‘Family Matters’ star Jo Marie Payton claims Jaleel White once tried to ‘physically fight’ her on set

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Nearly 24 years after “Family Matters” came to an end, Jo Marie Payton is recalling a strange encounter that allegedly occurred on set.

Recently, the actress, who starred as Harriette Winslow, opened up about working alongside co-star Jaleel White, who played Steve Urkel, and how things allegedly got ugly while they filmed a Season 9 episode titled “Original Gangsta Dawg.” In it, White, 45, was doubling up as Urkel’s gangster cousin OGD.

“There was one time he actually wanted to physically fight me,” the 71-year-old alleged to Entertainment Tonight. “[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.”

The TV mom claimed that the young star’s rise to fame may have affected his attitude on set while bringing the character to life.

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‘Family Matters’ star Jo Marie Payton claims Jaleel White once tried to ‘physically fight’ her on set

Jo Marie Payton alleged that Jaleel White tried to "physically fight" her on set while they filmed an episode of Season 9.
(Getty Images)

“He wanted to do it anyway,” she said. “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. [Co-star] Darius [McCrary] grabbed me. I was gonna whip his behind.”

Looking back on the alleged incident, Payton said she now recognizes that White was “just a kid.” Therefore, she doesn’t give him “all the credit” for how she said he behaved.

“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.”

Reps for White didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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‘Family Matters’ star Jo Marie Payton claims Jaleel White once tried to ‘physically fight’ her on set

Jaleel White famously played lovable nerd Steve Urkel on "Family Matters."
(CBS via Getty Images)

“Family Matters,” a spinoff of “Perfect Strangers,” aired for nine seasons from 1989 until 1998. It was part of ABC’s TGIF lineup before it moved to CBS in its final season.

Urkel was originally supposed to be a one-time-only character on the show. However, the nerd with the thick eyeglasses, high-pitched voice and flood pants held by suspenders became the show’s most iconic character.

In May 2021, White told TV One’s “Uncensored” that he didn’t have the easiest time being on the show.

“I didn’t see how I was stepping on anybody’s toes, I was taking anybody’s shine,” said White. “It’s very important that I say this: I was not very well welcomed to the cast at all, OK? And I don’t need to rehash that with the adults over and over again. They know what it is.”

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‘Family Matters’ star Jo Marie Payton claims Jaleel White once tried to ‘physically fight’ her on set

Jaleel White attends the Sports Illustrated Super Bowl Party at Century City Park on Feb. 12, 2022, in Los Angeles, California.
(Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

White told Fox News Digital in 2019 that he had a deep appreciation for Urkel.

“Oh, I love him. You kidding me?” he said at the time. “I get nothing but the most amazing comments from flight attendants everywhere. So, I love him.”

Still, don’t expect White to sign on for a reboot anytime soon.

“I don’t think we need it,” he said. “I think ‘Family Matters’ belongs in the era of life before cellphones.”

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