Once a Hesistant Dad, Ed O’Neill Now Cherishes His Daughters Sophia and Claire

"Becoming a father was not my idea. And I never really wanted children," he said.

By Sagar ChandPublished on: June 6, 2024 Updated on: June 16, 2024
Table of Content Show

Ed O’Neill, known for his iconic roles as the somewhat grumpy yet beloved patriarch Al Bundy on Married… with Children and Jay Pritchett on Modern Family, has not only entertained audiences with his on-screen parenting antics but also undergone a deep and transformative journey into real-life fatherhood. While his characters often found themselves in hilariously absurd family dilemmas, O’Neill’s personal experience with fatherhood also brought its own unexpected twists.

In a 2009 interview with the New York Post, O’Neill, 78, who is now a proud father of two daughters, shared that he once hesitated to become a father. He confessed, “It wasn’t my idea to have children. It was my wife’s. Then when we had the first one, I was like ‘Oh, my God, I’m in love.’ They are the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Edward shares his daughters with his long-time wife, Catherine Rusoff. The couple, married since 1986, experienced a brief separation in 1989 but reconciled in 1993. Catherine is also an actress who has appeared in several TV shows, notably on her husband’s popular series, Married with Children. She guest-starred in two memorable episodes: first as Mona Squab in Just Married…With Children during the show’s second season, and later as Betsy in If Al Had a Hammer in the sixth season.

Ed O'Neill with his daughters Sophia and Claire and wife Catherine.
Sophia, Claire, Edward, and Catherine. 

In a separate conversation with RoyalDish, the veteran actor further elaborated on his shift from a man who never wanted children to one who deeply values the joys of parenthood. “Becoming a father was not my idea. And I never really wanted children and always made a big point of saying that,” he said.

“There’s enough children in the world. I come from a large family and I’ve already had children, brothers and sisters. And then when I agreed to it…I thought, ‘I’m performing a wonderful favor for my wife’… I was there and cut the cord and started thinking, ‘Hmmm, this is kind of an amazing thing.’ And it wasn’t long before I started thinking, ‘Oh, my God, this is too much.’ And it hit home how lucky I was that someone else decided I could have this. I just said, ‘I’m glad I didn’t miss this.'”

Now, with both of his girls, Sophia and Claire O’Neill, grown up and forging their own paths, many fans are curious about their journeys. Where has life taken them? What are they up to these days?

Sophia O’Neill, 24

She is a budding actress with notable Hollywood connections. Prominently, she portrayed one of the girls in Season 4, episode 8 of Modern Family during the Bat Mitzvah scene.

Furthermore, her roles in films such as On the Block II and An American Funeral have significantly contributed to the development of her rising career.

Sophia O'Neill.
Sophia. (Image: Facebook)

Off-camera, Sofia’s life is filled with moments that only a Hollywood legacy could provide. For example, during a Father’s Day dinner at Rao’s, her father’s favorite Italian restaurant, she had a surprise encounter with Leonardo DiCaprio, her long-time crush. O’Neill shared this story in a sit-down with Ellen DeGeneres, describing how what started as a typical family outing turned into a memorable moment when DiCaprio walked in.

In addition to her acting, she has also explored diverse interests, including circus classes. She is an alumna of Campbell Hall School and currently resides in Santa Monica.

Claire O’Neill, 18

Unlike her sister Sofia, Claire has chosen a path that keeps her largely out of the limelight, making her appearances alongside her family all the more notable. Her rare public outings, such as attending the official launch of Hulu on Disney+ in Los Angeles, on April 5, 2024, and a family day at the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood in April 2016, offer brief glimpses into her life.

Ed-O'Neill and Claire on Disney+ in Los Angeles on April 5, 2024.
The-father-and-daughter duo.

In addition to her selective public appearances, Claire often expresses her unique personal style through her choice of hairstyle. She wears Jerry Curls, a look that not only showcases her fashion sense but also celebrates her mother’s biracial heritage.

About Author: Sagar Chand

Sagar Chand is a seasoned content writer since 2016, who has crafted a diverse array of articles spanning entertainment, sports, and beyond. With a rich background in creating engaging content, Sagar excels in bringing unique perspectives to a wide audience. His expertise not only enriches his writings but also keeps his readers coming back for more insightful and dynamic narratives.