Ed O’Neill Told Jesse Tyler Ferguson About A Feud He “Regrettably” Started With A Close Cast Member


  • O’Neill gained fame playing Al Bundy and Jay Pritchett, but had feuds with co-stars behind the scenes.
  • Married with Children was popular but offensive. O’Neill’s refusal created tension with Amanda Bearse.
  • His fallout with Bearse escalated, leading to a snub from her wedding. O’Neill later regretted his reaction.

Ed O’Neill has a knack for appearing in popular sitcoms. After all, he first rose to fame playing Al Bundy in the beloved 80s sitcom Married… with Children and, years later, gained more popularity by portraying Jay Pritchett on the award-winning ABC sitcom Modern Family.

While O’Neill played a wholesome father on screen, his relationship with his cast members hasn’t always been the best behind the scenes. While most of the Modern Family cast has said great things about working with O’Neill, the same can’t be said about his Married… with Children co-stars. In a recent interview with his on-screen son, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, O’Neill revealed the reason why he publicly feuded with one of his co-stars for over six decades.


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Married with Children's cast on the couch
Via: Fox

Before playing Jay Pritchett on Modern Family, Ed O’Neill got his big break playing family man Al Bundy in Married… with Children. Created by Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt, this beloved sitcom follows the lives of the Bundy family, consisting of Al, a hard-luck women’s shoe salesman, his wife Peggy (Katey Sagal), his daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate), and his son Bud (David Faustino). The show also features their neighbors, Steve (David Garrison) and Marcy Rhoades (Amanda Bearse).


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O’Neill had a lot of leverage over the studio.

With 11 seasons and a total of 259 episodes, Married… with Children is one of the longest-running sitcoms of all time. However, it’s also considered one of the most offensive TV shows ever. Even Bearse herself had admitted that Married… with Children was extremely misogynistic at times. Despite this, there have been rumors that a Married… with Children reboot could be in the works.

Ed O’Neill Publicly Feuded With One Of His Married… with Children Co-Stars Over A Magazine Cover

While they had great chemistry on screen, the cast of Married… with Children didn’t always get along, especially Ed O’Neill and Amanda Bearse. In an appearance in Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s podcast, Dinner on Me, O’Neill finally explained what happened between him and Bearse.

Ed O'Neill looking surprised
via Instar

“I did a thing on the show that involved Amanda Bearse that I regretted,” O’Neil explained. “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. Her and David Garrison were the neighbors, and they were told they could not be on the cover. Because they had a rule: only so many could be on the cover. Now they violated that for like two shows, I think it was MASH and Dallas. That was an exception, they weren’t doing it for us.”


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O’Neill was so excited for the opportunity that he failed to see how it would affect his co-stars not to be a part of it.

“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,” he recounted. “And Amanda and David came out in unison from their dressing room. 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.’”

But O’Neill refused to do it. “If I was diplomatic, I should have said, ‘Fine, I’ll talk to him about it.’ But instead, I said, ‘No, I’m not doing that. I’m sorry you guys aren’t on the cover. I really am! I wish you were, but we can’t do anything about it. What do you want me to do? Lie to you and tell you I’m going to bat for you. I’m not.’”

Looking back, O’Neill regrets not standing up for his co-stars. He admits that would have been the right thing to do. His relationship with Brease wouldn’t have been affected if he’d at least vouched for her and Garrison to be on the cover.

Ed O’Neill Was Snubbed An Invitation To Amanda Bearse’s Wedding

Ed O'Neill looking surprised
via Instar

After the TV Guide cover incident, Ed O’Neil’s relationship with Amanda Bearse was never the same. While the two managed to remain professional while filming Married… with Children, they were never friendly again. The grudge between them was so big that Bearse didn’t invite O’Neill to her wedding with Carrie Schenken in 2010.

“Following that, Amanda was getting married,” O’Neill told Fox News. “And didn’t invite me to the wedding. And my feelings were hurt. So when I asked her about it, and she said, ‘Well, it was a tough call.’ And I kind of thought, ‘Are you confusing me with Al Bundy?’ You know, I didn’t say that, but that’s what I felt like,” O’Neill further explained. “‘Why? What do you mean? What do you think, I’m a Neanderthal or something?’ So I was angry.”

Looking back, O’Neill admits that he didn’t have the best reaction to being the only Married… with Children cast member who snubbed an invitation to Bearse’s wedding.

“If I had it to do over again, I would have said, ‘Amanda, all the best. It’s your call. It’s your wedding. You have who you want there,'” he admitted. “But instead, I lashed out. I said something that I thought – it was a joke, but it was a mean joke, you know? I wish I had that to do over. That’s my biggest regret about that. I didn’t handle that well. I know that.”

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