In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, it was revealed that Family Matters co-stars Jaleel White and Jo-Marie Payton had a feud onset that almost turned violent. According to Jo-Marie Payton, the two had an argument over a scene in the season 9 episode, titled Original Gangsta Dawg, that almost resulted in a “melee.” Payton recounted that White actually wanted to physically fight her and that she was prepared to “whip his behind.”
Feuding co-stars, like White and Payton, are not an anomaly in the film and television industry. Long hours, clashing personalities, and competition over roles can all breed contempt and animosity in the Hollywood workplace. After all, celebrities are just like everyone else—they too have coworkers they mesh with, and ones they don’t. But the difference is, when these behind-the-scenes hostilities come to light they tend to blow up in a big way.
Here are 5 TV co-stars who have had very public feuds.
Will Smith and Janet Hubert (‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’)
The OG Aunt Viv, played by Janet Hubert, had a very strained relationship with Will Smith while on the set of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Hubert was reportedly fired for being “difficult” and replaced with Daphne Maxwell Reid after season three in 1993. In 2011, Hubert told TMZ she would never do a reunion with the cast because “I will never do anything with an a**hole like Will Smith.”
But in 2020, Hubert and Smith sat down for a reunion on HBO Max and discussed the reasons for their tense relationship, with Smith apologizing for his part, admitting to “making the set very difficult” for his Fresh Prince of Bel Air co-star.
“I can see now the level of pain and the level of struggle that it was just for you to show up every day,” Smith said, to which Hubert responded: “But you took all of that away from me – with your words. Words can kill. I lost everything. Reputation. Everything. And I understand you were able to move forward, but you know those words, calling a Black woman ‘difficult’ in Hollywood, is the kiss of death.”
The two have since reportedly reconciled.
Lea Michele and Naya Rivera (‘Glee’)
For Glee co-stars Lea Michele and Naya Rivera their off-screen relationship was anything but cheerful. There had been rumors about a feud between Michele and Rivera but it wasn’t until Rivera’s memoir, Sorry Not Sorry, came out in 2016 that she addressed the alleged feud, and verified it.
Riviera revealed that the pair’s relationship began to sour after she got a more prominent role on the show. “As the show progressed, though, that friendship started to break down, especially as Santana moved from a background character to one with bigger plot lines and more screen time,” she wrote. “I think Rachel — erm, I mean Lea — didn’t like sharing the spotlight.”
Riviera went on to write that soon Michelle started ignoring her altogether on set and didn’t say a word to her for all of season six. Michele has never publicly addressed any of Riviera’s sentiments but when Rivera tragically passed away in 2020, Michele paid tribute to her co-star a year after her death on her Instagram account.
Isaiah Washington and Patrick Dempsey (‘Grey’s Anatomy’)
The drama on Grey’s Anatomy isn’t limited to the scenes we see on-screen. As there had been a well-publicized off-screen feud between Isaiah Washington and Patrick Dempsey that ended with Washington being fired from the show in 2007.
In 2006, there were several reports that Washington and Dempsey had been involved in a physical altercation while on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. Reportedly the heated exchange had to do with tardy cast members which escalated into a violent squabble in which Washington grabbed Dempsey by the throat. It was also reported that Washington used homophobic slurs in reference to co-star T.R. Knight, during the exchange. Washington later repeated the slur backstage at the Golden Globe Awards in 2007, which is eventually what got him fired.
Washington later apologized for his use of the slur. “I can neither defend nor explain my behavior,” Washington said in a statement. “I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I’ve asked for help.”
Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker (‘Sex and the City’)
One of the reasons Sex and the City was such a hit with female audiences was due to its portrayals of strong female friendships. But off-screen, the relationships between some of the cast were less than friendly. Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker have been engaged in a long-standing feud with one another.
Rumors of the alleged rift between Cattrall and Parker began swirling in 2004, as the show’s final season was airing. Cattrall’s decision to not sit with her fellow castmates at the 2004 Emmys had many fans speculating but it wasn’t until Cattrall refused to star in a third Sex and the City movie that the truth of the co-stars’ rocky relationship began to come to light.
While being interviewed by Piers Morgan in 2017, Cattrall said that Parker “could have been nicer” about her refusal to take part in the third film. She also added that the four co-stars of the show, which include Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis, were “never friends”.
Things got even more heated between the two in 2018 after Cattrall’s brother passed away. After Parker wrote a comment of condolence on Cattrall’s Instagram, Cattrall wrote a post calling out Parker for “exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your ‘nice girl’ persona”. Cattrall added: “Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now.”
Parker has never publicly admitted that she and Cattrall didn’t get along.
William Shatner and George Takei (‘Star Trek’)
William Shatner and George Takei starred in the Star Trek TV series for three years together (1966–1969) but despite their collective adventures, the two have very publicly been in a decades-long feud.
Takei wrote in his 1994 autobiography, To The Stars, that Shatner would pretend not to know him on set. And in 2008, when Shatner was not invited to Takei’s wedding, Shatner responded by saying that the wedding was a “publicity stunt” and ranted in an online interview claiming Takei suffered from a mental illness. “There’s such a sickness there, it’s so painfully obvious that there’s a psychosis there,” Shatner said about his co-star.
In Shatner’s 2011 memoir called, Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large, Shatner claimed that Takei had been “saying mean things about me for nearly 40 years now.”
Most recently, in 2021, Takei mocked Shatner’s trip to space, using the Star Trek motto to scoff at Shatner’s 10-minute journey: “He’s boldly going where other people have gone before.”