Jaleel White Says Former Mentor Bill Cosby ‘Is Paying The Appropriate Price’ For His Crimes

Steve Urkel and Cliff Huxtable had a tiff. What sounds like the makings of one hell of a network crossover event in 1989 is actually a very true story. Jaleel White, the actor who amused and annoyed both kids and their parents in equal parts as supreme nerd Steve Urkel on Family Matters, is speaking out for the first time on Bill Cosby’s sexual predation on TV One’s Uncensored.

Though White rose to fame as a kid actor on Family Matters, he had originally auditioned for the role of Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show (who, according to Entertainment Weekly, was originally supposed to be a boy). Though he was crushed that he didn’t get the part, White grew close with Cosby, who served as a mentor to him—and helped him when the young actor’s career hit some turbulence:

“I fostered a relationship with Mr. Cosby, separate and apart. Many dinners at his house, breakfasts, I even ran into a rough patch, and he’s directly responsible for why I ended up at William Morris Agency, which became an education unto itself.”

Eventually, White’s relationship with Cosby also hit a rough patch, though he declined going into the details as to why (despite the show being called Uncensored). But he did offer up a rather telling description of his own personal reckoning when he learned about Cosby’s sordid history of sexual assaults.

“I actually had a bit of a falling out with Mr. Cosby. I kept that to myself. 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?”

Still, White (who now has a cannabis line called Purple Urkle) does not question that Cosby—who was sentenced to prison in 2018 for three to 10 years—is exactly where he should be. “A revered man did terrible things, and he’s paying the price,” the actor, who is now 44 years old, said. “I think that’s where we leave it: A revered man did a terrible thing, and he is paying the appropriate price.”

(Via Entertainment Weekly)