Over the 11 years that “Modern Family” has been on the air, the ensemble cast of the ABC family comedy has expanded and grown older. As the series wraps up in spring 2020, we’re taking a look at how the characters compare in real life to the actors who portray them.
Note: Spoilers regarding the plotlines of “Modern Family” are found throughout this slideshow.
Character: Jay Pritchett
You have to give it to Jay Pritchett. His chaotic life — in which he lives with his hot and hotheaded second wife, Gloria, his theatrical stepson, Manny, his youngest son, Joe, and his troublemaking dog, Stella, and is constantly surrounded by his two oldest kids and their families — would make anyone a little ornery. But the old-fashioned Jay always seems to come around to the various situations he faces.
Played By: Ed O’Neill
While he was perhaps best known for his role as Al Bundy on “Married with Children” prior to “Modern Family,” Ed O’Neill has now played successful closet company owner and general grump Jay for so many seasons, audiences may have trouble forgetting he was ever anyone else.
O’Neill married Catherine Rusoff in 1986, and they have two daughters. Their relationship has been on and off. Considering that he recently bought a $6.25 million home in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, O’Neill might have some big relaxation plans in mind post-“Modern Family.”
Character: Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
As she will readily tell you, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett has Colombian blood coursing through her veins. The fiery beauty met Jay Pritchett when she was a single mom making a living as a hairstylist. Since the start of “Modern Family,” she’s gone from having a second son to starting a hot sauce business and now moving into real estate under the tutelage of son-in-law Phil Dunphy. But one thing’s stayed consistent: You don’t mess with Gloria!
Played By: Sofía Vergara
Like her on-screen character, Sofía Vergara is from Colombia, married young, had a son, got divorced and was a single mom. Vergara was previously engaged to Nick Loeb, and she married fellow actor Joe Manganiello in 2015. Besides acting, she’s ventured into clothing and shoe design, fragrances, furniture and other product endorsements. But no hot sauce.
Character: Cameron Tucker
Cameron Tucker, Mitchell Pritchett’s husband, is an over-the-top, music- and theater-loving football coach from Missouri. He’s rarely seen without his signature cuffed long-sleeved shirts — unless he’s in full clown costume.
Played By: Eric Stonestreet
Eric Stonestreet, who is not gay in real life, has been dating his girlfriend, Lindsay Schweitzer, since 2017. He’s a big Kansas City Chiefs fan and Kansas State football fan, mirroring the football prowess of his “Modern Family” character, Cam.
Character: Alex Dunphy
Middle child Alex is the brainy (bordering on genius) kid in her family who sometimes gets the short end of the stick. But don’t feel too badly for Alex. Top of her class and a recent graduate from Caltech, she’s landed a cushy job that also keeps her close to the Pritchett-Dunphy clan.
Played By: Ariel Winter
Winter has grown up before viewers’ eyes. She started playing Alex Dunphy when she was 11. Now a striking young woman, Winter overcame a rough upbringing (she was emancipated from her parents’ control at 15) while continuing a busy career. Besides her “Modern Family” work, she’s been the voice of “Sofia the First” and has also done work on “Phineas and Ferb,” “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” and “Minnie’s Bow Toons.”
Character: Claire Dunphy
Over the series, Claire Dunphy has gone from being the stay-at-home mom of three school-aged kids to taking over the closet business owned by her dad, Jay, and, most recently, venturing out on her own and even becoming a grandmother! Yet she remains the organized, sometimes too-uptight voice of reason in her family.
Played By: Julie Bowen
Julie Bowen is an accomplished TV and film actress. She was married to Scott Phillips from 2004-2018 and they have three sons (seen below). Bowen recently joked that she’s eager for future projects post-“Modern Family” because of her divorce. But we think the alumna of “Happy Gilmore,” “Ed,” “Lost,” “Horrible Bosses” and much more won’t have any trouble finding her next big thing.
Character: Phil Dunphy
Man-child real estate agent and aspiring magician Phil Dunphy has made us smack our heads in exasperation many times over the “Modern Family” seasons. But he’s still so darn lovable.
Played By: Ty Burrell
When Ty Burrell isn’t shooting in Los Angeles, he lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Holly, and their two adopted daughters. Burrell also owns two bar-restaurants in Salt Lake City and one in Park City, Utah, and considers himself a foodie.
Character: Mitchell Pritchett
Mitchell Pritchett is the somewhat insecure lawyer son of Jay Pritchett. He lives with his husband, Cam, and their adopted daughter, Lily. He and his sister, Claire, have a loving if competitive relationship, dating back to when they used to do pairs figure skating together as kids.
Played By: Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Jesse Tyler Ferguson has kept himself busy even while a cast member of “Modern Family.” He’s a theater veteran who has guest-judged “So You Think You Can Dance” and runs a cooking blog with a chef friend. Plus, he’s the new host of the revived reality show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” He and his husband, Justin Mikita, live in a gorgeous 1920s Spanish colonial home in Los Angeles, are the proud parents of two dogs, and have said they’d like children someday.
Character: Manny Delgado
Momma’s boy Manny is learning to grow up now that he’s in college and working on his aspirations to be a film director. Ever the lady’s man, he seems to be crushing on a new girl several times a season.
Played By: Rico Rodriguez
Rico Rodriguez followed his sister Raini (he also has two older brothers) into acting and quickly ended up with an 11-year gig that took him from child to adult actor. He’s close to TV mom Sofia Vergara. He’s also a sports fan, a Disney fan and a book author.
Character: Haley Dunphy
Pretty, popular Haley often comes across as a bit ditzy. But in recent seasons, she’s started working in the fashion industry, reunited with her high school boyfriend, Dylan, and had twins with him.
Played By: Sarah Hyland
Sarah Hyland was born with a kidney condition that she’s needed lifelong treatment for. She’s undergone two kidney transplants, the most recent in 2017, and is known for supporting body-positive images on her social media accounts. Hyland recently got engaged to Wells Adams of “The Bachelorette.”
Character: Luke Dunphy
Luke Dunphy has always been the easygoing kid in the Pritchett family. But don’t mistake him for dumb. He recently showed his parents his stellar pitch for a new app that was backed by a venture capitalist.
Played By: Nolan Gould
Nolan Gould is a smart cookie, having graduated from high school early and earned membership in Mensa. He’s also grown up before audiences’ eyes. Gould rock climbs and loves to scuba dive but just generally wishes he could spend more time being outdoors, as he told C’Est Prune magazine.
“Being outside is my favorite thing and the one downside to acting is that you spend most of your time in an enclosed sound stage,” he said.
Character: Lily Tucker-Pritchett
Lily was adopted as a baby by Mitch and Cam, who brought her back from Vietnam. She has since grown from an infant into a sarcastic teenager who loves her two dads but finds them embarrassing, too.
Played By: Aubrey Anderson-Emmons
The character of Lily was first played by twins Ella Hiller and Jaden Hiller, but the role was recast with now-12-year-old Aubrey Anderson-Emmons in 2011. She has a YouTube channel with her mom called FoodMania Review.
Character: Joe Pritchett
Fulgencio “Joe” Pritchett was born during Season 4 of “Modern Family.” He’s grown into a goofy, precocious kid who’s learning how to be a salesman like his dad, Jay.
Played By: Jeremy Maguire
Pierce Wallace played a younger version of Joe from 2013 to 2015. The role was recast with Jeremy Maguire as Joe for the 7th season. Maguire seems like a typical 9-year-old based on his parent-run Instagram account, except for the part where he’s on a hit TV show.
Character: Dylan Marshall
Perhaps the most dimwitted of characters on “Modern Family,” sweet Dylan always seems to miss the point of the joke. All the same, since the start of the show, he’s become a nurse, won Haley back and become a loving father to twins.
Played By: Reid Ewing
Reid Ewing is an accomplished musician as well as an actor. He’s also written and spoken openly about having body dysmorphia, and about the cosmetic surgeries he’s had done while suffering from the condition.
Character: DeDe Pritchett
Jay Pritchett’s ex-wife and Mitchell and Claire Pritchett’s mother, DeDe, is pretty far out there in terms of her personality and her beliefs. Her appearances in town often led to consternation among the Pritchetts. She was passive-aggressive to most of her family, and outright aggressive toward Jay’s second wife, Gloria. DeDe remarries later in the show’s run and seems to be happy before she passes away in her sleep.
Played By: Shelley Long
Children and adults of the ’80s and ’90s will remember Shelley Long for movies like “The Money Pit” and “Troop Beverly Hills” and the TV show “Cheers.” She is twice divorced and has a grown daughter.
Character: Frank Dunphy
Frank Dunphy is the always-smiling, funny, inventor dad of Phil Dunphy who inspired his son’s positive outlook on life. He made appearances throughout the series up until the last season, in which Phil and Frank have a great last day together before Frank ends up passing away suddenly.
Played By: Fred Willard
Comedian and actor Fred Willard has had a long and eclectic career. He is perhaps best known for his appearances in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries and Rob Reiner’s parody film “This Is Spinal Tap!” Willard was also in the “Anchorman” movies and had a recurring role on “Everbody Loves Raymond,” alongside a slew of other film and TV credits. He is pictured here with his daughter Hope. His wife of 50 years, Mary, passed away in 2018.
Mormon-bred Andy appeared on “Modern Family” as Joe’s nanny and a love interest to Haley. The couple never quite got their timing right, and Haley ends up picking Dylan over Andy.
Played By: Adam Devine
Adam Devine first had a breakout role in “Pitch Perfect,” and he played Adam on “Workaholics” along with many other TV and film roles. He is engaged to actress Chloe Bridges.
Character: Pameron Tucker
Pameron “Pam” Tucker had recurring appearances on “Modern Family” as Cam’s sister. After being in and out of prison and having a baby with her no-good boyfriend, Pam comes to live upstairs from her brother and Mitchell, though she eventually moves home with her son.
Played By: Dana Powell
Besides her recurring role in “Modern Family,” Dana Powell has had other TV guest roles, including on “The Good Place” and “Suburgatory.” You might also recognize her as a flight attendant in “Bridesmaids.” Powell is married and has a son.
One part of Pepper and Ronaldo, the regularly appearing gay friends of Mitch and Cam, Ronaldo is an event planner and friendly shoulder for Mitch and Cam to cry on. He is originally from Guatemala.
Played By: Christian Barillas
Christian Barillas has also appeared on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Grace & Frankie,” “The Kominsky Method,” “The Bridge” and “Bunheads.” He’s pictured here with his husband and fellow actor Brett Ryback.
Character: Pepper Saltzman
Flamboyant event planner Pepper Saltzman is among Mitch and Cam’s closest friends. He even helped plan their wedding. An episode that has Pepper in it is usually memorable and often ends up with him singing.
Played By: Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane is a well-known, award-winning theater and screen actor best known for “The Birdcage,” “The Lion King” and “The Producers.” He is pictured here with his husband, Devlin Elliott.
Character: Stella Pritchett
Stella, the French bulldog, joined the Pritchett family when Gloria’s dog trainer friend tried to pitch a dog business idea to Jay. The idea failed and the trainer decided to go back to business school, with the Pritchett family taking Stella in. Jay was disgruntled about it at first, but Stella quickly became his dog. In fact, Gloria has been known to resent the affection, attention and treats showered on Stella and not her.
When it was rumored that Stella might be the “beloved character” killed off in the 10th season of the show, the cast had to reassure fans that Stella was not going to die.
Played By: Beatrice
The first dog actor to play Stella was a French bulldog named Brigitte. But since Season 4, she’s been played by fellow Frenchie Beatrice. Beatrice has appeared on a number of TV shows, including “The Kominsky Method” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” as well as in commercials. In real life, she’s good buddies with her “Uncle Ed” O’Neill.