What Happened to Judy on Family Matters?

March 31, 2024

Between 1989 and 1993, Family Matters introduced TV audiences to the hard-working Carl and Harriette Winslow and their three children, Eddie, Laura, and Judy. But during the fourth season, something happened to the youngest Winslow child that was both strange and utterly upsetting. After a tense episode that saw Judy sent to her room as punishment, she never returned. The show simply acted as though she never existed, and fans were left with no explanation.

At the time, it seemed like a glaring example of how ruthless television can be. Most shows would at least offer some kind of explanation for such a drastic change to the plotline, but Family Matters did none of that. It was simply written out of the story, and the youngest Winslow child disappeared in plain sight, leaving a bizarre hang chad of unanswered questions in pre-internet sitcom pop culture.

But it wasn’t as sinister as it sounds, and there is a pretty good reason why Judy got the boot. Family Matters needed to free up money in the budget to accommodate star Jaleel White, and if that meant cutting other actors out of the picture, that was just part of the deal.

Jo Marie Payton, who played Harriette Winslow on the show and its spinoff Perfect Strangers, recently spoke out about her lost daughter, stating that if Family Matters were ever to reboot, she wouldn’t be involved without Jaimee Foxworth’s Judy being written back into the story. It’s a statement that speaks volumes about how much the character meant to viewers, and we hope that it sparks some real interest in a reunion of this iconic TGIF era show.

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