Former child star Jaleel White breaks his silence on ‘Quiet on Set’ – NBC10 Philadelphia

Former child star Jaleel White breaks his silence on ‘Quiet on Set’ – NBC10 Philadelphia

At the age of 12, Jaleel White was cast as lovable nerd Steve Urkel on the ‘90s sitcom “Family Matters.” He was 21 when the show wrapped.  

“I always felt safe and protected on set,” White, 47, tells 

He pauses and then adds, “I was lucky.” 

White is alluding to “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” an explosive docuseries that details alleged abuse and exploitation at Nickelodeon.

“Child actors are having a moment where some of the harsher realities of our business are coming to light,” White says, likening it to the #MeToo movement against sexual violence. 

In his upcoming memoir, “Growing Up Urkel,” White says he celebrates the moms and dads who were active in safeguarding their children, rather than trying to become celebrities themselves.

“Some parents would dress so flamboyantly, you’d think they were the star,” White recalls. “And they also seemed to prioritize their interests over their child’s.”

White says his mother, Gail, who was also his manager, had “no desire to be famous.” 

“She wasn’t perfect but she did enough to protect me from some of the obvious trappings in the business,” he says. “For one thing, she was a helicopter mom. She was all over my ass because the kids that are left alone are the ones that the predators tend to seek out.”

White remembers hearing about other child actors who didn’t have spending limits and were allowed to stay out all night.

“They had freedoms that I didn’t have,” he says, noting that his curfew always matched his shoe size.

“When I was in the ninth grade, I wore a size nine and I had to be in the house by 9 o’clock,” he says. 

White says he’s never had to think about being a stage dad himself. His daughter, Samaya, 14, whom he shares with former partner Bridget Hardy, has no desire to be in show business.

“People have been asking her since she was little and she always says ‘no!'”

As for his own story, White says he’s excited for the memoir to show a different side of him.

“Everyone knows me as this iconic character,” he says. “This book will give readers a huge look behind the curtain of what happened when the cameras shut off.”

“Growing Up Urkel” is available for pre-order at

This story first appeared on More from TODAY:

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