Scandals of stars from the golden age of 90s TV
The golden days of 90s television are over, but the stars of our favorite shows are still around, and making headlines. Actors who played characters like Steve Urkel, Carol Foster Lambert, and Sabrina Spellman may have had good runs in the late 1980s and 1990s on TGIF, but it’s been a rocky road since. These are the scandals that shocked us from some of our favorite 90s actors.
Family Matters’ Jaleel White
On Dec. 15, 1989, the spin-off show Family Matters was halfway through its first season on TGIF, when a skinny, nerdy-looking 12-year-old boy first appeared on the show. The boy’s name was Jaleel White, and the snorting, clumsy, and lovable character he played was Steve Urkel.
White quickly became the star of the show. That was fine for him at the time, until he hit puberty and started growing into a man. The show’s creators insisted that he not work out or lift weights, and adhere to a strict diet to maintain his boyish appearance. But that’s not even close to the most scandalous thing involving White.
Jaleel White, unhinged
White’s “squeaky-clean” image came into question in 2012, a full 15 years after Family Matters ended. It all started when he was killing it on the floor of Dancing With the Stars, and allegations from his ex-girlfriend (with whom he shares a daughter) said that he was anything but the innocent nerd from Family Matters we know and love.
She claimed that the two were in a fight, and she was pushed so hard into a toilet that it broke, sending water everywhere. A police report was filed but the charges leveled against him were never substantiated, and the alleged photo of the broken toilet never surfaced. But one must wonder, was he thinking, “Did I do that?”
Full House’s Jodie Sweetin
Stephanie Tanner, played by Jodie Sweetin, was the sweet middle child of the Tanner family in Full House. She was so sweet, in fact, that it will be hard for anyone to believe the things she got into after the show ended in 1995.
Sweetin was adopted at an early age because her parents were both in prison when she was born. She was only 5 years old when she began her run on Full House, and that continued until 1995 when she was 13 years old. That’s when the trouble began, as she struggled with substance abuse as she attempted to find herself.
Jodie Sweetin, unhinged
In 2009, Sweetin published a memoir titled UnSweetined, that detailed some of her darkest moments. When she was 14 years old, she attended Full House costar Candace Cameron’s wedding. Sweetin wrote that as a minor she guzzled two bottles of wine, and was dragged out of the wedding before she could ruin it.
Another event that she almost ruined was the premiere of the Olsen twins’ movie, New York Minute. According to her, she slipped into the bathroom and consumed an upper (“How rude!”), and walked around that evening “high as a kite.” Fortunately for her, she got past her addiction and has been clean since 2008.
Boy Meets World’s Danielle Fishel
Danielle Fishel became every boy’s dream in 1993 when her character, Topanga, was revealed on the hit show Boy Meets World. The show ended in 2000 and was later revived into Girl Meets World, but in between these two shows, Fishel got herself into some hot water.
In 2007, when she was 26 years old, a snippet of a report said she was arrested for a DUI. Her problems were exacerbated when a warrant was issued for her arrest after she failed to appear in court. We’ll never know if this was some kind of addiction problem or otherwise because the whole thing was swept under the rug, which was not the case for our next TGIF star.
Step by Step’s Sasha Mitchell
“Duuuuude!” as Sasha Mitchell used to say as the lovable character, Cody Lambert, on the hit TGIF show, Step by Step. For five seasons, he made us laugh, and surprisingly, gave really insightful messages to the audience. Before his true colors were exposed, he was nearly a perfect character.
That all changed in 1996 when he was arrested for physically fighting with his wife. He later served 30 days in jail when he failed to do any of his court-mandated rehabilitation and community service. He was promptly written off the show after more allegations surfaced. At least our next TGIF star had the decency to lose it after the show was over.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s Melissa Joan Hart
In 1996, ABC’s TGIF continued its incredible slew of popular shows when they decided to make a TV show out of the TV movie, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The title character of the show was a lovable, cute blonde played by Melissa Joan Hart, and the show aired for seven seasons until 2003.
Hart enjoyed a lot of success with her hit TV show, but because she was only 20 years old when the show started, she was susceptible to over-imbibing and enjoying the benefits of being a celebrity. Her craziest story came from a visit to the Playboy Mansion in 1999, which was the night before a Maxim photo shoot.
Melissa Joan Hart, unhinged
Details of her night at the Playboy Mansion emerged in 2013, in her autobiography, Melissa Explains it All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life. For a year, Hart was “experimenting,” as that night she did that, and then continued to drink. Something happened between her and another woman in the back of a limo, and then Hart had to hightail it to a photo shoot.
If you thought Hart looked high in that October 1999 issue of Maxim, then you are absolutely correct. She later said, “Here I was, having a full day of … hair extensions and bikinis, and I was not prepared for it — so that was probably the least professional I’ve ever been in my career.”
Full House’s John Stamos
Uncle Jesse’s signature line in Full House was “Have mercy!” And that’s exactly what we want to say when we look at his handsome face. Actor John Stamos played the hunky, music-loving Uncle Jesse of the Tanner family, and it was rumored that he had tension with the Olsen twins while on set.
Eventually, that all went away, just like his DUI conviction in 2015. We don’t know many details of what happened (or what substance he was using), but apparently he was pulled over by police and immediately rushed to the hospital. He pleaded no contest, and after three years of probation and 52 AA meetings, the charges were expunged.
Full House’s Lori Loughlin
Oh, beautiful Lori, what have you gotten yourself into?! It all started for Lori Loughlin in 1988, during the second season of Full House. Her character was Rebecca Donaldson, and she played the cohost of Danny Tanner’s Wake Up, San Francisco. We then found her making fun of Uncle Jesse’s hair, and obsession with Elvis, and the two eventually got married on the show.
Watching Lori Loughlin and John Stamos together was like watching Helen of Troy and James Dean hook up. She was smart, she was witty, and she was drop-dead gorgeous. They say not to judge a book by its cover, and in the case of Loughlin, the pages reveal a very different person from the upstanding character she played.
Lori Loughlin, unhinged
Loughlin had a great life after Full House, as she eloped with fashion icon Mossimo Giannulli in 1997, and had two beautiful daughters with him — Isabella Rosa and Olivia Jade. Fast-forward to March 2019, where her life suddenly became less great, after she and her husband were implicated in the infamous college admissions scandal.
After being caught for paying $500,000 to get her daughters into USC, she pleaded “not guilty,” but it looks bad for Loughlin. At the time of this writing, more federal charges have been leveled against her, and she hired a consultant in anticipation of doing time in prison. Not the Full House she had in mind.
Step by Step’s Christine Lakin
Christine Lakin is better known as the tomboy, and ultimately rude middle child of the Lambert family who we affectionately remember as “Al.” America watched Lakin grow up on Step by Step, and as she blossomed into a beautiful woman, her character on the show began to soften.
Lakin has actually lived a pretty squeaky-clean life, except for that one time she starred in one of the most forgettable movies in cinema history. Riding the coattails of Hollywood’s worst actress, Paris Hilton, Lakin played the “not-hot” girl (what?!) in the 2008 film, The Hottie & the Nottie. We had to mention it, because we haven’t seen too many movies that managed to get a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Perfect Strangers’ Bronson Pinchot
Bronson Pinchot had us laughing and scratching our heads, wondering what the heck he was saying, when he played the lovable man from Mypos (that’s not a real country) named Balki Bartokomous. Perfect Strangers basically started TGIF in 1986, and while the show ran for eight years, Pinchot’s troubles started long after.
Pinchot is such a fan of restoring houses he bought six properties in an old town with 1,300 people. Evidently, the houses didn’t appreciate well (duh!), and in 2015 he had to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. He later told the press, “I can make people laugh. Other than that I’m a waste of space … I have no head for businesses.”
Full House’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
We could probably write a book about the exploits of the Olsen twins, but of course, we were introduced to them as infants, when they both took on the role of Michelle Tanner on Full House. We’ve known them longer than they’ve been able to talk, and despite efforts by John Stamos to get them ousted from the show, they had real staying power.
When Full House concluded in 1995, the Olsen twins had already gained some bad habits. Chain-smoking in the Metropolitan Museum of Art was bad, but innocent enough. And speaking of innocence, who could forget a month before their 18th birthday when they hosted Saturday Night Live, and said, “Remember, we’re legal in four weeks!”
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, unhinged
Mary-Kate sort of stole the show in their college years, as she was spotted being carried out of rock band Oasis’ dressing room in 2005. On their 19th birthday, Mary-Kate was at it again, and by “at it,” we mean she was going “at it” with supermodel Natalia Vodianova. Ah, to be young …
Amid the shenanigans, the Olsen twins became billionaires when they founded their own entertainment company, and they also made a bunch of less-than-entertaining movies. There was also the time Mary-Kate almost puked on Penelope Cruz at Naomi Campbell’s 35th birthday party. Maybe she was trying to kiss her.
Full House’s Bob Saget
Bob Saget was America’s dad during his run as Danny Tanner on Full House. From 1987-1995 he made us laugh, and gave us insightful, Mr. Rogers-like messages that made us feel like everything was OK. Of course, that image was forever put to bed after the release of his 2014 autobiography, Dirty Daddy.
OK, so Saget wasn’t a degenerate actor, and actually, he’s done some really great things for the medical community. But we must point out that the humor he employed on Full House wasn’t really his M.O. Has anyone seen Half Baked, or Entourage? That’s the real Bob Saget, and he is no America’s dad.
Family Matters’ Kellie Shanygne Williams
We remember Laura Winslow, played by Kellie Shanygne Williams, as the beautiful and sassy eldest daughter of the Winslow family in Family Matters. From 1989-1999 we laughed with her, we may have had a crush on her, and we also watched her put up with Steve Urkel.
Williams established a youth acting program, but got into trouble when funds set aside for the children went missing. A Washington, D.C. politician pleaded guilty and went to jail for stealing $300,000. A portion of that money, $25,000, was meant for Williams’ program, and although allegations surfaced, no theft from her was ever proven.
Step by Step’s Suzanne Somers
Just like her costar Patrick Duffy (who is so squeaky-clean he couldn’t even be included on this list!), Suzanne Somers was already a well-established TV figure before she played the foxy mama named Carol Foster Lambert on Step by Step.
Her career was floundering prior to Step by Step, but thanks to a revival brought on by her promotion of the ThighMaster, she was back in the spotlight. On the show, she was a strong mother, beautician, and ran a hair salon out of a room in her house. This all seems perfectly normal, which is far different from some of the choices she’s made since.
Suzanne Somers, unhinged
Somers is intent on defying age and mortality, and it’s believed that she thinks she’ll live to be 125, thanks to her periodically swapping plasma with cells from younger people. She also made a stink with the American Cancer Society when she told the world she cured her breast cancer by using an herbal remedy.
Well, at least she was cured. On Oct. 16, 2019, she raised another stir when she posted a photo of herself in her birthday suit on her birthday. It was her 73rd birthday, and the haters came out to hate. But she’s used to that.
Family Matters’ Fred Willard
Fred Willard has starred in a number of comedy films, such as Best in Show and Anchorman, but we remember him best as Vice Principal (emphasis on “Vice,” as it turns out) Mallet on Family Matters. He appeared in a handful of episodes from 1994-96, was lovable and funny, and was a vast departure from the man who got arrested in 2012.
On July 19th of that year, he paid $13 at Tiki Theater Xymposium to watch a triple feature, which happened to be three adult films. Two officers entered the theater and noticed Willard in the back row of the theater, apparently, enjoying himself a little too much.
Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper’s Omar Gooding
Omar Gooding (brother of Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr.) was one of Mr. Cooper’s original students at Oakbridge High School. He also played on the basketball team, and was a funny part of the show during its entire run from 1992-97.
Gooding was a cast member on a number of shows through the 1990s (he hosted Nickelodeon’s Wild & Crazy Kids), then moved over to film almost exclusively in the early 2000s. His career took a dive in 2013 after he was arrested for a DUI and possession in Los Angeles. He pleaded no contest and went to rehab in order to get the charges dropped. Now that’s pretty wild and crazy.
Family Matters’ Darius McCrary
Darius McCrary played the slightly dim-witted conductor of positive energy as the eldest Winslow child in Family Matters. The show was definitely the highlight of his career, but he’s found other ways to get into the news, although it’s tough to say what’s real and what’s not.
His brief marriage to Karrine Steffans later came with allegations that he had been violent with her, which was a claim she later admitted was false. However, in 2017, new court documents surfaced that he did something similar to his third wife, and after a two-year-long divorce process, he lost custody of the daughter they share.
Family Matters’ Orlando Brown
Orlando Brown, better known as 3J on Family Matters, didn’t come onto the show until the seventh season, when he was just 12 years old. Family Matters was the start of a great child-acting career for Brown, but when the cameras stopped rolling, he got into some trouble.
In 2015, he was caught getting in a fight with his girlfriend in a police station parking lot (you can guess how that ended). Then, in Jan. 2018, he was arrested again (that’s his mug shot on the right). This time, his girlfriend called the police on him, only to be taken into custody herself, as she failed to realize she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest.
Step by Step’s Angela Watson
Angela Watson played the “beautiful-and-she-knows-it” girl on TGIF’s Step by Step, as the middle child of the Foster family. Her name was Karen, and the constantly ditsy aspiring model and country singer also had her heart in the right place, and taught us many lessons about growing up.
Watson could’ve used a few of those lessons in her personal life, especially any kind about people taking advantage of you. Watson played Karen Foster for over 10 seasons on Step by Step, and during that time, from when she was 16 to 26 years old, she amassed over $2.5 million. Unfortunately, she would see barely any of it.
Angela Watson, unhinged
What an amazing advantage it would be: only 26 years old and sitting on $2.5 million. For Watson, this never became a reality, and she learned a terrible lesson as a result. As a child actor, she entrusted her money to her parents, who, like greedy ants on a sugar hill, spent and poorly invested all of her money.
She was left with nothing, and as it turned out, her story was not all that uncommon. In 2000, she did something about this problem, and started Child Actors Supporting Themselves (CAST), whose sole function is to provide financial security to child actors. Aw, Karen Foster, there you go again, tugging at our heartstrings.
Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper’s Mark Curry
Mark Curry was the energetic, funny, and charismatic teacher and basketball coach when he played the title role in the show Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. From what we can tell, Curry is a good man, and the worst thing we could find about him was so crazy we had to share it.
In April 2006, Curry was just doing laundry at his house when an explosion sent him flying. Evidently, an aerosol can fell behind his water heater and exploded. Curry had burns on 20% of his body, and spent the next three days in a coma. He made a full recovery, and has since been open about his experience.
Family Matters’ Jaimee Foxworth
Jaimee Foxworth played the youngest daughter in the Winslow family. Her name was Judy, and if you don’t remember her, that’s because she was written off the show after four seasons, and the writers gave us zero explanation of what happened to her!
What actually happened to her was substance abuse, and eventually she struggled for work so much that she got into adult films. From 2000-02 she went by the name “Crave,” and starred in a number of films. We don’t think Carl Winslow would like that too much, but he would like her efforts to stay clean. She claims to have been substance-free since her son was born in 2009.
The Hughleys’ Dee Jay Daniels
The Hughleys started its run on TGIF at the tail end of the golden era of TGIF. When the show started, a 10-year-old Dee Jay Daniels played the youngest child of the Hughley family in the four seasons The Hughleys ran, from 1998-2000.
In 2011, he got into major trouble when he was charged with the fatal stabbing of a man outside of a Stockton, California, nightclub. The next year he was acquitted of that charge, but faced more charges stemming from an illegal substance he possessed at the time. His gang activity may have gotten the better of him, as there’s very little news about Daniels these days.