Jaleel White Speaks Out About Ex-Girlfriend's Abuse Allegations

The DWTS competitor blames a child custody dispute for the claims

Photo: Norman Scott/Startraks

Responding to allegations by his ex-girlfriend of physical and verbal abuse, Jaleel White tells PEOPLE the years-old claims are the fallout from a child-custody dispute that he thought had been resolved.

“When you re doing well in life, it s par for the course certain individuals will try and knock you down,” the Dancing with the Stars competitor says in a statement. “When the individual is also the mother of your only child it is particularly hurtful.”

Bridget Hardy says in an interview with Star magazine that White verbally and physically abused her in 2010. She alleges “he hit me across the chest area” and “pushed me into toilet,” causing it to break.

White, 35, who played Steve Urkel on the sitcom Family Matters, tells PEOPLE the allegations originally were made in a “malicious police report” filed in connection with a dispute over custody of their then-11-month-old daughter. White was never questioned by police and no charges were filed.

“As much as I would love to go detail for detail refuting Ms. Hardy’s claims about the specifics of what was our relationship, the family court judge made it very clear to me any public discussion of our case and ordeal would be held against me in a court of law,” he says.

But White says he felt the matter had been concluded and that “up until now we have had a workable joint custody arrangement.” He adds that he has been paying child support.

“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 says. “Bridget Hardy has consistently shown a knack for timing throughout our child custody disputes.”

“I guess my most recent successes have been too much for her to stomach,” he continues. “I’m assuming I have not received her votes these past Monday nights. ”

White says his primary concern is their daughter.

“My only hope is that when my daughter Googles her parents one day in her future, she sees that her father acted with class and dignity when pressed to the fire,” he concludes.

“Bridget Hardy is the mother of my only daughter in this world and without Ms. Hardy I would not have the treasure that is my daughter. God knows the truth. … I ask for your sensitivity during this time, I can assure all of my fans this is only residue from a child custody matter.”

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