Ed O’Neill has been a fixture in Hollywood since he made his acting debut in 1979. Over the past 50+ years, O’Neill has starred in some of the greatest television series of all time, including Modern Family and Married with Children. A decorated performer with m re Emmy Nominations than credits (joking), O’Neill was met at an airport by a mega-fan of Modern Family. After the two posed for a picture, O’Neill went on his own way never realizing who he had just met. Within hours of the meeting, their photo had gone viral on the internet.
Who did an oblivious Ed O’Neill take a picture with at an airport?!
Meet Mr. Ed O’Neill
Edward Leonard O’Neill was born in Youngstown, OH, on April 12, 1946. O’Neill pursued an acting career beginning in his 30s. As a notorious late-bloomer in the entertainment world, many people in Ed’s life doubted his ability to succeed in the industry. It would take until 1987 for Ed to make his big break on American television via the starring role in Married With Children.
Famously Disinterested in Fan Photographs
Ever since his first taste of fame, Ed has continually gotten better with age. From Finding Dory and The Bone Collector to Wreck-It Ralph and Modern Family, Ed grew used to constant attention any time he left his home. Despite his affinity with fame, Ed would develop a reputation for loathing fan encounters and photographs.
Talented Star From Television to Film
As a notoriously private individual, Ed’s ascent to A-List status in Hollywood has been particularly fascinating to watch. Never one to do more press than required, Ed has largely kept himself out of the public spotlight despite his various claims to fame. In a roundabout way, this might be one of Ed’s most endearing behaviors.
Enjoying Late Career Success
Even though Mr. O’Neill liked to keep his life private, the success of Modern Family would make that incredibly difficult. As one of the most decorated television shows of all time, Modern Family would lay claim to 80x Primetime Emmy Awards (22 Wins)as well as 12 Golden Globe Awards (1 Win). To say that Modern Family was a hit would be an understatement.
It is no wonder the series (and Ed!) gathered such famous fans as the mysterious celebrity Ed encountered at the airport.
The Mysterious Airport Encounter
The real story we want to focus on begins with Ed hanging around at an airport lounge. For those not in the know, lounges are private areas where special access customers can relax before their flight. Ed was minding his own business waiting for his flight when a beautiful woman approached him for a photograph.
Something Different About This Encounter
While Ed has been around town for quite a while, he didn’t recognize the woman that had approached him for a photograph. Assuming that she was just another fan, the two greeted each other before taking a photograph. With that being said, there was something distinctly different about this encounter. Ed couldn’t quite put a pin in it at the time.
Who do you think Ed had met?
A Splash of Southern Comfort
We know that Ed hates taking photographs with fans, but the southern drawl and polite nature of the fan had changed his mind. The woman had been entirely enthusiastic yet restrained and polite. She requested a moment of his time before admitting that she knew he was a busy man. Ed decided to take the photographs and the decision would follow him for months on end!
Ed’s Famously Confused Face
After the mysterious fan took the photograph, she would go on to upload it to the internet. Ed had no idea what she had done with the photograph but we do know that his confused face tells the entire story. Does Ed look like he wants to be in this photo? Does he appear to recognize the woman seated beside him?
Taking Flight and Going Viral
With these questions unanswered, Ed would bid farewell before boarding his flight. Once up in the air, Mr. O’Neill probably figured that his fan encounter and its corresponding story had ended. Oh, how wrong he was. While Ed was in the sky, the mysterious fan had chosen to upload the picture to her Instagram account. What’s more, the image was quickly going viral!
Fancy Running Into This Guy
Now that we see the unique caption to this fan picture, do you have any other guesses as to who she might be? One thing was for certain, everyone else sure did! Ed wasn’t confident that he knew who the woman was and he frankly didn’t seem to care. Once you are in Hollywood for so long, fan photos probably start to blend together.
Ed Made a Great Decision
Even if the fan encounter didn’t leave an impression on Ed, the Modern Family star had made the right choice when he agreed to be photographed. With celebrities and fans, you never really know how the situation may play out. Some celebs are great with fans while others simply want to retain the privacy that they prize. Let’s just say that this story would have ended differently had Ed opted to skip the photo!
Who Was The Mystery Fan
At this point in time, you might have an inkling as to who this enigmatic fan was. If you still aren’t sure who she is, we’ll give you a hint! This enigmatic Modern Family fan was a famous pop singer throughout the early 00s and she continues to perform to this day. She also has been affiliated with Justin Timberlake!
Are you ready to unveil the truth?
Appearing on Ellen
As with all quirky celebrity stories, Ed knew that he had to share his encounter during a talk show appearance. Ed had scheduled an interview with Ellen DeGeneres to promote their newest film together, Finding Dory. During the appearance, Ellen and Ed decided to get into the mysterious fan encounter in between bouts of laughter from the crowd.
Acknowledging His Oblivious Nature
The first thing that Ed and Ellen pointed to was Ed’s face. How confused does the Modern Family patriarch look in this photograph? If you know Ed O’Neill at all, you’ll understand that he is a phenomenal performer so these quirky faces must come naturally to him. The crowd laughed as they started to realize who might be in the photograph.
More Than 50k Likes
As Ed continued to tell the story, he hammered home just how viral the photograph had gone. While he had still been in the air, just minutes following the fan encounter, the uploaded image had accrued more than 50k likes. Going viral is the best thing in the world for getting your name in headlines and people were sure talking about Ed!
Amazed By His Daughter
Among the many people talking about Ed and the mysterious fan encounter was Ed’s own daughter! When she had seen the picture of her dad with the mysterious fan, she had almost shrieked with joy. Ed’s daughter had scolded him for now knowing who the fan had been.
Do you have any new guesses?
Meet Modern Family Mega Fan: Britney Spears
Yep! It’s Britney Spears! The famous musician and former child star had fallen in love with Modern Family. When Britney had seen Ed in the airport, she knew that she had to fulfill her own fandom dream by taking a picture. Britney told Ed that he was by far her favorite character on the show. Flattery when combined with good manners can get you far in life!
Britney’s Fans Were Equally Confused
What makes this story even funnier was how confused Britney’s fans were! While Ed had no idea who Britney Spears was, Britney’s fans had no idea who Ed was! Isn’t life great? Following the fan encounter, the rumor mill would spin regarding a potential Modern Family cameo by Britney Spears. Unfortunately, the series ended in 2020 without Britney ever making an appearance.