‘Fresh Prince’ star Alfonso Ribeiro says show ‘became a sacrifice’ that ended his acting career

Ribeiro starred on the Will Smith-led series from 1990 to 1996

Alfonso Ribeiro is excited to spend the holidays with family

Alfonso Ribeiro is looking forward to spending the holidays with his family, telling Fox News Digital he is just going to "chill out."

Alfonso Ribeiro is best known to most audiences for "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," but he admits the role occasionally leaves him a little conflicted.

In a new interview with Closer Weekly, Ribeiro said his iconic role as Carlton Banks, cousin to Will Smith’s lead character, was ultimately a "sacrifice" for his acting career.

"Playing Carlton on ‘Fresh Prince’ became a sacrifice. I used to always say doing Carlton was the greatest and worst thing that ever happened to me," Ribeiro told the outlet. 

He continued, "It was one of the greatest roles that I ever was fortunate enough to play, but it was also the role that stopped me from acting again because people couldn’t see me as anything else. The sacrifice was not having an acting career anymore."

Side by side photos of Alfonso Ribeiro in character as Carlton banks and a regular red carpet photo of Alfonso Ribeiro

Alfonso Ribeiro told Closer Weekly that his iconic role of Carlton Banks on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" was a "sacrifice" for his acting career. (Getty Images)


Ribeiro doesn’t resent the series, and shared some of his favorite memories from filming.

"It was about the cast and spending time with them. Before every show, we would go into Will Smith’s dressing room, and we’d play music and dance and just have a great energy buildup to get ready for the show. Those are some great memories of just being together," he recalled.

Tatyana Ali as Ashley Banks; Will Smith as William 'Will' Smith; Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks; (back l-r) Karyn Parsons as Hilary Banks; James Avery as Philip Banks; Daphne Reid as Vivian Banks; Joseph Marcell as Geoffrey

Ribeiro said he had "great memories" of the cast spending time in Will Smith's dressing room before show tapings. (Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

And though he’s not taken any major acting roles in quite some time, he told Close Weekly, "I’m enjoying being a host and am very happy with it." 

"But, yes, I would go back to acting if it was exactly the right thing," he added.


The 52-year-old is currently co-hosting "Dancing with the Stars," alongside Julianne Hough, after winning season 19 in 2014.

He also hosts "America’s Funniest Home Videos" and "Jack Hanna’s Passport," both on ABC.

Ribeiro on "Dancing with the Stars."

Ribeiro said he is "enjoying being a host" of shows like "Dancing with the Stars." (Christopher Willard/Disney via Getty Images)

"My happiest moments, career-wise, are winning ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and now becoming host of ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ And after winning ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ I got the opportunity to do the show that I always wanted to do – ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos,’" Ribeiro said.

Ribeiro started his career young, landing the lead role in Broadway’s "The Tap Dance Kid" at age 8.


That led to an appearance in a 1984 Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson, followed by his role as Rick Schroder’s best friend on "Silver Spoons" that same year.

Recalling working with Jackson, Ribeiro said, "It was amazing. I was a huge fan and ended up becoming friends with him. It was quite special. The funny story was when we were doing rehearsals, I couldn’t understand why it was taking Michael so long to learn such simple choreography. Then, I realized, ‘Oh, he’s not learning it. He’s perfecting it.’ Every movement, every fingertip, had to be exactly what he wanted it to be. I learned that it’s not about how quickly you do something, it’s about getting it right in every detail."

Side by side photos of Alfonso Ribeiro and Michael Jackson

Ribeiro appeared in a Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson, recalling he "ended up becoming friends with him." (Getty Images)

The father of four shares one daughter with his first wife, Robin Stapler, and three children – two sons and another daughter – with wife Angela Unkrich.

He revealed at least one of his children is interested in following in his famous footsteps.

"I think my girls will," he said of whether or not his children would go into show business. "My oldest daughter has been in a movie. I don’t know about my boys, but I’ll be supportive of whatever they want to do. I’ve coached them in their baseball, and that’s been fantastic. I’m all for letting them do their thing."

Authored by Elizabeth Stanton via FoxNews May 19th 2024