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Family Matters' JoMarie Payton Reveals That Jaleel White Once Tried To Fight Her On Set

JoMarie Payton played the kindhearted but no-nonsense Harriette Winslow on the beloved sitcom "Family Matters," and fans of the show would be hard-pressed to imagine a scenario in which Harriette and nerdy neighbor Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) would ever come to blows. Urkel, for one thing, is simply not a violent person, preferring to solve problems with his wits and ingenuity rather than his fists — unless he's fresh out of the Urkel Transformation Chamber, that is.

Be that as it may, Payton recently shared an almost shocking anecdote from her time on the show, revealing that behind the scenes, she believes that White was prepared to settle a disagreement between the two physically. It didn't happen, of course, but Payton's story paints a different picture of the "Family Matters" set than the one you might have in your mind as a fan of the show — so proceed with caution if you don't want your illusions shattered.

Payton and White had a creative disagreement on the set

JoMarie Payton recently sat down with Entertainment Tonight for a retrospective Mother's Day interview celebrating Payton's role as one of the most iconic TV moms of the '90s.

It's already known that there was tension between Jaleel White and the rest of the "Family Matters" cast thanks to the decision made by the producers to focus the show less on the Winslow family and more on the popular breakout character Steve Urkel (via E!). But Payton's interview reveals that things got even tenser than we realized. It happened, she said, on the set of "Family Matters" Season 9 Episode 10, "Original Gangsta Dawg," in which Urkel uses the Urkel Transformation Chamber to transform into his titular alter-ego.

"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," Payton explained. Whatever it was must have been pretty important to White, because the young star "was so mad, he started kicking and screaming and stuff." Payton then said she heard White make a comment about wanting to "melee," and once she clarified with co-star Darius McCrary the meaning of the remark she was ready to trade blows with White. "I turned around — if he wanna fight, I would," she said. "Darius grabbed me. I was gonna whip his behind."

Now, with hindsight, Payton admits that White was just a kid at the time the incident happened, and she blames the adults on set for "[l]etting him run wild and do whatever he wanted to do.”