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Jaleel Whitewho became famous for his Steve Urkel character on the hit '90s ABC sitcom Family Matterssays in a new interview that he wasn't welcomed by the cast of the show. It's very important that I say this: I was not very well welcomed to the cast at all, okay? They know what it is. White, 44, looked back on ing Family Matters as star and how his adult costars reacted. He was initially cast for a guest role, but he said the reception to him during his first table read was so good that he was hired for the full season soon after. He would then continue to appear on the show until it ended in White added that Family Matters had "these three adults" — referencing Jo Marie Payton, Reginald VelJohnsonand Telma Hopkins — "who all entered this show with the idea that this is my vehicle to break out.
In a separate moment from the Uncensored interview, White recalled when he first portrayed Steve's cousin Myrtle Urkel and how Payton and VelJohnson "were very sensitive to putting Black men in dresses. Do you crumble?
Do you wilt under pressure? Do you rise? Do you surprise yourself? My default tends to be to take it up a notch.
That evening I felt like a girl But I cried like a baby at the end of that take. I just broke. White remembered his father, Michael, stepping in after that moment to say, as White paraphrased, "He shouldn't have to carry the burden of some adults making feel bad for playing a girl just in fun. He clarified that he doesn't have a problem now with his former cast members Payton and VelJohnson. They understood how the dynamic was changing.
But I do think they do deserve credit at times for having helped foster a more harmonious environment by season 3, by season 4, by season 5. And we did become very much a family. White added, "Over time, Kellie and Darius became truly my brother, my sister. Even Reggie VelJohnson, I always liked to give him the credit that he deserves, that he came to realize that we were about to do this Jordan-Pippen thing and it was going to change his life and it was going to change all of our lives for the better.
EW reunited the Family Matters cast inand they seemed very open to reprising their roles on the small screen. Added Hopkins, "There's just something really magical about this cast and the real feelings that are here. It wasn't just for the screen. Family really did matter and still does. Jaleel White says he 'was not very well welcomed' by the Family Matters cast.
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