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Ed O’Neill Reveals ‘Married With Children’ Feud Was Caused By Magazine Cover

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures / tardis2006johnb / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures / tardis2006johnb / MovieStillsDB

Ed O’Neill joined his Modern Family co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson on an episode of the latter’s Dinner’s On Me podcast, revealing the reason behind a long-standing feud he has with another former co-star. During the discussion, he dove into how it was a magazine cover that caused a rift between him and Married… with Children co-star Amanda Bearse. O’Neill, now 77 years old, expressed regret for what went down several decades ago.

They got the TV Guide cover

The cast of "Married... with Children."
The main cast of Married… with Children. (Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures / tardis2006johnb / MovieStillsDB)

The show first aired in 1987 and was such a smash hit that it ran for a whopping 11 seasons until it finally ended in 1997. It focused on the working-class lives of Al and Peggy Bundy, played by Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal, respectively, and their two children, Kelly (Christina Applegate) and Bud (David Faustino). Other recurring characters on the show included neighbors Marcy D’Arcy, played by Amanda Bearse, and Steve Rhoades, played by David Garrison.

When the sitcom first began, the cast got along “for a long time,” and many of the members could be described as “great friends.” However, this changed when Married… with Children secured the cover of a 1989 TV Guide. O’Neill explained how, “I did a thing on the show that involved Amanda Bearse that I regretted.”

Bearse wanted his help

The cast of 'Married... with Children.'
The cast of Married… with Children, including Amanda Bearse and David Garrison. (Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures / lisakenobi / MovieStillsDB)

It was during their sixth season that they got the call to be on the cover of the TV Guide, and they were really excited about 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,” O’Neill explained. However, they secured the cover with one exception: not everyone could be included.

“[Bearse] 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,” O’Neill said. “Now, they violated that for like two shows, I think it was ‘M.A.S.H.‘ and ‘Dallas.’ That was an exception, weren’t doing it for us.” When they found out, Bearse turned to O’Neill and asked him to address the issue with the show’s co-create, Ron Leavitt. She wanted him to stand up for them.

He admitted that at the time, he should have said, “Fine, I’ll talk to him about it,” but he was afraid that if he did, the cover would be taken away from them. Instead, he told her, “No, I’m not doing that. I’m sorry you guys aren’t on the cover, I really am. I wish you were. We can’t do anything about it.” Ultimately, it was only O’Neill, Sagal, Applegate, and Faustino who made it on the cover. He confessed that if he were given a second chance, he would do things differently.

It’s been a long-standing feud

Headshots of Ed O'Neill and Amanda Bearse.
Ed O’Neill and Amanda Bearse. (Photo Credit: Michael Kovac / Getty Images for Acura and JC Olivera / WireImage / Getty Images)

While the feud between O’Neill and Bearse may have started in the 1990s because of the TV Guide cover, it has persisted throughout the years. When Bearse was getting married to Carrie Schenken in 2010, O’Neill never received an invitation to attend, which he later said was because he thought it was “silly” to have two brides in tuxedos.

Speaking about the distance felt in their friendship, he said, “I don’t know whose fault it was. We just sort of grew a bit apart.” He speculated that, “Maybe I reminded her of someone she didn’t like, an uncle or something.” Meanwhile, in 2018, when Bearse was asked about her friendship with O’Neill, she said, “Are we filming this? I follow the Thumper (from Bambi) rule. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Read more: Rare Behind-the-Scenes Photos From Our Favorite Classic Movies

It doesn’t seem as though things have been resolved between the pair.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!