Sarah Hyland is probably the funniest actor on the long-running ABC hit Modern Family. She plays Haley Dunphy, the pretty one, who acts in a way as if she just fell off the turnip truck. She's also the party-girl on the show, and she's constantly teased by her lack of intellect by her younger sister, Alex. It's a treat when Sarah gets some screentime because she always says something idiotic and loopy. It makes for great comedy, and even the Screen Actor's Guild knows that, as she was awarded Oustanding Performance by An Ensemble In A Comedy for four years in a row.
Hyland, 27, is constantly named the"good girl" by the press, and she has no interest in partying or staying out late or getting in trouble with the law. She's a self-proclaimed homebody who would rather lounge around her house. But there's a lot you may not know about Hyland. Like did you know that she has her own doppelgänger? Or the fact that, off-screen, she has Ariel Winter's back? Or that she once said her character Haley was bisexual?
But there's also a gravitas to her life. At age 21, Haley her doctors told her she'll never live a normal life, as she had kidney dysplasia. She had to get a kidney transplant or else she would die. Because of her disease, she has lost a lot of weight and keeps being accused of having anorexia. So for all the fun and playfulness you see of her onscreen, there is drama and a bit of sadness to her life offscreen. That being said, we've gathered 20 things that fans like you will be surprised to know about good girl Sarah Hyland.
20 Her Battle Meant She Would Never Lead A Normal Life
Sarah Hyland has not been shy about telling her fans about her life-threatening condition called kidney dysplasia.
Kidney Dysplasia, sometimes called multicystic dysplastic kidney, "is a condition that happens in the womb when one or both of a baby’s kidneys don’t develop properly, and fluid-filled sacs (cysts) grow in place of normal tissue."
Hyland survived, but her doctors said she would never live a normal life. In 2012, Hyland's condition worsened to the point where she needed a new kidney. Before the transplant, Sarah was often exhausted and in a lot of pain. That's why her character, Haley, is always sitting down or leaning on the counter in her scenes. She said that any time she had to climb the stairs was her workout for the day.
It was her father who donated one of his to save her life. In an interview with E!, Hyland said, "You know that family is going to be there for you no matter what. My dad gave me a freakin' kidney!. . But it's also the families that you create outside of our family. And you really find out what kind of people you're friends with. It was just amazing, and it really opened my eyes to see who's there for me and who's not."
19 She Attended The Prestigious Professional Children's School
Sarah Hyland has always wanted to be an actress. Both her parents were actors and they supported her, even though they added that the industry was hard to get into. Melissa Canaday, her mother, is also an actress and has had bit parts in a few small films. Meanwhile, her father, Edward James Hyland is also an actor and his credits include starring in The Switch and The Happening. Even her younger brother Ian is an actor! He starred in the movie Spanglish when he was 9 but his interests lie in the theater and he has even landed in some New York City plays.
Any teenager knows that the path to success is to start young and, above all, attend the Professional Children's School in Manhattan. The school enrolls 200 students starting from grade 6. Hyland also started her education in grade 6.
The school is THE school for budding child singers or actors, as well as those who want to continue their education but have already landed roles on the stage and screen. Founded in 1914, the school, as described on its site, provides an academic education to youth working on the New York stage, on the road or in Vaudeville.
Hyland remained at the famous school until graduation. At 18, she moved to LA and, within just two short weeks, she landed the role of a lifetime, playing a teen named Haley Dunphy for the ensemble mega-hit Modern Family! Talk about luck! Well, maybe half luck, as Hyland has some serious acting chops and, with her pretty face, which oozes youth and innocence, could take her a long way in the industry.
18 Her Ex-Boyfriend had some issues
Sarah Hyland's relationship with Matt Prokop--she met him through some Disney projects, such as High School Musical 3--lasted six years. That's a long time when you're young and are still curious about dating other people. But the real reason she broke up with Prokop is more serious. She used to post adorable pictures of herself and Matt on Instagram, but no one would've thought that Hyland was in a toxic relationship.
In 2014, her boyfriend attacked her. According to Glamour UK, Hyland said she and Matt had an argument over her outfit--really?--and this led to him getting physical. She was so terrified and scared that she had no choice but to file a restraining order against him. She was granted three years, and it was the understanding that Prokop must now stay 100 yards from her, her house, her workplace and her dog at all times. He was also banned from owning a gun. Her dog was included because Hyland allegedly said that Prokop threatened her at one point that she would never see her dog again.
17 She Has No Interest In Being Part Of The Young Hollywood Elite
Hyland is a good girl. She always has been. You never see her running away from paparazzi or ending up in embarrassing or inflammatory stories on TMZ or in People, US Weekly, and all the rest of the gossip mags. The truth is, Hyland keeps her personal life personal and wants to be known for her craft rather than being photographed in Hollywood clubs doing shots. In fact, she's made it a goal to never fall into the party-girl life. She told Vanity Fair:
“I’m not dying to be in that [‘Young Hollywood’] group, but if people put me in it, I’m really flattered. I’m more of a homebody type. I don’t want to look like I want to be in the public eye. I didn’t become an actress to be famous.”
She doesn't want to end up like Bieber or Lohan, who are train wrecks. “It makes me really upset when I see stuff like that [partying, getting into trouble with the law] because these people are talented. It’s not like they’re just kids who have a lot of money and are fucking up. So when I see people who are so talented get themselves into D.U.I.s or rehab or anything like that, it just makes me sad because you can tell that they’re really in pain; there’s something wrong. It’s a sad situation because they have all this talent and success, but something’s not there, something’s missing—so they replace it.”
16 She Has Her Own Doppelgänger
Sarah has her own doppelgänger! Yep, that's right. And guess who it is? Well, if you haven't been living in the woods without access to TV or Internet, you would know that it's Black Swan actress Mila Kunis. They look almost exactly like each other, even if she is eight years Hyland's senior.
Kunis has a Ukrainian ancestry while Hyland is a mix of Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, Dutch and German. The two shouldn't have ended up looking alike, but sometimes that just happens. We mean, the two brunettes are almost uncanny.
According to In Style, Kunis is always being called Mila by fans and by the press. It also goes the other way, as Kunis has also been mistaken for Hyland. While Hyland said,
“I think it’s the biggest compliment ever, she’s so beautiful,” Kunis claims she doesn't mind being called Sarah and joked that when people think she's in her twenties, as Sarah is, it makes her feel young.
The two actually met each other in 2010 at a Nylon magazine party. "She came up to me and said she gets called me all the time too," Hyland told InStyle. I asked if I could pretend to be her next time somebody asks me if I'm her, and she said OK."
15 She Offended The Time's Up Movement
This is so out of character. Sarah Hyland playing tipsy with a bellhop in a video. According to the Daily Mail, at the Golden Globes InStyle after party in 2018, the theme of this year's installment included elevator doors swinging open and closed. The party-goers each made quick videos at the event. Sarah chose to depict herself on an elevator ride with a male bellhop who looked as if he belonged at the senior center.
In the video, after the elevator doors opened, Sarah was seen [chugging] back a bottle of champagne while wearing a get-out-of-down sparkly black dress and leaning up against a man who is either a real bell hop or is dressed like one. But that's not all. She offers the bell hop some champagne from her flute, and then grabs his red cap before stumbling out of the elevator.
The reason the video was so controversial was because this took place on a night where celebrities walked on the red cap wearing all-black to show the world their allegiance for the Time's Up movement, which protests harassment across the industry, as well as in the every-day workplace.
Here are some tweets about Sarah's insensitivity that were documented in the Daily Mail article. One tweet said, "Really? In this climate? You show a young girl - drunk and falling into the arms of an older man as doors close to give her no escape? Tone deaf much?"
Another tweet said, "Why is she allowing a man to touch her inappropriately. . . is this not going against what the night stands for?" Sarah had to tweet that she was completely sober and her video was a failed attempt at a joke.
14 Her Modern Family Character Is not straight
Sarah Hyland's fans are devoted. They routinely ask her questions on Twitter and while other celebs never answer back, Hyland always does to be courteous or to settle some gossip rumor. But one fan took it all the way on Twitter and had the theory that Kyland's character, Haley Dunphy, likes both genders, according to People. Here's the tweet:
“Haley Dunphy is bisexual! #oneofus #oneofus” Another tweeter asked Sarah if she could confirm the rumor/theory. Haley did by saying on Twitter, “I don’t know what the writers would say. But I confirm.”
But she also added a clarification when she tweeted about Dunphy's orientation. She said it was just her "personal opinion."
Haley Dunphy’s love life has always been interesting and funny. Since the show started, Haley has had nine boyfriends. Haley on the show has never dated a girl and, in fact, we rarely see her on the show with one of her girlfriends. It's always just been Dunphy and some guy.
No official confirmation was ever made. The writers never said a word and co-creator Steve Levitan has not responded to the rumor. But that didn't stop Hyland's followers from "praising her for the scoop." They were very happy about the prospect and thanked her in many ways on Twitter, even if Hyland's character turned out to be straight.
13 She Plays A Teenager On Modern Family When She's Really In Her Twenties
Why are TV actors who are supposed to portray teens always look older than they should? Andrew Garfield playing Spider-Man? When he looked like he was in his thirties? Here's another one. Trevor Donovan, who played Teddy Montgomery in the 90210 reboot, was supposed to be 21 on the show when in reality he was actually in his thirties and looked it!
Most times these adult/teens are perfect for the role. And most times producers don't hire teens who play their age because it might interfere with school. But most of all, it's due to maturity. Hiring a 13-year-old to play a 13-year-old may not be the recipe for success. They may be in their rebellion stage or in puberty, so no one wants to direct a loose cannonball.
Sarah Hyland is the exception. She is three years older than her character, Haley Dunphy. It's not a huge difference, but if you remember that Hyland was 18-years-old while playing a 15-year-old and even looked younger than her TV show age, you'd know that it isn't a big deal in this case. In fact, Sarah is 27 now, but she still has a baby face and, coupled with her tiny 5'1" frame and her skinniness that suggests she's still developing, she could still pass as a teenager.
12 She Was Accused of having problems
Hyland stood up for herself last year, in 2017. Fans, critics, the press--just about anyone--were chiming in that she looked too thin, and wondered if she was battling anorexia, She took to social media to confirm that she doesn't have an eating disorder. She told AOL:
"No one's head should be bigger than their body, but considering I've basically been on bed rest for the past few months, I've lost a lot of muscle mass, My circumstances have put me in a place where I'm not in control of what my body looks like. So, I strive to be as healthy as possible, as everyone should." She continued with,
"I write this because I've been accused of promoting anorexia in, ironically enough, an anti-bullying post. And I want young girls to know that that's NOT my intention."
But Hyland is savvy. She knows that now she's in the public eye, she will always be criticized for her weight. She said,
"I will always be too fat. I will always be too skinny. I will never have enough curves to be called a woman. Love the you you set out to be. Love and positivity is what we need most. Especially at a time like this. The world may be falling apart, but it's up to us to pull it back together."
11 She Shared Photos Of Her In The Bath
Yes, clearly, this is not a photo of her in a bath. But we can't show that here.
Okay, so it seems that posting a series of black and white photos of her while taking a bath was intended to be an empowering message for women of all ages. Sarah Hyland's photos on Instagram actually shows the world that she's "human," and that we all are. Mistakes will be made, rumors will circulate, but in the end we learn how to turn around and do the right thing.
According to Elite Daily, she made it clear in her own words that she was using the selfies as an opportunity to share body positivity and being comfortable in your own skin. She wrote,
"Women are funny. Women are brave. Women are caring and strong. We are raw and tough. Our bodies defy reason and our minds are powerful. I’m confident. I’m insecure. I’m a woman. I’m human. Think whatever you’d like about these photographs. I like to think of them as moments of art and expression suspended in time."
Hyland's honesty is what her fans love about her. And once again, she's addressing issues about being a woman, how hard it is, how many mountains women must overcome to be considered equal to men.
10 She's Close To, And Supports, Her On-Screen Sister
It's like they're actually real sisters in real life who look after each other. That's how close and supportive Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter are. As many of us know, Ariel Winter plays Alex Dunphy, the younger sister to Hyland's character in the hit comedy Modern Family, and who may or may not be a genius and who also attends Cal Tech.
S0 when Ariel Winter decided to get help, Hyland was right by her side, saying she's"super proud" of her on-screen sister. According to the Chronicle, Hyland has talked with her and praised her for it. Hyland added: "She's a tiny girl. We're practically the same size. I'm about a half of an inch or an inch taller than her and I can't imagine carrying that weight.
"She's happy and most of all, she is healthy. She's glowing. As long as she's healthy and happy, that's all that matters to me."
The reason why Ariel had to get some help was because she was experiencing back pain. The actress said, "I had a lot of back problems. I really couldn't stand up straight for a long period of time. It started to hurt so bad that I couldn't take the pain."
She added: "My neck was hurting so bad and I actually had some problems with my spine. I had been discussing my chest with doctors for many years, but when I finally said, 'I'm thinking of doing this,' he said, 'Your back is going to thank you so much.' "
9 She Won Four Screen Actors Guild Awards Back To Back
Sarah Hyland is dopey and funny on Modern Family. The dumb brunette actually works for her and we never tire of her on-screen boyfriends who make her on-screen parents upset because she's always choosing the wrong guy. While she may now know why the cage bird sings, she's still lovable and loopy. Of course, the industry has recognized her talents and she's been nominated by many awards and has even won some herself. Here are some of them.
In 2010, she was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy by the Screen Actors Guild and a Choice TV: Female Breakout Star by the Teen Choice Awards.
In 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, she was nominated back to back for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy from the Screen Actors Guild. If that wasn't good enough, she won all of those consecutive nominations, which is a big deal. She also won Comedy Actress for Glamour Awards in 2014. In total, she has been nominated twelve times and has won 5 times. Other nominations came from the Critics Choice Television Awards, Gold Derby Awards, Kids’ Choice Awards, USA, Online Film & Television Association and Young Artist Awards.
8 more problems on social media
Sometimes our good intentions are not received in the right way. This was what happened to Sarah according to Teen Vogue. In 2017, Sarah allegedly body shamed another woman whom she did not know on Instagram. The clip was removed, so here's what happened. Hyland is heard driving while with someone. When she passed a heavy-weight person driving another car, Sarah yelled out, "How did you get in your car miss?”
As a result, many took to social media wondering whether she was mocking the woman's weight. But it seems this was not the intention and that Sarah was actually wondering how the woman got in the car because it lacked a door handle on the driver's side. Nevertheless, Sarah had to take to Instagram to clear things up, saying. "If you noticed, the car didn’t have a car handle. That’s why I was questioning how she got in the car or not. It didn’t have a handle.” Another clip followed where Sarah was seen rolling her eyes and saying, “Everyone takes things so personally these days.”
This has to be the truth because Sarah has had her fair share of experience that involved body shaming, among others. If she had intended to mock the woman, she would've been called a hypocrite, and that's something she doesn't need.
7 She Wants To be free
It just so happens that whatever Sarah posts on Instagram or Twitter, she needs to defend herself. This time her fans criticized her selfie with her boyfriend, Wells Adams, whose rise to fame was starring in the Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. In the selfie, according to People, her boyfriend is spooning her while his bloodhound Carl is covering Sarah's frontside. While it is intimate, you can only see their heads and the picture is pretty tame. No skin showing.
Yet one Instagram user went ballistic and told Sarah off: “You can go out with whoever you want. But there are limits. Do not you know that some private things, must stay private, and not be shared with the whole world. KEEP YOUR SEXUAL LIFE PRIVATE, we do not necessarily need to know all the details of your personal life.”
Sarah defended herself once again, saying: "The picture might have been inappropriate since we’re in bed.I’m so sorry…FOR POSTING AN ADORABLE PICTURE. Couldn’t let that moment pass."
And then, in a follow-up note, Hyland explained her selfie:
“ONE MORE THING! I just realized I’m being criticized for being naked… which you don’t even know if I am! You can barely see any skin but it’s ok for Instagram models to roll around in the sand ACTUALLY naked? My point is don’t be hypocrites."
6 She Has An Irrational Fear Of Online Dating
Like all of us, Sarah has some phobias, both rational and irrational. For the rational side, the 27-year-old actress who became an instant star when she debuted in Modern Family in 2009, is scared of online dating. But to clarify, it's not the dating part she's afraid of but rather the unknown lurkers online. In an interview with ET Online, she said if she was single, she would "never" consider dating online. She joked:
"Stranger Dangers are online! You just don't know. Catfish can happen anytime... It freaks me out."
Sarah would rather meet someone in person and talk one-on-one. She said, "I think there's something special in forming a relationship with just talking. I think communication is really beautiful. It's the key to any relationship." She prefers conversations IRL as opposed to getting to know someone via text.
About dating, Sarah suggested that you have to be in-tune with your self or otherwise you'd fail at dating. She said, "I have grown into myself as a woman. . . The only person that you are really obligated to please is yourself. And if you don't love yourself, you can't love anyone else."
She added, "I wish it didn't happen to anybody, but you have to have thick skin. You have to believe in yourself and the people you surround yourself with. That's the most grounding of all. It doesn't matter what other people say, because as long as you love yourself, [who cares about] other people's opinions?"
5 Yet She Met Her Boyfriend On Social Media
Sarah Hyland has been dating Wells Adams for a few years now. In an interview that US picked up, she said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this year: “Have you seen those memes of ‘Slide Into the DMs’? That. He slid into my DMs.”
It was Sarah who took the lead. She began following Adams, who is 33, on social media while Adams appeared on season 12 of The Bachelorette in 2016. In 2017, they exchanged several flirty tweets after Adams was working as the bartender on season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise. Sarah explained, “I thought he was funny, and he was a fan of [my] show. . . I saw him as the bartender and I was like, ‘That’s really cute!’” She was over the moon when Adams eventually DMed Hyland. And it was the perfect time.
“I was single, obviously, and was like, ‘This is really awesome. You’re being very forward and it’s s*xy and not aggressive, but very confident and sexy,’ and I liked that."
Wells confirmed that he met the Modern Family actress on social media. He said, “I’m amazed how smart the internet is. Because I just assume everyone on Twitter is an idiot, and then I’m like, ‘Wow!’" Well, you're an idiot to not know how smart the internet is.
4 She Defended Khloe Kardashian
Khloe Kardashian is putting all the drama aside for now as she focuses on her newborn daughter.
The 33-year-old reality star is talking about her boyfriend and the father of her child. His name is Tristan Thompson, he hails from Canada, and he's a basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The NBAer was at the center of a scandal in early 2018 when it was alleged that was busy with multiple women. As it so happened, after a few days, Khloe gave birth to her first child, a baby girl named True Thompson. Talk about bad timing!
But of all people, Sarah Hyland told ET that she wishes the best for Khloe and has her back. She even took to her Instagram Stories to tell her fans that she was "traumatized" over "this whole Khloe Kardashian scandal" and was taking it "very personally."
She added, "But I felt like in Mean Girls, like who else has been personally victimized by Tristan Thompson? Me." She then continued by saying she loved her female friends: "I love my females, and I think Khloe is amazing. I hope she is happy in whatever decision she makes."
It's good to know that there are friends you have that will go to bat for you. That's you, Sarah!
3 She's A Role Model For Her On-Screen Sister
As we told you before, Sarah Hyland provided comfort to Ariel Winter, her on-screen younger sister, when she was deciding whether or not she should have blossom tip reduction.
Once again, Sarah is there for Ariel, this time to protect her from harsh criticism on social media and how to live your life in the spotlight. Ariel is now known for being "body positive" and "unafraid of haters," as BRIT+CO put it. That's due in part to Hyland teaching Winter how to grow up in the spotlight. In an interview with People, Hyland spoke out about how fame can mess with your head and there will always be social media to criticize your looks. She said,
“I like to think we — me, Julie Bowen, and Sofia Vergara — helped her be confident with her body and herself. I mean, she was 11 years old when I met her. I was 18. I tried to be a good role model for her, and a true older sister for her because she’s such a sweet little girl.”
Sarah can relate, as she has had her fair share of bullies, who used to body-shame her for being too skinny. She revealed her trick for dealing with the haters, saying, “It’s about being confident in yourself, and not letting people’s hateful words get to you. Just surround yourself with positivity and not let the negativity get to you.”
2 She Lashed Out At Pharmacy Chain CVS
Sarah Hyland has never shown a side of frustration or of losing control. But, according to People, when she couldn't pick up her medications, she went AOL, claiming that the pharmacy chain CVS closed early after the pharmacists told her that her medications were ready to be picked up. She shared her distress on Twitter:
“Hey @cvspharmacy when you tell a kidney transplant recipient that her medication will be ready before you close and that you will notify her when it’s ready to be picked up. DO IT BEFORE YOU CLOSE. PEOPLE LIKE ME CANT AFFORD TO GO WITHOUT MEDICATION."
That's true. If Sarah didn't have her meds, something bad could happen to her health. But she was actually overreacting, as one Twitter user pointed out, “Or you could check to see what time they close like everyone else does.”
Hyland shared a photo of CVS' closing hours and wrote back, “Called at 9:02 p.m. They were closed. But yes you’re right. I’m an idiot.”
CVS even responded to Hyland on Twitter, saying, “Your health is so important to us, Sarah and we understand how upsetting this experience must have been. We’d like to follow up with you offline to learn more and do whatever we can to improve your experience in the future. Can you please DM us at your earliest convenience?”
1 She Started Acting When She Was Five
Sarah Hyland is best known for her role on the hit ABC comedy Modern Family. But did you know that this fresh face isn't so fresh? Yep, before landing on Modern, she's been acting since she was five. Here are a few of her past projects.
Hyland's first brush with fame was when she was five and starring in Private Parts, where she played one of Howard Stern's daughter. She quickly followed up that role by playing an eight-year-old version of Audrey Hepburn in the made-for-TV film, "The Audrey Hepburn Story," which also starred Jennifer Love Hewitt as the lead.
She was also on three soap operas. For All My Children, the now-canceled soap, she appeared in two episodes. Seven years later, she had a small role in another now-canceled soap, One Life To Live. In 2001, she appeared on the soap, Another World, as a child found in a park for one year. Now that's better! On another soap, this time one in primetime, she played the daughter of a musician and a producer on the quickly canceled NBC drama Lipstick Jungle, which starred Brooke Shields. She was on the show for a year.
In 1998, she was able to transfer from TV to film by starring in The Object of My Affection, a comedy that starred Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd. She finally landed the role of Haley on Modern Family in 2009, and she has been playing the character since then.