Family Matters star Jo Marie Payton recently spoke out and alleged that her fellow costar Jaleel White once tried to fight her on the set of the popular 90’s sitcom over a disagreement the two had regarding the filming of a particular scene.
The 71-year-old actress – who played Harriette Winslow on the classic American sitcom throughout its entire nine season run – recently recalled the shocking incident between her and White during an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
“There was one time he actually wanted to physically fight me,” she recalled, referring to White who is now 45-years-old and played the role of Steve Urkel.
“There was something that he wanted to do and I said we can’t do that, standards and practices will not let that pass,” she continued while recalling the incident that took place while filming the show’s ninth and final season. “It’s not gonna happen. He wanted to do it anyway. He was so mad, he started kicking and screaming and stuff.”
Then, according to Payton, she attempted to walk off set – which is when White allegedly challenged her to a fight.
“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 told the outlet. “Darius grabbed me. I was gonna whip his behind.”
But Payton’s recent interview with ET isn’t the first time there have been stories regarding the dramatic tensions and stresses between the cast on the set of Family Matters, because White himself revealed in 2021 that he believed many of the problems on set were caused as a result of him not being “welcomed to the cast at all.”
“My arrival to Family Matters was a rocky start at the beginning,” White revealed last year while talking about landing the role of Steve Urkel and how the show’s dynamic shifted to center more around him. “They kind of had to accept that I was there. That was a process.”
“Over time, figuring out that ‘if you do this and I do that, we win’ — that’s ultimately what evolved,” he added.
Payton also spoke out about the addition of White into the sitcom’s cast and how she and other actors were informed by the showrunners that the “dynamic was going to change” to focus more on White’s character, which Payton admitted was an “adjustment” that took some time to be made.
“And we said ‘OK,'” she said. “We weren’t happy about it. I think along the way it got to be a little resentful but it was just an adjustment that we had to make.”