    But thanks to the magic of the internet, you can now listen to the track on Amazon.

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    Smith And Jazzy Jeff Entered A Lawsuit With Their Record Label Over 'The Fresh Prince'

    Photo: NBC

    Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeff Townes), the other half of the popular hip-hop duo, were Grammy-winning stars by the time Smith signed on to do The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Much like their music, the TV show was a hit, and they used it to promote their rap careers. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince released the music video iconic single "Summertime" at the end of an episode.

    It got three million views as a result, but their label wasn't thrilled. According to Townes: 

    [Jive] realized if these guys want to stop doing music they can, because they have another form of income. That scared people [at the label]... We went through a lawsuit with [Jive] because they said our extracurricular activities were interfering with our ability to make music.

    Turns out, the label missed out, as Townes flourished as a DJ and producer and Smith went on to become a multi-platinum artist and movie star.

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