Last year, Modern Family and Married With Children star Ed O'Neill sat down with the Archive of American Television to give an unusually candid three-hour interview. While it is not AKSARBENT's intent to paint an actor who has an often dark, politically incorrect and irreverent sense of humor as a homophobe (though he has admitted using the word "fag" more than once) — because we don't think he is — we nevertheless can certainly see how he might have rubbed gay actress Amanda Bearse the wrong way, as O'Neill himself admitted. In the second of three videos, O'Neill talked about his relationship with Bearse from 10:20 to 15:10.
I used to upset Christina. Christina thought I had a mean sense of humor... And it probably was, but it was funny... Today Christina is like my actual daughter. We all get along great.
The only one I don't get along with, and I don't think I'm the only one, is Amanda [Bearse, who played neighbor Marci].
I'm not sure what happened there, I mean, because it was wonderful for three years. She was great. I don't know whose fault it was. We just sort of grew a bit apart in terms of, I think, maybe I reminded her of someone she didn't like, an uncle or something. I don't know.
But we didn't get along that well. I mean, we argued about certain things... I don't know what it was. And she changed a bit. I mean, I have to say that when she started out — she was gay, of course she was gay a long time — ... She was more or less the female in the couple. You know, she was very, very feminine. And cute. And then, as the show — you know, 11 years it went — as it progressed, a change took place where she, then, was the more masculine of the two. You know she had several relationships over that time. And that became kind of interesting because then as she became more masculine, she became a little more snarky, you know, she could grow a tooth, as we used to say.
I remember one instance where she was getting married to the more female — a lovely girl, by the way — and the invitations went out and I didn't get one and neither did David Faustino. And now, we weren't arguing. We weren't fighting. And I remember, you know, I said to David, 'Well, everyone got one but you and I' and I think Ron Leavitt [co-creator, with Michael G. Moye, of Married With Children] didn't get one. Everyone else did, and I thought, you know I thought it was funny and at the same time I thought 'This is stupid.' On her part. You know, why would she do this?
So I went to her and 'Why?' And she said, 'This was a very tough call, but I just feel that you would find it amusing that me and Becky would come in, in tuxedos, in a church and walk down the aisle and you and David would be snickering and finding it funny.' I said, 'Amanda, what is funny about two women in tuxedos walking down the church aisle?' I started laughing.
And she said, 'SEE!'
And I said, 'Well, you know why? Because it is fucking funny! And I'm not going to be the only one that doesn't think so!'
Well that was it. You know. But, it was funny. She had a little white tux, You it was just, to me, I thought it was funny.
So, in other words she may not have been wrong in excluding me.
...Another time we got in a big fight over something. Something stupid. In the makeup room. And she said something about 'You're a bully,' or something and I said 'Well, you're miserable,' and y'know it was a bad — in front of everybody, by the way.
And then I said, 'You know, you're not very bright, is your problem — and she WAS bright, but I said — but in a way she wasn't — because I said look — she said 'I'm not bright!' and I could just see her gearing up, like 'I'm smarter than you' — and I said 'No, because I'll tell you why, because 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. Mine works.'
Now, this was a mean thing to say. I never was going to push that button, but IT WAS TRUE. I could go to them and say 'Look I can't work with her. I go or she goes. Who goes?' She goes.
So that was kind of bad, you know... And don't think she is in touch with anybody from the show. I think she moved back to Georgia. She's from Georgia; from a moneyed family in Georgia. And I think she runs a — I don't know what she does back there. I think she's remarried again — sort of — she adopted.