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Family Matters' JoMarie Payton Says Jaleel White Once Tried to 'Physically Fight' Her On Set

According to Payton, the Steve Urkel actor wasn't always the easiest person to work with.
  • Family Matters Season 9, "Original Gangsta Dawg" (Photo: YouTube)
    Family Matters Season 9, "Original Gangsta Dawg" (Photo: YouTube)

    JoMarie Payton, who played Family Matters matriarch Harriette Winslow, is opening up about some behind-the-scenes drama caused by Jaleel White, who played iconic character Steve Urkel. Payton revealed to ET that White's fame began to affect his attitude on set, creating some tension among the cast.

    "There was one time he actually wanted to physically fight me," Payton said, pointing to Season 9 episode "Original Gangsta Dawg," in which White played Urkel's "gangster" cousin, OGD. "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."

    Payton continued, "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."

    Years later, Payton recognizes that White was "just a kid," noting that the incident wasn't entirely his fault.

    "I give some of those adults credit too," she said. "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."

    Despite the on set drama, Payton is open to a Family Matters reunion. "You know what I tell people? I never say never," she told ET.

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    Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.

    TOPICS: Family Matters, Jaleel White, JoMarie Payton