Despite its wholesome storylines, it seems like the hit 90’s sitcom Family Matters had a lot of behind-the-scenes drama. As evident in a recent episode of E! True Hollywood Story, there was a lot of tension on set once the breakout character of Steve Urkel became a hit star. Now, the leading lady from the series, Jo Marie Payton, is saying that the drama was a bit more intense than it seemed.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the sitcom star, who played the loveable but stern Harriette Winslow (Urkel’s neighbor), revealed that breakout actor Jaleel White became a bit of a diva once he was upgraded to a main castmember. “There was one time he actually wanted to physically fight me,” Payton explained, recalling an episode from the later seasons.
“[There was a scene where] I said we can’t do that, standards and practices will not let that pass, it’s not gonna happen. He wanted to do it anyway… He was so mad, he started kicking and screaming and stuff.” Maybe that SNL parody wasn’t that far off?
It didn’t stop there– White then allegedly asked to “melee.” “I said, ‘What’s a melee?’ He said, ‘a fight.’ I turned around — if he wanna fight, I would,” Payton continued. “Darius [McCrary] grabbed me. I was gonna whip his behind.”
Despite the drama, Payton admits that the actor was young and naive, saying he was “just a kid” at the time. White would have been around 21 during this altercation.
She also says she has nothing but love for the rest of her cast. “I did love all of my Family Matters crew,” she added. “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.”