The "Dancing With the Stars" contestant and former "Family Matters" star said Monday night after the show that a report he'd gone ballistic on partner Kym Johnson during rehearsals "was completely exaggerated," People said.
"He was just stressed out and ready to snap," a source told the mag.
"I'm a sitcom generation kid," said White, 35. "I'm not used to all this tabloid stuff."
According to Us Weekly, White snapped at Johnson after he stepped on her foot in rehearsal and she cried "ouch." He reportedly "got in her face" and called her names until fellow competitor Donald Driver and pro dancer Mark Ballas got involved, with White allegedly saying to Ballas, "'You remind me of that annoying sitcom neighbor who gets into everyone's business!'"
(Couldn't have said it better with a script.)
"The producers stepped in and broke it up before it got physical, but they were really going at it -- right up in each other's faces!" Us Weekly's source said.
White was extremely emotional after his "personal story" performance Monday night, tearing up on camera after his dance and saying with some difficulty that he was "just glad to get through this week." He danced a rumba meant to invoke his Urkel character's cool alter-ego Stefan Urquelle, whom he played during the seventh "Family Matters" season, when he was 19.
In rehearsal footage and together in the ballroom, White and Johnson appeared to get along well.
"This competition is very, very stressful," he told CNN later Monday. "Everyone has good weeks and bad weeks. This is the first time we had four days to learn a dance, it was personal story week so I think it was stressful, but we're fine. We're absolutely fine."
Said veteran dancer Ballas: "These things happen. This show is a competitive show. Things get heated. ... This got severely twisted."
White last week addressed allegations in Star magazine from an ex-girlfriend -- the mother of his child -- that he physically and verbally abused her. "The allegations made against me back in 2010 have suspiciously resurfaced in time to coincide with my new show on SyFy and 'Dancing With the Stars,'" he said in a statement. "Bridget Hardy has consistently shown a knack for timing throughout our child custody disputes."
He told People the claims were originally made in a "malicious police report" that was filed as part of their custody battle.
Photo: Jaleel White in January. Credit: Dan Steinberg / Associated Press