Jaleel White on the Co-Star Who Boosted His Trust on ‘Family Matters’
Jaleel White has been candid about some of the challenges he faced on the set of Family Matters since breaking through as the show’s breakout star. Fortunately, White had the unwavering love of his co-star Michelle Thomas to help him get through the ordeal.
Thomas was more than a friend and mentor to White. He attributes his current level of trust to her.
Michelle Thomas has a special place in Jaleel White’s heart.
For five seasons, Thomas played White’s on-screen girlfriend, Myra Monkhouse. Outside of the film, the two had a close friendship.
During his TV One UNCENSORED episode, White discussed how unique his relationship with Thomas was.
Jaleel White Was Supposed To Star In This Television Show Before Playing Steve Urkel
“Michelle and I never had a romantic relationship. White explained, “She was like a big sister to me.”
Growing up in the spotlight, particularly as America’s favorite nerd, was difficult for White. White credits Thomas as a savior when he was grappling with his own insecurities.
He said, “Michelle Thomas was a part of my trust building.” “She assimilated herself into it. From there, our relationship just sort of grew. She noticed that I was having some dating difficulties and was determined to assist me in finding the right girl for me. And she put forward such a valiant effort.”
Following the success of ‘Family Matters,’ Michelle Thomas went through some tough times.
Despite the popularity of Family Matters and Thomas’ acting credits on sitcoms like The Cosby Show prior to the show, White claims she had difficulty finding jobs.
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“When the show ended, a lot of realities for a lot of us kicked in, and I think Michelle had some problems going on as an actress,” he said. “I recall her working as a waitress for a while, and she would work far out in places like Palmdale (California) because she didn’t want anybody in LA to see her waiting tables.”
Despite this, Thomas found some success as a guest star in music videos and minor acting roles.
At the age of 30, the lovely actress died of cancer.
In 1998, Thomas was cast in a recurring role on The Young and the Restless. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer and put on medical leave just a few months after starting her new job.
“My mom really supported her immensely as much as she could, but it was just too far along,” White says of his family’s support for Thomas during her cancer fight. Thomas, according to White, did not want to burden others with her problems.
Thomas died in a New York City hospital three days before Christmas in 1998, surrounded by loved ones. Thomas is remembered by White as nothing short of extraordinary.
“Whenever I mention Michelle Thomas, I’m transported back to a place of innocence,” he says. “Michelle had a lot of chances to sell her soul to the devil in order to speed up her climb, but she wasn’t that girl.”