Ed O’Neill is known for his role as Al Bundy in Married…with Children and more recently as Jay Pritchett in the sitcom Modern Family. With the fame Ed has accumulated through the years, you’d think he’s used to having fans come up to him, asking for pictures. The thing is, he usually keeps to himself.
However, one day, a fan came up to him at the airport asking for a photo. He agreed, having no idea that this wasn’t a typical fan. It wasn’t until the picture went viral that he learned the truth.
Ed O’Neill Had No Clue Who Asked Him For A Picture
Modern Family star Ed O’Neill was waiting for his flight in an airport lounge when a fan approached him, asking for a picture. Being in his position, it wasn’t an abnormal request, so he agreed. The excited fan quickly thanked him for the shot and left him alone.
It wasn’t much later that the mystery fan posted the photo to social media. And, in typical social media fashion, the internet went wild about the mystery fan’s identity.
Ed’s Been In The Spotlight Since 1987
Ed O’Neill has graced the small screen since 1987, starring in the popular sitcom Married…with Children. So, it’s really no surprise that the mystery fan asked him for a photograph. During his time on the ’80s sitcom, critics highly praised him for his acting skills which they credited for the show’s success — it ran for 11 seasons!
Little did Ed know that the mystery woman was also a star. And not just any star, but someone who is one of the biggest names in her field.
It’s Surprising That He Had No Clue Who She Was!
It doesn’t come as a shock that the mystery fan was starstruck, having run into Ed at the airport. His role as Al Bundy in Married…with Children did earn him two Golden Globe nominations, after all! The role also threw him straight into the limelight, giving him more television opportunities and even some in film.
Aside from Ed’s fame, it’s amazing that he did not recognize the woman who asked him for a picture. She has quite a popular face! Not to mention they’ve probably attended some of the same events.
From Sitcom Star To The Big Screen
Ed’s newly acquired fame from the Fox sitcom turned the heads of many producers and studios. All of a sudden, Ed was a highly desired actor and everyone wanted a piece of him! He went on to star in films such as The Bone Collector, Little Giants, and Dutch.
As such things go, the more Ed’s portfolio expanded, the more his public profile grew. He was introduced to a whole new world — that of an A-list celebrity.
A Family Man
Ed was married in 1986, but despite that, he and his wife waited a long 13 years to start a family. They agreed that it was best to focus on their marriage and Ed’s booming career before bringing children into the picture.
Their first daughter was born in 1999 and their second came a few years later. Considering their daughters’ ages, they grew up knowing who this mystery person was! Boy was their dad in for a treat.
He Was Offered The Role Of Jay Pritchett
After several successful movies, Ed decided he wanted to go back to television. So, when he was offered the role of Jay Pritchett for a new ABC Network sitcom in 2009, he couldn’t say no. The role was going to be for one of the main characters in a new show called Modern Family.
The show found huge success and was renewed for a number of seasons. Fans and critics both couldn’t get enough of the show!
Ed Was Becoming Popular With The Younger Generation
With Ed becoming a household name with the younger generation, he was getting used to being asked for autographs and pictures. Something that wasn’t so popular with his older fans.
So, when the young mystery woman came up to him at the airport, he didn’t think twice. He thought it was just a regular fan asking for a picture so they could post it to social media. No harm, no foul! That’s where Ed was wrong.
“Ed O’Neill Does Not Like Taking Photos With Fans”
It’s public knowledge that Ed prefers to keep his private life to himself. The actor doesn’t even have a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, which is very odd for a prominent actor. No matter the age, the majority of “the Hollywood elite” are on social media of some kind.
In 2012, a YouTube video was posted titled “Ed O’Neill Does Not Like Taking Photos With Fans.” The grainy video shows Ed walking away from adoring fans, not wanting to take pictures with them.
The Mystery Woman Has The Same Mentality
Ironically, the mystery fan who Ed took a picture with has the same mindset. She likes to keep her private life out of the public eye. Many of her fans know that she would prefer not to take photos, most likely hiding her face and shying away from the limelight instead.
It’s because of this that fans were surprised to see the two in a picture together. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that the photo went viral!
She Called Ed “Mr. O’Neill”
Thankfully, it seems as though the mystery fan caught Ed on a good day because he was willing to pose for a photo (even though he doesn’t look overly pleased about it). It was also reported that their encounter was nothing less than pleasant and warm.
The mystery woman even went as far as calling Ed “Mr. O’Neill.” Considering the fan’s identity, it’s clear that her southern upbringing was definitely being utilized. Talk about some good manners.
Ed Didn’t Look Like He Wanted To Be There
If anyone is curious as to what each of the people in the photo was thinking, all you have to do is look at their faces. The mystery fan is smiling so wide, unable to contain her excitement at meeting Ed O’Neill.
While, on the other side of the coin, Ed looks like he would like to be anywhere but sitting on that chair. Hey, just because he said yes to the picture doesn’t mean he has to enjoy it!
The Picture Went Viral Almost Instantly
Considering Ed is one of her favorite actors, it’s no surprise that after taking the picture the fan immediately uploaded it to social media. Who wouldn’t? Almost instantly the photo was being shared, ultimately reaching many different media outlets.
The comments on the photo ranged from where the two stars were, to the facial expressions of both people. Ed was not expecting that type of reaction from the internet community. Then again, he still didn’t know the name of the mystery fan.
Ed Had No Clue Who She Was
The text on the fan’s Twitter post read, “Fancy running into this guy! Such a sweetheart!!” Although the post reached thousands within minutes, Ed himself didn’t see it, due to his lack of social media. He didn’t even know the image went viral until he started the receive texts regarding the photo.
Even with people telling him the name of the person, Ed was clueless. He really had no idea who the fan was! It took a call from Ed’s manager to explain her relevance that it finally clicked.
She Wasn’t A “Regular” Fan
It was lucky that Ed decided to take a photo that day. Otherwise, it’s likely that a news story would have been posted about how he was rude to another celebrity, even though he had no clue who it was at the time.
If it had been a “regular” fan, it wouldn’t have mattered to the press, but the mystery person was far from regular. Thankfully, he took the picture and didn’t have to deal with that public relations nightmare.
The Fan Has Been In The Spotlight For Years
It’s funny because the mystery woman’s face is usually highly recognizable. She’s been in the spotlight pretty much her entire life, starting as a child star and then having all of the tabloids have a field day with her teen and young adult life.
She’s also been a regular on the red carpet and her music has been played on the radio since the 90s. with all of her media coverage, it’s amazing that Ed had no clue of her name.
Ellen Was Going To Get To The Bottom Of This
In 2016, Ed appeared on The Ellen Show to promote his upcoming movie Finding Dory, which he starred opposite the host, Ellen DeGeneres. The interview began with Ellen asking Ed about the movie and discussing how they both enjoyed doing the voiceover work for their characters — Ed played Hank the octopus.
However, it’s Ellen, so of course, she had to ask Ed about the picture that was garnering so much attention. She wanted all of the juicy details that Ed couldn’t give her.
Ed’s A Bit Oblivious In All things
It shouldn’t surprise people that Ed wasn’t aware of his fan’s identity. As it turns out, he wasn’t aware of his role in Finding Dory, either! During the interview with Ellen, Ed confessed that when he started his voiceover work for Hank the octopus, he had no clue how big his role actually was.
It wasn’t until he was brought into the studio month after month that he finally realized his character was very important. That confession got him many laughs from the audience and even some from Ellen.
Ellen Didn’t Understand How Ed Didn’t Know The Fan
After Ellen and Ed thoroughly discussed their upcoming film, the conversation shifted to the elephant in the room, the mystery fan. Ellen wanted to know the story behind the picture, not to mention how Ed had no clue who it was.
It was funny to Ellen because the woman happens to be a regular on her talk show and they’ve been involved in many projects together. It was strange to her that Ed had no idea who it was!
The Fan Was Very Polite
Ed told Ellen that “I was flying alone to Hawaii. I was waiting for my flight to board, they told me the flight was boarding and I picked up — that’s a little Modern Family hat. I saw a woman approaching me so I just flopped it on, you know, I was leaving.”
She came up and said, “Oh, Mr. O’Neill, I love Modern Family, and you’re my favorite on the show.” after an encounter like that, how could he refuse.
He Didn’t Think Twice About The Picture
Ed continued, saying that the fan went on to ask for the picture, “[She said] ‘Could you please, I know you’re in a hurry…’ [she] couldn’t have been nicer, so I said, ‘Sure, fine, you know, OK.’ So she sat there and we took it and I said, ‘Have a nice trip, I’m going,’ and I left.”
He then got onto his flight and didn’t think twice about the encounter. The thing is, he wasn’t expecting to be bombarded with text messages when he landed.
The Mystery Woman Is A Household Name
The main person trying to reach Ed was his manager. The text he sent Ed read “What is this? It’s 53,000 likes.” The only problem was that Ed had no idea what it was about! Or that the lady he posed with was an international pop superstar who was wildly successful.
Even though the pop singer is much younger then Ed, she has a huge presence in both the United States and around the world. She’s a household name with many young girls looking up to her.
His Daughter Was Not Happy!
One person that was frustrated with Ed over his lack of knowledge was none other than his daughter! She grew up listening to the pop star and was extremely jealous that her father met her.
The thing is that once she found out that her father had no idea who was posing in the picture with him, she sent Ed a text. He recalls that the message jokingly called him a ‘moron.’ We’re not entirely sure she was joking, Ed.
He Called The Mystery Woman’s Manager
Once everyone explained to Ed who the woman in the picture was, he found it laughable and slightly embarrassing that he didn’t recognize her. Scratch that, he had no clue what she looked like even though he recognized the name!
Ed decided to call her manager, profusely apologizing for his mistake in not recognizing one of the most famous women in the world. He clearly needs to brush up on his pop culture trivia as the woman is a superstar!
Oops…He Did It!
The mystery fan was none other than international pop princess Britney Spears. The singer was taking a break from her Vegas residency schedule, heading on vacation with her family when she spotted Ed in the airport.
Spears is known to live a private life, which is why she didn’t have an entourage of people at the airport. A thing that probably threw Ed off of her celebrity. Perhaps if she had bodyguards or paparazzi surrounding her, Ed would have figured out who she was sooner!
Britney’s Polite Approach At The Airport Now Made Sense
Britney approached Ed with such politeness that it made sense that she was someone who knew what it was like to be asked for pictures and autographs. Pretty much just constantly being hounded by a fan base.
The singer is someone who knows what it’s like to be overwhelmed by other people. She even had a breakdown in 2007 from the pressure that came with being under a microscope at all times. She knew to treat Ed like a human and not a celebrity.
“Do I Look Like I’m Sitting With Britney Spears?”
Ellen noted Ed’s facial expression in the picture, saying, “you don’t seem thrilled.” The funny thing is that he wasn’t! When the audience started the laugh, Ed admitted he had no clue who she was.
She went on to ask Ed if he had any clue who the lady was. His answer was priceless. Ed said, “Look at the look on my face, do I look like I’m sitting with Britney Spears?”
Britney’s Fans Were Asking Who Ed Was
The reason why the picture received so many likes in such a short amount of time is no doubt due to Britney’s fame and millions of followers. Ironically, because the singer’s fan base is pretty young, they had no clue who Ed O’Neill was!
Many of the comments were asking the pop star who the man in the picture was, and not the other way around! It’s not every day that Britney Spears is excited to meet another celebrity.
When the air was cleared, and everyone knew who everyone else was, many of the show’s fans were calling for Ms. Spears to make a guest appearance on Modern Family. In 2012, the tag #GetBritneyOnModernFamily went viral.
It sounds like the pop princess was interested in being on the show long before the photo was taken in the airport! Unfortunately, the show came to an end in 2019, with Britney never making her guest appearance.
Britney Has Been On A Few TV Shows
Even though she didn’t make it on Modern Family, Britney is no stranger to guest starring on some pretty big-name television shows. She’s been on How I Met Your Mother, Will & Grace, Glee, and The Simpsons. The pop singer even starred in a few films.
Her performances were always well received from her co-stars and producers of each respective show. And having the familiar face definitely made viewers happy. We wish that the Modern Family producers had jumped on a chance to hire her sooner!
Fingers Crossed The Two Meet Again!
Britney never commented on Ed’s admission of not knowing who she is, but hopefully, the two have something to talk about the next time they meet. It is Hollywood, after all, and they’re bound to cross paths again.
Thankfully, Ed handled the situation with grace, even going the extra mile to apologize to Britney. The funny thing is that not being recognized was probably a breath of fresh air for the pop princess. We look forward to seeing a picture from their next encounter!
One Big Happy Family
Modern Family has been on the air since 2009, which is a long time for any TV show. All the actors and actresses who make up the cast of Modern Family made a pact since the first season to always submit themselves to awards ceremonies in supporting roles, never leading. They truly understand that Modern Family is an ensemble show and no one cast member is more important than anyone else.
Everyone takes on a supporting role, both literally and figuratively. This cast really does work like a family. Everyone supports one another.
He Oughtta Know
After Ed O’Neill read the script for the pilot of Modern Family for the first time, he knew the show was going to be a hit. O’Neill is a sitcom veteran. He’s starred in Married with Children for 11 seasons, so he definitely knows a thing or two about successful family sitcoms.
After reading it, he exclaimed that he knew that the script was a winner and that the show would last for at least 10 years.
A Real Genius
Even though Nolan Gould plays a rather dim teenager on TV, he’s actually quite intelligent in real life. He has an IQ of 150. I think it’s safe to say that Luke Dunphy’s IQ is way lower than that.
Not only is Nolan super smart, but he’s also obviously a great actor. It takes a lot of skill to play a character who is so different from your real life persona. Maybe one of these days Luke will learn a thing or two from Nolan.
Coming Out (Again)
In a 2010 interview with Out Magazine, Jesse Tyler Ferguson said that the running joke that Jay kept “forgetting” that his son, Mitchell, is gay (and Mitchell had to come out to his father repeatedly) is drawn from Ferguson’s real life. He had to come out to his real father three different times over many years before his father actually believed it.
When Jesse told the show’s writers this story, they thought it was hilarious and decided to add it to Mitchell’s backstory.
An Awkward Situation
Ariel Winter was only 11 years old when she was cast as Alex Dunphy. During the first few seasons of the show, her mother always came to set with her.
According to cast and crew, the mother was always talking down to her about her weight and performance, up to the point where the producers wanted her banned from the set. In 2012, Winter was removed from her mother’s home following allegations of physical and emotional abuse, and in 2016, Winter herself announced that she was legally emancipated from her parents.
Mock The Genre
The original show description explained why the show was shot in a “mockumentary” style. It stated a Swedish movie director, who used to be a foreign exchange student in Phil’s home, was shooting a documentary on the American family.
The concept of the series was influenced by the French mockumentary series Fais pas ci, fais pas ça created in 2007. Modern Family has become the most successful mockumentary of all time. Yes, even more successful than The Office.
Ed Needs Some Spanish Lessons
While still living in Colombia, Sofía Vergara used to watch the Spanish-dubbed version of Married with Children (1986) featuring her co-star-to-be Ed O’Neill. After she got the role as Ed’s wife Gloria on Modern Family, she was disappointed to learn that Ed spoke no Spanish.
I wonder if Ed has learned any Spanish since Vergara first met him? I’m sure that Sofia could teach him a couple of key phrases. How do you say “pay attention in school” in Spanish?
Eric Stonestreet Is No Cam
Eric Stonestreet, who plays Cam Tucker, is heterosexual in real life but is a great supporter of the LGBT community. That’s not the only way Eric is different from Cam. He has said that sometimes fans are disappointed that he isn’t as dramatic and bubbly as Cam.
It’s hard to be “on” all the time, though. I’m sure Eric is very nice and bubbly, he just can’t be one hundred percent bubbly one hundred percent of the time.
How He Got The Part
Ty Burrell had to jump through a few hoops to get cast as Phil on Modern Family. ABC had its reservations, as Ty had previously starred in Back to You (2007) as a dull character, and they were looking for a well-known actor. Creators even questioned Ty’s acting abilities.
Creator Steve Levitan then had an idea to film Ty and Sarah at his own home, just to give producers an idea of Phil’s character as portrayed by Ty Burrell. That plan worked, and Ty was cast as Phil.
Sarah’s Health Issues
Sarah suffers from kidney dysplasia, and received a kidney from her father in 2012. After her body rejected that kidney, she received a second kidney from her brother. She is on regular anti-rejection medication and steroids, and has been placed on bed-rest several times.
Despite this, she continues to film the show. When she had her second kidney transplant in 2017, all the cast and crew took all the safety precautions to ensure she didn’t get any infections, including wearing surgical masks on set.
Andy And Haley Forever
In their scenes together, Sarah and Adam would often act more dramatic and serious than the director intended just because they were so invested in Haley and Andy’s relationship. The producers would constantly have to remind them to keep the pacing fast.
Andy is one of the only recurring characters who appear in the interview segments of the show. He is the only recurring character who appears in multiple interviews and in interviews by himself.
This One’s For The Kids
The writers never wanted to trivialize serious teenager problems. They made a conscious effort to write storylines that focus on the severity of anxiety and depression that kids face. They also made a point to show their characters seeking help, so that kids watching would know that their problems are worth helping and are important.
It looks like Modern Family has already made a tremendous impact on kids and families navigating the modern world.
Sarah Hyland has had two of her boyfriends appear on the show, and they both have played Alex’s (Ariel Winter) love interest. Hyland’s boyfriend at the time, Matt Prokop, appeared in the third season and her ex-boyfriend, Dominic Sherwood, appeared in the seventh season.
Sarah Hyland is currently dating Wells Adams, a television personality who appeared on Jojo’s season of The Bachelorette. He also appeared on multiple seasons of Bachelor in Paradise as the crew’s bartender.
Other Possible Phils
Both Brendan Fraser and Matt LeBlanc were considered for the role of Phil Dunphy. Rob Huebel turned down the role of Phil Dunphy and in later interviews expressed regret over this decision. He would later go on to appear as Phil’s arch nemesis, Glen Whipple.
I don’t know about you, but I would love to see Brendan Fraser play Phil for just one episode. I love Ty Burrell, and I think he was perfectly cast, but Brendan Fraser would just be so funny.
Julie Bowen was very pregnant when she shot the pilot episode of Modern Family. When she auditioned for the role of Claire Dunphy, she was heavily pregnant with her twin sons Gus and John.
Even though she thought that her condition would definitely take her out of the running, she won the part anyway. When it came time to shoot the pilot she still hadn’t given birth, so she masked her belly with strategic cereal boxes.
This Guy Was Almost Jay Pritchett
Craig T. Nelson was offered the role of Jay Pritchett, but ultimately, the part went to Ed O’Neill. Nelson’s decision to pass on the project came down to money.
He said, “I really wanted to do Modern Family. I really liked the script and I liked the people. I just said, ‘You know what? I’ve been doing this too long.’ We’re in the middle of a cutback here, ladies and gentlemen, in Hollywood and salaries have gone way, way down … I just felt disrespected to tell you the truth.” The next year, Nelson accepted the part of Zeek Braverman on Parenthood.
Eric Stonestreet Really Was A Clown
Eric Stonestreet began dressing up as Fizbo the Clown when he was nine years old. His dream was to be a clown in the circus. By the time he was eleven, he was performing at kids’ birthday parties.
He told The Kansas City Star, “It was my way then, as a young man to express my desire to entertain and perform. I didn’t know what I was saying then was that I wanted to be an actor. I had parents, fortunately, who didn’t think I was weird. They thought it was funny and cute and encouraged me to do it. And I had a grandma who would make my costumes.”
The Show Is Extremely Popular With Rich People
Each year, Nielsen tracks data on TV viewership to find out who’s watching which shows. This helps advertisers decide which shows might fit their products best. After the company released its 2015 stats, Vulture discovered that Modern Family‘s demographic is wealthier than the audiences of most other network shows.
Rich people love Modern Family. It was the second-most popular show amongst viewers in the 18-49 age bracket whose households earned an average annual income over $200,000. The Walking Dead was number one.
Lin Manuel Miranda Had A Pre-Hamilton Cameo
You probably didn’t recognize him at the time, but Broadway legend Lin Manuel Miranda was actually in an early episode of Modern Family. Four Years before Hamilton became a thing, Lin charmed casting director Jeff Greenberg over with his impressive knowledge of Modern Family.
Greenberg told The Observer, “He came in and quoted episode after episode, line after line, joke after joke, and we loved him.” He cast Miranda as Gloria’s dog trainer. “Thank God we did [cast him] because now he gets me Hamilton tickets,” Greenberg said. “Lin remembered!”
A Set Of Twins Played Baby Lily
Mitch and Cam’s adopted daughter Lily was originally played by twin sisters Ella and Jaden Hiller. After two seasons as Lily, the twins quickly grew tired of this whole acting thing.
Their mom Michelle explained, “Halfway through season two their personalities had started to develop, and it was really clear to us that they weren’t enjoying their time on set. So we told the producers the girls wouldn’t be coming back.” Aubrey Anderson-Emmons was chosen as a replacement. She has played Lily ever since.