Jaleel White was a staple in America’s household for all of the 90s, playing the infamous character “Steve Urkel” in the ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters. The nerdy character tugged at America’s heartstrings with his high water pants, suspenders, and thick eyeglasses, and constantly overcoming adversities sent his way, whether or not he is to blame. His innocence and charm made him easily likable, bleeding into his reality.
It’s been a season of reboots lately, with many African American shows seeing a resurgence in its visibility. Family Matters led the charge a few years ago when the cast reunited to reminisce on the show’s impact as well as discuss a potential revival. Since the show’s finale aired in 1998, White has consistently remained active in Hollywood.
With all the hype surrounding the nostalgia of the old shows, resurfaced content surrounding many of our favorite actors and actresses are emerging. One, in particular, pertaining to White involves an unfortunate allegation with his ex-girlfriend and baby mother Bridget Hardy.
In 2012, the Total Blackout host was a contestant on the reality tv show Dancing With The Stars, becoming a fan favorite. During that time, Hardy filed a suit against the actor filled with claims of domestic violence and cheating. “He blew up,” Hardy told Star in an exclusive interview when speaking on a confrontation over evidence of cheating she claimed to have found in his phone. “He hit me across the chest area.”
Further detailing the alleged abuse, she explained how he followed her into the bathroom and how things escalated. “He pushed me into the toilet, and it broke. Water went everywhere, through the walls and even to the kitchen downstairs,” she says, before stating that it was not the first time. “Verbally and emotionally, he’s abusive. He told me I’m not working; I have no money; I’m white trash. None of it was true.”
Hardy claimed to the magazine that White offered to pay her off in efforts to silence her. “He texted me and offered me $200,000 to leave our daughter with him and have me go and start my own family,” she tells Star. “He basically tried to pay me off. I went home screaming and said, ‘We’re done.’”
She added, “It was a lot of flirting, like, ‘I’m coming to your room,’ at 4 a.m. He hooked up with one girl in our house…he hooked up with a girl within one week of me having the baby,” she says referring to their daughter, Samaya. Hardy claims that she didn’t want law enforcement to become involved nor did she file charges because she was protecting White, saying she knew he felt bad for his actions.
The actor, upon hearing of the interview, vehemently denied all allegations. “The allegations made against me back in 2010 have suspiciously resurfaced in time to coincide with my new show on Syfy and Dancing With The Stars,” White said in a statement to People. “Bridget Hardy has consistently shown a knack for timing throughout our child custody disputes. I guess my most recent successes have been too much for her to stomach. I’m assuming I have not received her votes these past Monday nights.”
He continued to express his confusion, believing they had had a workable joint custody agreement up until that point, also pointing out he had been current on his child support. “My only hope is that when my daughter Googles her parents one day in her future, she sees that her father acted with class and dignity when pressed to the fire,” he added.
Doubling down on his stance that Hardy was on a mission with ulterior motives, he spoke with ET to defend his character. “There was no verbal abuse. Couples argue, that’s normal. I’m not going to pretend like we didn’t have any arguments, obviously, we broke up,” he said. “But to say verbal abuse, and to come out with that during Dancing with the Stars, when this is an old child custody case matter that was settled in 2010, this is not a new story. It was an attack on my joy.”
He continued, “I’ve never been arrested in my life, I have no history of violence. I’ve never even had a cop show up to my home. And the ploy is, “Alright, I know he doesn’t want trouble so he’ll pay more.” And a dollar amount was pushed across the table and child support, monthly child support. “Pay this, and everything goes away.”’
It’s reported that since their debacle, the pair have since mended their relationship and things are much more amicable. His social media is also filled with videos of himself and his daughter Samaya. Jaleel White is now in the Netflix show The Big Show Show as “Terence “Terry” Malick III”.