Ed O'Neill Reveals What Started Bitter Feud With "Married… with Children" Co-Star

The Modern Family actor and Amanda Bearse have been at odds for years.

Married… with Children co-stars Ed O'Neill and Amanda Bearse have made it clear over the years that they did not get along while they were playing neighbors on the long-running sitcom. Now, he's shed some new light on their even longer-running feud. In a recent interview, O'Neill revealed the event that he believes led to tensions with Bearse—and this new explanation differs from what he's said about their feud before. According to the 77-year-old actor, it all began with a magazine cover shoot.

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As reported by Page Six, O'Neill recently appeared on Dinner's on Me, a podcast hosted by his Modern Family co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson. On the episode, he talked about falling out with Bearse and how it was related to a Married… with Children photoshoot for TV Guide.

"I did a thing on the show that involved Amanda Bearse that I regretted," O'Neill said. "We didn't get along, but we did for a long time. We were great friends. And I could guess, I don't want to speak for her, but it started when we got the cover of TV Guide."

O'Neill explained that Bearse and David Garrison were not asked to be on the cover, because they were not part of the Bundy family. (They played Marcy and Steve Rhoades, the Bundy's neighbors.) He said that the magazine had a rule about how many people could be on its cover, though the publication had made exceptions in some cases. According to O'Neill, Bearse wanted him to stand up for her and Garrison and ask that they be included.

"We were lucky to get it. It was like the sixth year in or something, and we were thrilled to get the cover of TV Guide. It was big. And Amanda and David came out in unison from their dressing room," O'Neill claimed. "We were on the soundstage, and she said, 'We expect you to go to [co-creator] Ron Leavitt and tell him this doesn't work. We're all on the cover.'"

O'Neill didn't go to bat for them, which he regrets now. According to The Daily Beast, Ferguson asked if he would do things differently  if he could go back in time. "Yeah, I would have. And that's my regret," the star said.

Ed O'Neill and Amanda Bearse on "Married... with Children"
Fox

However, past comments O'Neill has made about their feud point to another reason. In 2013, he told the Archive of American Television that he and Bearse got along well for the first three years of the show. "I don't know whose fault it was. We just sort of grew a bit apart," he said at the time. He then blamed Bearse's sexuality for a shift in her personality.

"I have to say, that when she started out she was gay—she was gay a long time—she was more or less the female in the couple," O'Neill said in 2013. "She was very, very feminine and cute … As she became more masculine, she became a little more snarky." O'Neill said that Bearse did not invite him to her wedding, because she thought he would laugh at the sight of two women getting married.

The actor also recalled a time when they got into an argument on set. She called him a "bully," while he told her she wasn't "bright." He explained that he went on to tell her, "'I have a button I can push, that button says, 'Get rid of Amanda Bearse.' You don't have a button that says, 'Get rid of Ed O'Neill.' Your button doesn't work.' Now, this was a mean thing to say. I never was going to push that button, but it was true!"

As for Bearse, she addressed her relationship with O'Neill during a fan convention in 2018.

"I follow the Thumper rule: If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all," she said. Bearse claimed that O'Neill "was not happy towards the end of the series, so that affected everything" and said that there was "no love lost there."

"Yeah. Great actor, great actor," she added.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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