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jaleel white, jo marie payton

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Jo Marie Payton has come forward with shocking allegations about things that went on behind the scenes while filming Family Matters. 

Payton, who played Harriette Winslow, told Entertainment Tonight that during season nine, Jaleel White, who starred as Steve Urkel, threatened to get physical with her while on set.

“There was one time he actually wanted to physically fight me,” Payton said. “[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.”

Payton, 71, said she understood that the fame had gotten to White’s head but also placed blame on the adults who enabled his behavior.

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

In November 2021, Payton admitted that there was some resentment in the early days of Family Matters when it was decided the show was going to focus on Steve Urkel’s character instead of the Winslow family. In the beginning, Urkel’s appearance was only supposed to be a one-time thing but that later changed.

“We weren’t happy about it,” she told E! News last year. “I think along the way it got to be a little resentful but it was just an adjustment that we had to make.”

White hasn’t come forward to address these claims about his behavior towards Payton yet.

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