Family Matters Vet Jo Marie Payton Says Jaleel White Wanted To 'Physically Fight' Her While Filming Episode

Family Matters was one of the best TGIF shows of the '90s, and a lot of that was due to fans' love of Steve Urkel and the Winslow family. Urkel usually caused trouble for the family when he came around, though not quite in the way that Jo Marie Payton said Jaleel White once did during filming. Apparently, the two actors almost threw hands, as Payton revealed White once wanted to “physically fight” her. 

Jo Marie Payton spoke to Entertainment Tonight about a tense interaction on set between her and Jaleel White while filming the Season 9 episode "Original Gangsta Dawg.” She said: 

There was one time he actually wanted to physically fight me. [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. 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. Darius [McCrary] grabbed me. I was gonna whip his behind.

It’s shocking to hear that anyone on the Family Matters cast might’ve had these kinds of issues, though that might be because of how light-hearted the show was. Who would’ve thought that the guy who played Steve Urkel would allegedly threaten to fight his coworker, and that it might’ve happened had Darius McCrary not stepped in? 

Jo Marie Payton talked about the event more, but added that time provided her with a bit of context on Jaleel White’s Family Matters outburst. White was responsible for his own actions, though Payton explained that there were other factors at play that could’ve led him to believe that behavior was acceptable:

I give some of those adults credit too. 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.

Jo Marie Payton did mention that she has tried to put all past bad feelings behind her and still keeps in touch with her Family Matters cast. She also continues to point out how wrong it was that the sitcom wrote actress Jaimee Foxworth (Judy Winslow) off the show without any explanation. 

These are all things that a reboot could rectify, though there hasn’t been much said on whether it will ever happen. Of course, even Jaleel White has made some critical remarks about his time on Family Matters as well. Can’t we all just get along and get a reboot green-lit that brings back this wonderful series? 

Family Matters is off the air, but anyone with an HBO Max subscription can binge the entire series right now. Maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll get more episodes in the coming years, but for now, maybe fans can get by with more gossip from the cast.  

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.