"Modern Family" Actor Had No Idea Who This Celebrity Fan Was
Modern Family is a 5-time Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy winner that stole screens and stole hearts when it premiered in 2009. Praised for its heartfelt humor and distinct writing, the show was a stand out of ABC's line up. Its incredible cast was the high point of the series, and the show was unofficially led by TV veteran, Ed O'Neill who comes from the much-loved Married... with Children. Since then, his star has soared, leading him to a viral moment he simply never saw coming.
These two shows have built Ed's legacy, and he's created generations of fans who adore him. Many want to take a picture with him whenever they see the legend, and one day, as Ed sat in an airport lounge, he accepted a photo with a fan which sparked a story around the world.
The Infamous Photo With The Fan
O'Neill was more than willing to accept the photo with the fan, and her friend took the photo. The woman in question was elated, and why wouldn't she be? She was in the face of comedic royalty, and she was a long time fan. The woman said that she would upload it to her social media, and that's exactly what she did.
The Public Reaction
In almost no time at all, Ed's phone quickly erupted with excited messages from friends and families who freaked out over the woman he shared a photo with. Ed had no idea why because he had no idea who she was--she was quite a big deal.
What you need to know first is how far back O'Neill's career stretches and why anyone would want a picture with him in the first place. Ed started out in theatre and then found himself in his first movie role as a police detective in Cruising alongside the great Al Pacino. This eventually led to his most iconic role in Married... with Children which kicked off his legacy as a household name as Al Bundy in 1987. This was part of his come-up story.
Over to 2009 and 2016 Picture
Leap to 2009, he had a breakthrough role in the modern era as Jay Pritchett in Modern Family where younger generations got to know him. This explains the interaction with the woman he took the viral photo with--but, she has her own long-standing fan base herself, and Ed had no clue.
Modern Family Bring Modern Fame
When Modern Family rolled around in 2009, Ed became a prominent award-challenging television feature in the defining lead role. The show ran for an incredible 11 season and touched around 250 episodes, which is an incredible feat on its own. So, for younger fans of his, that's where they were able to get well acquainted with the man. Between Modern Family and Married… With Children, Ed O’Neill was on television screens for 20 years, give or take. His legacy to that viral photo was long in the making.
Fans Take Photo Ops
So, it makes sense that fans would ask him for photos and autographs when they had the opportunity. That’s why when the kind woman approached him at the airport, he didn’t think twice about her request as it was something very commonplace for him at that point in his career. From what he could tell, she was just any ordinary woman.
A Private Life and No Photo Policy
Ed himself is already a private guy who's well versed in what fame brings, and his well passed the point of caring about celeb culture--this explains why he was woefully unable to identify the woman who asked to take a picture with him. It's already well-known that O'Neill does not like having pictures taken of him, so much so that there are YouTube compilations that show just how much he detests fan pictures. So why would that change?
A Once-off Occasion
The only reason he agreed to the one with the woman was that her timing at the quiet lounge as well as her disarming kindness loosened him up to the idea. Little did he know, this once-off occasion was about to cause some serious craze.
Ed was more of a kindred and reserved spirit who wasn't necessarily up to date with pop culture--that's us making quite the excuse for the screen legend. No matter how detached he had been from pop culture, this wasn't someone like Camila Cabello or someone like Bella Hadid where you could understand maybe why he wouldn't know who they are. But she was bigger than that.
The Famous Woman In Question
The famous woman in question certainly wasn't a common fan, and she certainly was more than a new kid on the block. She was a legend in her own right which justifies exactly why the world went crazy when the photo was uploaded.
Ed & Ellen
Ed's adorable obliviousness to being around important figures was an isolated affair, something similar had happened to him before, and that involved Ellen DeGeneres. Of course, he knew who Ellen was, but, Ed had no idea, when he signed on to Finding Dory, that most of the dialogue would be alongside the animation's titular character played by Ellen herself, which was a significant surprise to him. This was a pattern for the old man.
One of Ellen's Famous Friends
So, by the time he was on the press tour for the massive animation film (2016), Ed was now wiser to why the photo was a big deal, as the woman in question was a very close friend of DeGeneres herself! But several famous people are friends of Ellen, that doesn't necessarily narrow the list down.
The Story Behind The Photo
Ellen characteristically poked fun at the moment that made Ed O'Neill a social media sensation in an instant. O'Neill detailed the bizarre encounter by letting Ellen, her fans, and her viewers know that he was on the way to Hawaii. When it was time to board the plane, he plopped on a 'Modern Family' hat and made his way to the boarding gates. This led to the certified approach from the woman.
The Opportunity Rises
Of course, the woman knew who he was before this, but she did see it as an opportunity to stop Ed and tell him she loved him and loved the show, which ultimately led to the photo being taken. Her gracious approach probably softened Ed into taking the picture. She was, of course, America's biggest sweetheart at some point in time.
A Picture With A Pop Star?
O'Neill boarded the plane and wasn't instantly engaged with the massive attention that the image received. By the time he had landed in Hawaii, his entire social media presence had gone up a few 50,000 notches from before he took the photo. It was madness.
Mania From His Manager
His manager was the first person to hit his hotline where Ed got to see the response that the image received within a matter of hours. Ed still had no idea why this was such a big deal, but he was about to have his life rocked simply because of a picture with a pop star.
Ed O’Neill’s Daughter
For all we know, Ed wouldn't have bothered to wonder who this person was, and for all intents and purposes, she was just another fan in an airport lounge who like him and loved the show. Ed's daughter was most prominently frustrated at her dad's ignorance over the picture, mostly because she had grown up bumping the star's music in her house, and her dad knew that.
“It’s Britney, Pritch”
The woman in question was the one and only Britanny Spears! Ed O'Neill is part of an older generation and that's as much rope as you can give him when it comes to why and how he had no idea that he had just taken a viral picture with one of the world's biggest pop stars. Ed was mortified!
Ignorant To And Icon
Of course, to some extent, he knew who she was, he might not have known any of her lyrics, but certainly, the years of his daughter losing her mind at the television whenever MTV played one of her many iconic videos, he should've been able to tell who she was. He didn't, and he better explained the situation in his conversation with Ellen over the incident.
O’Neill’s Unenthused Face
Ed, in the image, simply doesn't look thrilled in the picture, and many people who never understood the fact that he just had no idea who this famous woman was, explains a lot now that we have brand new information on the incredible story.
The Grumpy Grill
Had he known, and had he known that she was one of his daughter's great idols growing up, he would've smiled more to match the enthusiasm that Brittany showed when the infamous photo was taken. Ironically, many people in the comment section asked Brittany who the man in the photo was, so we can see several gaps in knowledge that the picture exposed.
There's no need to dive into the incredible legacy that Britney has created herself, as her rise to pop prominence and popularity is something well documented through pop culture. From being the blueprint for a young superstar, Britney has recently been recognized as one of the most industrious young stars that paved the way for all your favorites such as Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus. So, how could Ed not know her?
The Superstar In The Spotlight
It's her innate gifts in the spotlight that have made her one of the biggest stars the world has ever seen, and therefore, Ed's inability to recognize her is still shocking to many fans, and many had choice words over what they saw as an atrocity.
The Mega Monolith
For all her gifts, Britney is certainly not a monolith, she's a mosaic full of talent that most people can never muster with their hardest effort. Outside of music, many people don't know that Britney has an extensive catalog of acting credits that prove she has a wide set range to her popular name.
The Range Of Britney
Obviously, her die-hard fans know what she's capable of, and the fact that she can hit her marks on set the same way she hits her notes and dance cues is no surprise to the millions who've been rooting for her since her teenage years. This range led to fans of Modern Family and the star to request something truly audacious.
When Famous People Take A Photo
Naturally, whenever two stars are seen together, fans draw up some of their own fantasy fiction and beg for them to collaborate on anything. Anytime two musicians seem to cross paths and take pictures together, immediately, the public response veers towards them working on something together to appease the masses who love them dearly. Was this a possibility for Ed and Britney?
Britney On Modern
Ed, who was still on Modern Family at the time the picture was taken, was begged to have a discussion with Modern Family writers to have Britney guest star on the show, or at least make some sort of cameo. Britney, you may not know, had a great recurring role on another hit series, which allowed many to believe she had the chops to appear on Modern Family. Which show was this?
How We Met Abby
Britney may have not been the mother, but she did make a surprising appearance in the show's Emmy-nominated fourth season as Abby, the receptionist for Stella who was the dermatologist that left Ted at the altar. Britney did a more than convincing job playing a woman obsessed with the main character Ted Mosby. So, many were optimistic about her chance on Modern Family.
Many critics marked it as one of the key features that showed Britney's return to the limelight after previous public meltdowns that blemished the blond superstar's esoteric career. Naturally, the world wanted to see her take a swing at the Pritchett and Dunphy universe--did this take shape in any way, shape, or form?
The Icon's Cameos
Britney making an appearance on Modern Family isn’t that weird of an idea. After all, she appeared on shows with similar formats to How I Met Your Mother she also showed her comedic range in Will & Grace as well as Glee, and also lent her vocal skills to the long-running animation, The Simpsons. She even has a movie role, starring in her own movie, Crossroads. She had to be a shoo-in for a guest role, right?
Enough Credits For A Cameo
Proving that she's a jack of all trades. With all those credits to her name, a cameo on the ABC Network didn’t seem too far-fetched for Britney Spears to appear on Modern Family. But, we guess that was just hopeful thinking as the show concluded its run. But, what happened in the wake of the image?
Ed and Britney as Best Friends?
Many would froth at the mouth to have a picture taken with the great Ed O'Neill, the man is an undeniable great of the television game, and there's simply no stopping him. We're just glad that Hollywood has reciprocated the returns that he's produced with several honors in his name. But did he and Britney ever become friends after that fateful moment brought by the photo?
In The End for Ed O’Neill
In an ideal world, Britney and Ed would've met and taken an even better photo with Ed showing a little more enthusiasm, but his oblivious straight face paired with the origin of the moment is rich enough all on its own, so we'll hold onto that until the next one.
His star power didn’t end there as he was cast as another leading role in a hugely successful sitcom as the patriarch and family leader Jay Pritchett in Modern Family. He just finished the role earlier this year and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Ed O’Neill. Will he be cast in another sitcom?