Family Matters star Jaleel White was America’s favorite nerd at one point when he portrayed Steve Urkel. Everyone was rooting for Steve Urkel with all of life and societal adversities against him. His almost innocent in nature demeanor on-screen made it easy to love him and feel sorry for him at the same time. And when Steve Urkel transformed to Stefan Urkel, it was a wrap. The ladies loved and always went up for that version of Jaleel White. But there’s one lady who is shifting the narrative that many believed Jaleel White was like his Family Matters character. That is none other than one of his former co-stars, Jaimee Foxworth.
Remember Jaimee Foxworth? You know, the girl on the show that for a long time was rumored to have gone upstairs that one time and never came back down? In all seriousness, we were introduced to Jaimee Foxworth in 1989 when Family Matters first debuted on television screens. At just 10-years-old, Foxworth portrayed the youngest of the Winslow family clan, Judy Winslow. For four seasons, the actress was one of the main characters. However, she experienced a significant decrease in screen time the more that Jaleel White’s character increased in popularity.
When Family Matters returned for its fifth season, noticeably, Judy Winslow was not there. It was as if viewers were to magically forget that there were three children in the Winslow family and not two. With no explanation, Jaimee Foxworth was gone. E!’s True Hollywood Story covered the days of Family Matters and other sitcoms in November of 2021, and they touched on Foxworth’s departure.
The show’s producers and creators expressed their sentiments that there was nothing much left for Judy Winslow’s story. This decision was “hurtful” for actress Jo Marie Payton, who played the role of Harriet Winslow for the majority of the long-running sitcom. Payton expressed that producers stated that the audience wouldn’t notice, a decision which she “resented.”
At the same time, it was revealed there was a lot of tension on the set of Family Matters once Jaleel White was bumped up to a central cast member and not just a guest. White claimed that he was mistreated a lot in the beginning by the cast when the decision was made to shift the show’s tone to add Steve Urkel. However, eventually, things got better as time went on.
Jaleel White also stated that Jaimee Foxworth approached him at a young age to tell him that her mother said she was “supposed to get my storyline” before he did. The actor echoed similar sentiments on his episode of T.V. One’s Uncensored. But Jaimee Foxworth is telling a different story. Along with her two sisters, Tyren and Jania, Foxworth hosts THE S.H.E. SHOW podcast. During one of their episodes, the actress shared details of her experience that she never spoke about previously after catching wind of Jaleel White’s statements.
The former child star said that she’s exercised silence for many years because, in a nutshell, she did not want to give it any energy. But she claims that Jaleel White exuded “unprovoked disrespect” within the interview that prompted her to break her silence. Jaimee Foxworth explained that while she has not spoken to much of the cast of Family Matters in over 30 years, a recent interview that actor Darius McCrary did prompted her to contact him. McCrary – who played her older brother, Eddie Winslow, made disrespectful remarks about her as well, she claimed. However, their conversation was “cordial,” she said, “and that was that.”
Jamiee Foxworth shared she was not present when they decided to fire her but insists that her experience with Jaleel White on set could have incentivized producers to let her go. “Jaleel was a bully to me,” she said. “He made it very apparent that he felt I was less than when it came to him.” Foxworth does not believe that he was not involved with her firing. On the contrary, she says that he influenced producers to remove her from the show. Furthermore, she states that she is not campaigning to smear his name. However, after years of consistently being attacked by White for no reason, she’s now choosing to stand up for herself. She also states that while this is the first time she’s addressing this, it will be her last.
The actress then touched on White’s claims that her family was the problem, which she denies. Jaimee Foxworth stated that her family was rarely there as her sisters chimed in to shed light that their family has been raised in the industry “on sets” to have proper decorum. You can hear their conversation below. Deeper in the conversation, Jaimee Foxworth exposes a time where she was locked in a dressing room by Jaleel White at 9-years old, calling him an “absolute terror.”