Jaleel White, the actor who hilariously portrayed America’s favorite and arguably original awkward Black boy Steve Urkel on Family Matters, is opening up about his relationship with his former mentor, Bill Cosby.
Per Entertainment Weekly, White recalled the moment he was first introduced to Cosby on Sunday night’s episode of TV One’s Uncensored, noting that he and Cosby Show actress Keisha Knight-Pulliam were both originally up for the role of “Rudy Huxtable”—who was almost cast as the fictional family’s youngest son. But ultimately, Pulliam got the gig.
“I remember I just bawled my eyes out, bawled my eyes out,” White explained. “And my mom just came, I remember she grabbed me and she just started shaking me. She was like, ‘Don’t you ever react like this to not getting one of these jobs. I will take you out of the business.’ She didn’t mean it but that’s the kind of thing a parent has to say to try to scare a kid straight.”
Jaleel later touched on how he and Cosby’s relationship still managed to blossom despite the actor not gaining a spot on the show, manifesting itself through various dinners and career guidance. As the years went on, however, and scandal began to surface on the part of Cosby, those meals and mentorship eventually came to halt.
“I actually had a bit of a falling out with Mr. Cosby. I kept that to myself,” White said. “Knocking off these monuments who are still human beings, it’s tough. And you go back in time, and you realize how close you were to something, and you put yourself in rooms where you realize his wife wasn’t there, that woman was probably there for that purpose. You know, it’s a hell of a hindsight thing to look at, and you don’t want anyone to feel like you’re trying to use them for clout. You know what I’m saying? A revered man did terrible things, and he’s paying the price. I think that’s where we leave it: A revered man did a terrible thing, and he is paying the appropriate price.”
To watch the full episode of Uncensored: Jaleel White, be sure to download the TV One app.