Sitcoms in the 1990s shaped the careers of dozens of young stars, especially those that were featured on ABC’s “TGIF” (Thank God It’s Friday) lineup. There were those that wanted to hit the club on a Friday night, but back then, the concept of pre-gaming before a night out included catching up with the latest episodes of your favorite shows. “Boy Meets World,” “Family Matters,” “Step By Step,” Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” and “Clueless” were just a handful of shows that were hits with millions of fans. Some of the stars of these TGIF shows became even bigger stars aside from their sitcom days, but others saw their acting careers come to a screeching halt as soon as their shows were canceled. Others, however, continued to make headlines not for their talent but because of their scandals.
Controversies aren’t the way that most actors want to make a name for themselves, but it’s certainly a way to keep people talking. We’ve dug around and found 17 of the top scandals and controversies surrounding those memorable TGIF shows that made us feel as if our families were inadequate and every serious issue could be solved with a happy ending in 30 minutes or less.
17. Jodie Sweetin Opened Up About Alcohol And Drug Addiction
The sass and chubby cheeks of Stephanie Turner warmed the hearts of millions for years, but behind the smiles, actress Jodie Sweetin was struggling with addiction. She began drinking alcohol when she was just 14, not long after her stint on “Full House” was over. By 30, Jodie dabbled with crack cocaine, meth, Ecstasy, and a myriad of other illegal drugs. She said she tried drugs because she was bored, but it certainly took a toll on her personal life and career. She’s since turned her life around and has written a memoir about her experiences. Jodie has appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” and recently went back to her role as a now adult Stephanie Tanner on Netflix’s “Fuller House.”
16. ‘Family Matters’ Star Turned to P———-y
Little Judy Winslow with her adorable pigtails was played by actress Jaimee Foxworth. Because of the success of the TGIF show, it was difficult for Jaimee to find solid work after she was written off following the fourth season. She and her sisters formed a singing group, but it didn’t last long, seeing as how they weren’t on a Destiny’s Child level. Jaimee admitted to turned to drugs and alcohol during her depression, which she says influenced her decision to make pornographic films under the name “Crave.” The actress also admitted that she and her family were once almost completely broke, another reason why the lure of making cash from naughty films was appealing. Jaimee gave birth to a son back in 2010 and claims to be clean and sober.
15. Sabrina The Teenage Partier
Okay, so she didn’t technically party in her twenties, but Melissa Joan Hart admitted to Oprah on “Oprah: Where Are They Now” that between the ages of 20 to 27, she was a hardcore party girl. The former “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” star said that being young and rich was all she needed to start making bad choices. One night before a Maxim photo shoot, Hart had a hot and heavy make-out session in the back of a limo with a strange woman after getting high on Ecstasy at the Playboy mansion. Hart admitted that the magazine shoot went terribly saying, “That was probably the least professional I’ve ever been in my career.” We’re sure that sounds like a fabulous evening for some of you out there, but when you have work in the morning, partying all night is an awful decision.
14. Jaleel White Was Violent With His Ex-Girlfriend
Following his stint as America’s most lovable nerd, Steve Urkel, “Family Matters” star Jaleel White went on to graduate from UCLA. No one expected for the actor to find himself on the wrong side of the law, but his ex-girlfriend ended up accusing him of assaulting her.
“He hit me across the chest area. He pushed me into the toilet, and it broke. Water went everywhere, through the walls and even to the kitchen downstairs,” she says. “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.”
She went on to say that he had forced her out of their home and admitted to the incident under oath. He’s publicly denied the allegations but has openly talked about being a loving father to their children.
13. Girl Meets World DUI
She was known as the super intelligent girlfriend of Cory Matthews on the hit show “Boy Meets World,” but actress Danielle Fishel wasn’t acting very Topanga-like when she was popped for a DUI. When she was pulled over yet again by Orange County, California police officers, they ran her license and found that she had missed her DUI court date. There was a warrant out for her arrest, so they took her in, right there on the spot. She later appeared in front of a judge where she cried about her mistakes, and it worked out for her. Sure, they may have been her acting skills at work or her true fear of facing jail time, but the judge ruled in her favor and reinstated her probation instead of locking her up.
12. Bob Saget Apparently Asked Danielle Fishel For Coke
An unlikely feud erupted between “Full House” star Bob Saget aka Danny Tanner and Danielle Fishel after she did an interview with Maxim where she said he once asked her for drugs.
“We were trying to take a nap, and all of a sudden [‘Full House’s’ Danny Tanner] Bob Saget walks down the aisle, rips open our curtain, and shouts, ‘Do you guys have any coke?!’ Then he looks my dad in the eye, laughs, and closes the curtain,” she said.
Saget responded to Fishel’s allegations by saying that she recalled the story incorrectly.
“So first off, I don’t open curtains. That was a lie because I just don’t do that. I knock on things. Also, there weren’t separate compartments on the plane. Anyway, the whole thing was as simple as me going to the restroom and throwing out a one-liner. I was always making jokes; that’s what I did. Yes, it did have a drug reference in it, but the joke was that her parents should protect this kid who was starring in a television show.”
11. Stacey Dash And Her Political Controversies
She starred as Dionne Davenport in both the film and television versions of “Clueless,” but Stacey Dash proved to be much more than the ditzy character. She’s created quite a few firestorms in the media over the last few years because of her political views. She backed Mitt Romney in the presidential election and would later call actor Jesse Williams a “Hollywood plantation slave” because of his “racist” BET Awards acceptance speech. Stacey has openly criticized black award shows and television stations because she says they are modern-day segregation. She also told trans people to go to the bathroom in the bushes if they don’t feel safe going into restrooms. The actress has never been shy about sharing her opinions and doesn’t have a problem with the backlash.
10. Sasha Mitchell Convicted Of Beating His Wife
You’d never believe that Cody Lambert would ever harm a woman, but the actor behind the character was convicted of doing just that. Sasha Mitchell went from acting to kickboxing, and, in 1995, was given three years probation for violence against his wife, Jeannette. He was also ordered to do community service and was told to attend counseling. When he didn’t comply, he was sent to jail for 30 days but was allowed to leave so he could still work.
His wife’s attorney claimed that in separate incidents, Mitchell hit her with a couch pillow, spit on her and called her a slut, threw a chair against a wall, and threw a guitar through a glass window at their home. The couple married in 1990 and had four children together. They divorced in 1997.
9. Raven-Symoné May Have Issues With Your Name
Despite having a unique name of her own, “The View” host Raven-Symoné stirred up controversy with some comments she made about people’s names. She warmed our hearts as a child star on “The Cosby Show” and “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” and has had a lustrous career as an adult. Yet, in the last few years, she’s made comments that have longtime fans questioning whether or not they should continue supporting her. In a segment on “The View” where the ladies were talking about “black-sounding names,” Raven expressed that she would never hire someone with a “ghetto” name like “Watermelondrea.” She admitted to being discriminatory against people with strange names even though her co-hosts brought up the fact that there are white people named Apple or Honey. Let’s just say the backlash on social media was swift.
8. Dee Jay Daniels Was Accused Of Murder
He played little Michael Hughley on “The Hughleys” and went on to be featured on other TV shows, but when he grew up, he found himself in hot water with the law. In 2011, when Dee Jay Daniels was just 23 years old, he was arrested on suspicion of murder. Police alleged that Daniels was a part of a group of three men who fatally stabbed John Joseph Lewis outside of a nightclub in Stockton, California. He was held without bail and faced life in prison, but in 2012, a jury found him not guilty, and he was acquitted of all charges. However, his friend and one of the other men in the group were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
7. Fred Willard Was Caught With His Pants Down
The Tiki Theater in Hollywood, California is a legend of its own. The theater is known to be a seedy place where porn movies are shown for those looking to stare at naughty flicks all hours of the day and night. Police and VICE cops regularly raid the theater looking for people engaged in lewd activity, and one day back in 2012, they got more than they bargained for when they arrested actor Fred Willard who once held the part as the school principal on “Family Matters.” According to reports, Willard was caught red handed, that is, with a certain Little Willy in his hands, which is against the law. Willard vehemently denied the charges and said that he didn’t do anything wrong, but he still lost jobs and sponsorships over the ordeal.
6. Darius McCrary Married ‘Superhead’
Although he’s been featured in a number of shows and movies throughout his career, Darius McCrary is best known for his role as Eddie Winslow on “Family Matters.” People believed that he would have a long career ahead of him, but ultimately, he fell off the map for a few years and never again saw that fame that the TGIF show brought him. Then, unexpectedly, news broke that McCrary married Karrine “Superhead” Steffans, a woman who wrote a book about all of her sexual exploits with rappers and entertainers in the industry (and was given her nickname for her *ahem* ‘skills’). The two had a volatile relationship that was played out for the public, including Steffans taking the stand on behalf of the mother of McCrary’s son, saying that she saw him beat the child with a spoon. She later recanted and said she had lied. The couple divorced in 2011.
5. Darius McCrary AGAIN: Allegations Of Abuse
Before we move on from the McCrary Files, we have to include recent allegations that just popped up this year. McCrary’s wife, Tammy Brawner, claims that her husband abused not only her but also their baby daughter Zoey. She filed a restraining order against him because she’s endured the abuse for five years and feared for her life. According to Brawner, McCrary would get high and drunk and then come home and throw violent fits. She even said that during one of his episodes, McCrary held their precious daughter over a pot of boiling water screaming that he wished she had never been born. His ex-wife, Karrine Steffans, also accused McCrary of domestic abuse. McCrary responded to the allegations by saying that some people will do anything to make TMZ.
4. Omar Gooding Was Arrested For A DUI
He’s more than just Cuba Gooding, Jr.‘s little brother; Omar Gooding has an impressive IMDB page that includes films such as “Baby Boy” and “Barbershop,” along with a half dozen projects currently in production. It’s good to see that the former “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” star didn’t let that pesky DUI he got back in 2014 slow him down. He arrested for a DUI and for weed possession, but he took a plea deal in the case. The DUI charges were dismissed, and he admitted to one count of reckless driving. He received two years probation and had to attend 12 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and classes to learn the dangers of drinking and driving.
3. Merlin Santana Was Shot And Killed
You might recognize him from “The Steve Harvey Show” and “The Cosby Show,” but Merlin Santana also played the role of Joey on “Sister, Sister” back in 1994. He had a promising career until his life was snuffed out at the tender age of 26 back in 2002. Merlin and a friend were sitting in a vehicle when he was shot in the head. The bullet killed him instantly. Two men were arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder. An officer investigating the case testified that one of the men had a 15-year-old girlfriend who told lies and told him Merlin made sexual advances toward her. The girl received 10 years, her boyfriend got three life sentences, and another man copped a plea and got 23 years in prison.
2. Candace Cameron Cake Controversy
Remember a few years back when that bakery in Oregon didn’t want to make cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding? Well, actress Candace Cameron, who became famous for her role on “Full House,” created a firestorm of controversy over her comments regarding the incident. Candace has been extremely vocal about her Christian faith and when asked about her views on the cake controversy, she said she didn’t see it as discriminatory.
“[The bakery] didn’t refuse to bake the cake because of [the couple’s] sexual orientation. In fact, they baked cakes for them previously. They had a problem with the actual ceremony because that — the ceremony — is what conflicted with their religious beliefs. They are saying that they stand for marriage between a man and a woman.”
1. Steve Urkel’s Girlfriend Passed Away
When he wasn’t chasing after Laura, Steve Urkel from “Family Matters” turned his attention to his girlfriend Myra, played by actress Michelle Thomas. Myra’s adoration for Urkel was endearing and memorable, but she lost the war over Steve’s affections to his one and only Laura. In real life, Michelle was facing a different kind of struggle. In 1997, Michelle was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and underwent surgery to remove a lemon-sized tumor. She went back to acting months later, but in the Fall of 1998, she went back under the knife. This time, a cancerous growth ruptured and immediately needed to be treated. She went home to spend the holidays with her family, and just a few days before Christmas, she passed away at a Manhattan hospital surrounded by her family.