Why Julie Bowen Almost Passed On Modern Family

modern family julie bowen claire dunphy

Modern Family has become an integral part of the ABC comedy lineup over its eight seasons so far. The critical darling has won approximately a bazillion awards and has brought lots of laughs for the better part of a decade. The show has lost some of its critical acclaim over the past couple of years, but it's still going strong, and a lot of its success is due to the cast. As it turns out, however, Julie Bowen almost passed on the role of Claire. She recently shared this story about why she nearly didn't take the job:

Well, I mean I wanted to desperately. But I was so pregnant with the twins during the audition process. They would just bring me in and stare at my stomach. I think legally maybe they couldn't say like 'What's that about...' So I'd go home and cry and think I'm never going to get this -- the greatest job in the world -- so I took myself out of first place for it because there was another job that was auditioning where the lady was pregnant.

Julie Bowen's reveal that she came very close to not landing a role on Modern Family may come as something of a surprise to fans of the show. It's just hard to imagine the show with another actress playing Claire. Bowen brings a unique combination of love for her family and total exasperation at their ridiculousness to her character. The Dunphy branch of the big extended family really gels thanks to each of the actors; it's possible that the dynamic never would have worked at all if a different actress had nabbed the part.

Of course, Julie Bowen did end up getting over her pregnancy insecurities and landing the role of a lifetime on the hit ABC comedy. She went on during her chat on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to explain what happened after she changed her mind, saying this:

Then I had to do some scrambling to get the job back. When I think of that, that can keep me up in the middle of the night.

The producers must have really loved Julie Bowen for the role of Claire if they put her back in the running after she pulled herself out of the casting race, and it's easy to see why. Bowen was a natural choice to play a major sitcom character. She had already made a name for herself with ongoing roles on shows like Ed and Boston Legal, and she had memorable stints on programs like Lost and Weeds. She evidently proved herself so well that even auditioning while hugely pregnant with twins didn't spoil her chances.

Modern Family definitely benefited from casting Julie Bowen. She has scored six Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, winning in 2011 and 2012. There's no saying how much longer Modern Family can last now that the kids are growing up; hopefully she'll continue to bring the laughs for however many years are left. The rest of Season 8 has been and will continue to be filled with some great guest stars, including Peyton Manning as a sports tutor, Kelsey Grammer as a former circus ringmaster, and Nathan Fillion as a weatherman on for multiple episodes. Tune in to ABC on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET to see what's next for Claire and the others on Modern Family, and take a look at our breakdown of shows that might be cancelled to see which series you might want to start worrying about.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).