HomeAmerican EntertainmentTVClassic TV‘Family Matters’ Star Jo Marie Payton Alleges Steve Urkel Actor Jaleel White Tried To Fight Her on Set

‘Family Matters’ Star Jo Marie Payton Alleges Steve Urkel Actor Jaleel White Tried To Fight Her on Set

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Family Matters star Jo Marie Payton claims that Urkel actor Jaleel White once tried to physically fight her on set.

As Payton shared with Entertainment Tonight on May 3rd, the incident happened during the classic TV series’ 9th season. White wanted to ad-lib something into the script of Original Gangsta Dawg. But Payton, a seasoned actress by that time, said that “standards and practices will not let that pass.”

While she did not clarify what White wanted to add, she said she made it abundantly clear to White that it wasn’t “gonna happen.” But he persisted and demanded that she change her mind.

“He wanted to do it anyway,” she said. “He was so mad. He started kicking and screaming and stuff.”

His outrage then got so out of control that he “actually wanted to physically fight,” the Harriette Winslow actress added.

Because of the obvious tension, Jo Marie Payton said “she walked off,” but she heard the Urkel actor make a snide remark. So she stopped and asked her on-screen son, Eddie actor Darius McCrary, if she heard White correctly. McCrary clarified that she did.

“He said something about, ‘She must want to melee.’ I said, ‘What’s a melee?’ He said, ‘a fight.’ I turned around — if he wanna fight, I would,” she admitted. “Darius grabbed me. I was gonna whip his behind.”

Jaleel White Claimed the Cast of ‘Family Matters’ Didn’t Accept Him

Decades later, Payton realizes that Jaleel White was “just a kid” at the time. And she doesn’t completely blame him for his rude behavior. White was a breakout star who went from supporting actor to lead actor seemingly overnight. And the fame clouded his judgment.

“I give some of those adults credit too,” said Payton. “Letting him run wild and do whatever he wanted to do, thinking he can say what he wants to say. You know, and hurt people’s feelings and all that.”

While talking on TV One’s Uncensored in 2021, White also shared that there was unnecessary tension between him and his fellow Family Matters cast members. But according to him, it was because he didn’t feel “welcomed.”

And later, during an episode of E!’s True Hollywood Story, he and Payton both mentioned that a lot of the problems came when his role elevated above theirs.

“My arrival to Family Matters was a rocky start at the beginning,” White shared. “They kind of had to accept that I was there. That was a process.”

But now that Jo Marie Payton sees everything in hindsight, she doesn’t carry hard feelings. The actress has fond memories of her time with the TGIF hit.

“I did love all of my Family Matters crew,” she admitted. “I’ve kept in touch with a lot of them. I see them on other shows… I love them all. We had incredible writers, I love them. And they know who my issue was with. It wasn’t with the entirety of them.”