Monday, July 4, 2022

‘Jaleel White Once Threatened to Fight Me on Set’ Claims ‘Family Matters’ Star JoMarie Payton | WATCH

*Those who watched the ’90s sitcom “Family Matters” can remember the Winslows were a warm, watertight bunch. However, it now turns out there was more than met the eye; there was some drama behind the scenes.

JoMarie Payton, who starred as matriarch Harriette Winslow for nearly all of the series’ nine seasons, was interviewed by ET’s Rachel Smith as part of the Mother’s Day celebration of Iconic TV Moms. Payton revealed some previously-unknown details about the show. She says Steve Urkel, who played Jaleel White in the Family Matters, may have been affected by the fame his role afforded him. The young star developed a rough attitude.

“There was one time he actually wanted to physically fight me,” Payton said, recalling the season 9 episode, “Original Gangsta Dawg,” in which White also played Steve’s “gangster” cousin, OGD. “[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,” she continued. “Darius [McCrary] grabbed me. I was gonna whip his behind.”

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JoMarie Payton (ABC-IMBD)
JoMarie Payton (ABC-IMBD)

But with hindsight, thanks to years of maturity, Payton now says she recognizes White was “just a kid” in those days and so she never blames him entirely for his immature attitude. In her words, she doesn’t give him “all the credit”.

“I give some of those adults credit too,” she pointed out. “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.”

She jokes that she is a fighter, having been through much.

“I’m a Leo; I’m a fighter,” she said during the interview.

Indeed, it wasn’t just White who turned Payton the wrong way; she recalls that the show’s producers at one point decided to fire Jaimee Foxworth unceremoniously. Jaimee played Judy, the youngest sibling in the Winslow family. She played for the first four seasons before being shown the door.

“For me, it was a bad decision,” Payton recalls. “When I asked what happened to her, as she wasn’t at rehearsal, I was told that it didn’t matter. Nobody’s gonna notice.”

She added that they did wrong to take “my baby”, explaining how attached she was to the child stars in the cast.

“If they had taken the oldest child the way they did with The Cosby Show and they put her off in another show, you could make excuses that she’s out with her friends. She could reoccur; you could do whatever you want to. But when you take the baby?”

But she is not stuck in the past; she says she has tried her best to abandon the past hard feelings and only focus on the enduring love she has for the show.

“I did love all of my Family Matters crew,” she explained. “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.”

Family Matters cast
Family Matters cast (ABC)

She was then asked if she would be willing to reunite with the cast and crew for a reboot of “Family Matters.”

“You know what I tell people? I never say never,” She responded.

Payton is currently busy with her role as Suga Mama Proud on the Disney+ revival series The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder. The series was recently selected for its second season, two decades after the first series aired on The Disney Channel.

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