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Modern Family's Ed O'Neill had strained relationship with lesbian co-star on previous sitcom

O'Neill was one of only Married, With Children castmates not invited to Amanda Bearse's wedding

Modern Family's Ed O'Neill had strained relationship with lesbian co-star on previous sitcom

On ABC’s Modern Family, actor Ed O’Neill plays the father of gay man played by openly gay actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

It’s not the first time O’Neill has had a gay co-star in a long-running sitcom.

For 11 years, he co-starred with lesbian actress and director Amanda Bearse of Fox’s Married With Children and O’Neill says she was the only one of his co-stars with whom he did not get along.

In an interview with the Television Academy’s archives, the actor said Bearse changed after the first three years of the show’s run.

Most notably, he observed, she became more masculine.

‘I have to say that when she started out — she was gay, of course she was gay a long time — she was more or less the female in the couple. You know, she was very, very feminine. And cute.’

‘And then, as the show — you know, 11 years it went — as it progressed, a change took place where she, then, was the more masculine of the two. You know she had several relationships over that time. And that became kind of interesting because then as she became more masculine, she became a little more snarky, you know, she could grow a tooth, as we used to say.’

When Bearse was going to get married, O’Neill confronted her about he and co-star David Faustino being the only two members of the cast not invited.

He quotes Bearse as saying to him: ‘This was a very tough call, but I just feel that you would find it amusing that (we) would come in, in tuxedos, in a church and walk down the aisle and you and David would be snickering and finding it funny.’

O’Neill recalls what happened next: ‘I said, "Amanda, what is funny about two women in tuxedos walking down the church aisle?" I started laughing. And she said, "SEE!" And I said, "Well, you know why? Because it is fucking funny! And I’m not going to be the only one that doesn’t think so!" Well that was it. You know. But, it was funny. … So, in other words she may not have been wrong in excluding me.’

The interview took place last year before O’Neill’s TV son marched down the aisle in last month’s season finale of Modern Family.

Both were wearing tuxedos.

Note: O’Neill talks about Bearse from the 10:20 to 15:10 mark.


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