The Truth About Tatyana Ali's Relationship With Will Smith

"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" made Will Smith a household name, but it's worth noting that the hit sitcom — which ran from 1990 to 1996, per IMDb — boasted a stellar ensemble cast. From James Avery to Alfonso Ribeiro, the beloved show was filled to bursting with attention-grabbing comedic turns. As Screen Rant notes, newcomer Tatyana Ali was just 11 years-old when she was cast as youngest Banks kid, Ashley, on "Fresh Prince." Although Ali already had a handful of roles to her name, including on "The Cosby Show," appearing opposite Smith was undoubtedly her breakout moment.

Ali has remained booked and busy since "Fresh Prince" wrapped, with a variety of movies and TV shows to her name (via IMDb). Elsewhere, Screen Rant notes the former child star earned a degree from none other than Harvard in the intervening years too. She's also a wife and mother, with People confirming Ali reunited with Smith and fellow former co-star Ribeiro at the "Aladdin" premiere in 2019, in which Smith played the Genie. She was expecting her second child at the time. Clearly Smith and Ali are still in touch, but are the "Fresh Prince" stars as close as they once were?

Will Smith and Tatyana Ali remain close to this day

As The Things points out, there was a storyline on "Fresh Prince" involving  Will Smith's character attempting to cash in on his cousin, played by Tatyana Ali's, singing chops. In reality, though, he encouraged her to sing professionally and even signed Ali to his production company. Smith was a successful rapper at the time, but Ali's talent only emerged after she performed karaoke at a wrap party. The powers that be realized "we should write this in," per The Blast, leading Smith to nab Ali a record deal. 

She subsequently stood by him during the actor's public feud with fellow "Fresh Prince" star Janet Hubert. At the time, Ali admitted, "It's almost like remembering a divorce or something in your family. We were really close, and we cared for each other. We spent all day together every day." She also claimed Smith is "the same person" he was on the show. 

In 2020, ahead of the "Fresh Prince" reboot on Peacock, Ali gushed to Entertainment Tonight, "I think it's brilliant. Flipping it and making it a drama is so dope. I think that's part of this lasting power of the sitcom — it was based in real stuff." Back in 1996, when ET visited the set for the final episode taping, Smith described Ali as "like a little sister to me." Clearly, despite the passing years, these two remain in each other's corners.