‘Family Matters’ Star Jo Marie Payton Recalls the Time Jaleel White Tried to Fight Her: ‘I Was Gonna Whip His Behind’

by Shine My Crown Staff
Jo Marie Payton/ TV One

“Family Matters” actress JoMarie Payton has recalled the time her former costar Jaleel White tried to fight her during the filming of the show’s ninth season.

She said at the time, White was just a teen. Payton was on the show as matriarch Harriette Winslow. She opened up about the incident during an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

“There was one time he actually wanted to physically fight me,” she said, adding that the teen “didn’t have the etiquette” on set.

She continued, “There was something that he wanted to do and 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.”

That’s when Payton says, “she walked off,” but as she was doing so, she heard White says something, but she did not hear him correctly. She then turned to costar Darius McCrary to repeat what White 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,” she told ET. “Darius grabbed me. I was gonna whip his behind.”

Payton attributed his behavior to him being “just a kid” at the time.

“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.”

In the past, White has spoken about his more turbulent times on the show:

“I didn’t see how I was stepping on anybody’s toes, I was taking anybody’s shine. It’s very important that I say this: I was not very well welcomed to the cast at all, okay?” he said on TV One’s Uncensored in 2021. “And I don’t need to rehash that with the adults over and over again. They know what it is.”

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