Within the fall of 1987, when The Cosby Present was nonetheless on the air, a by-product that adopted Denise Huxtable to the fictional establishment of upper studying Hillman Faculty, made its debut. However whereas A Totally different World was initially supposed to revolve round Lisa Bonet’s character, by the second season, the actor and Denise had been gone, and the sitcom was retooled to characteristic different new and returning forged members. Clearly, this was fairly large leisure information on the time—The Cosby Present was a large hit and Bonet was already a star—so rumors started to fly about why she left A Totally different World so quickly into what could be a six-season run. A few of these rumors blamed Bonet for being “troublesome” to work with.
In a 2021 oral historical past, stars and creatives from A Totally different World weighed in on the large shakeup, the controversy behind the choice, and what Bonet was actually like. Learn on to seek out out what they stated.
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Bonet met rocker Lenny Kravitz at a New Version live performance in 1985, and whereas their relationship wasn’t romantic at first, they eloped in 1987, when she was 20. By the subsequent yr, she was pregnant with their solely baby, Zoë Kravitz, who was born Dec. 1, 1988.
Bonet and Kravitz’s marriage resulted in 1993, however they remained co-parents and buddies. Kravitz even grew to become near his ex-wife’s second husband, Jason Momoa, who Bonet cut up from earlier this yr. Zoë, in fact, went on to comply with in her mom’s performing footsteps, starring in initiatives like The Batman and Huge Little Lies.
There was a whole lot of speak over the many years since The Cosby Present was on the air that Bonet usually clashed with Invoice Cosby. Cosby additionally created A Totally different World, and whereas among the artistic staff on the college-set present thought that Bonet’s being pregnant opened up a brand new, attention-grabbing, and relatable story for her character, he reportedly shot down the thought of getting Denise be a pregnant pupil.
In a 2015 interview with the Archive of American Tv, showrunner Debbie Allen described going to Cosby with Bonet’s information and making an attempt to promote him on writing the being pregnant into the present. “And I defined to him how I needed to apply it to the present as a result of that will be an incredible factor. To see a woman who’s [this] higher class child, having a child, not married as a result of she did not wish to be married … and the ladies might root for her,” she stated.
Allen added that later, Cosby went to her and stated, “You realize what Debbie? No. She’s pregnant, Denise Huxtable shouldn’t be pregnant, Lisa Bonet is pregnant, not Denise. So no … no you’ll be able to’t have it, no we’re not gonna do it, no.”
Lenny Kravitz shares an identical model of that story in his 2020 memoir, Let Love Rule.
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For Self-importance Honest, a number of stars, artistic staff members, and well-known followers of A Totally different World participated in an oral historical past of the influential present. Whereas the publication notes that Bonet didn’t reply to requests to be part of it as properly, the dialog clearly touched on her and Denise—and the gossip that abounded after she was fired from the present.
“Lisa does not get sufficient credit score for A Totally different World,” Darryl M. Bell, who performed Ron, instructed Self-importance Honest. “It was all due to her recognition that Mr. Cosby had the thought to do that spinoff. And I do know it was a whole lot of stress, significantly when she and Lenny began courting. The quantity of press and paparazzi that hounded and adopted them… they had been 20-year-old children. Anybody who has advised that Lisa was unprofessional or troublesome to work with, it is simply not true.”
Jasmine Man, who performed Whitley, added, “I felt like Lisa was diminished in her means to look pure. All people stated, ‘Nicely, that is simply her.’ Have you learnt how onerous it’s to make your actuality fact? In entrance of a digital camera?”
Cree Summer time, who joined the forged in Season 2 as Freddie, stated that she and Bonet “grew to become soul sisters” at first sight and famous that she is Zoë’s godmother.
Nobody within the piece shared any unfavorable reminiscences about working with Bonet.
Bonet, who would return to The Cosby Present after welcoming her daughter, wasn’t the one casualty of the primary season of A Totally different World. The present additionally parted methods with Marisa Tomei, who performed Denise’s roommate Maggie, and Loretta Devine, who performed grad pupil Stevie. New forged members had been added, others had been promoted, and the present started to focus extra on different characters, together with Whitley and Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison).
“[The creators] needed to go in a distinct course culturally, which meant Marisa was additionally gone,” Dawnn Lewis, recognized to followers as Jaleesa, recalled to Self-importance Honest. “She and Lisa are unbelievable ladies, and so they had been a lot enjoyable to work with. It was unhappy for me—as a result of we had began this journey collectively—for them to not be there anymore.”
From Season 2 on, with Allen within the driver’s seat, A Totally different World grew to become extra true-to-life and continues to be celebrated for tackling delicate topics that different comedies would not contact.
“Nobody had ever seen a Black school depicted, nobody had seen that vary of Black folks—of each stroll, of each socioeconomic background, of each complexion,” stated author and government producer Susan Falles-Hill. “We’re all the time being instructed what we’re and what we’re allowed to be, and on A Totally different World, we simply had been.”