Since having her big break in 2009 on Modern Family as Haley Dunphy, Sarah Hyland has officially become a hot young Hollywood starlet. The native New Yorker always had dreams about being an actress. But, being in the limelight on the other hand was never her goal. She admittedly hates the “F” and the “C” words, not the offensive ones (she likes those) but the words “famous” and “celebrity”. Although she might like to brush-off her celeb status, her incredible talent has landed her there and she kind of rocks it.
She’s gorgeous, she’s funny, she's down to earth and a breath of fresh air if you ask me. This good-girl actress has worked hard to make it where she is in her career. She’s overcome obstacles most of us would have never suspected just by seeing her on TV. Her witty sense of humour and pretty face are only what we know about her by scratching the surface. The inner Sarah Hyland has strange phobias, hidden talents, an unexpected group of girlfriends and dark moments from her past. Keep reading to find out 15 things you never knew about Sarah Hyland, including who her hottie doppelgänger is.
15 She’s 3 Years Older Than Hayley Dunphy
Directors are infamous for age-bending. They get full-on adults to play teenagers on television shows and movies. A lot of the times we’re left thinking “WTF” for example, when 33-year-old Stockard Channing played a teenager Rizzo in Grease — I mean come on. But then there are those actors who don’t have to stretch their age as much, like Sarah Hyland. She is three years older than her character, Haley Dunphy. No, it’s not a huge bend, but, when you consider she was once an 18-year-old playing a 15-year-old it puts it into perspective.
In reality, the 26-year-old, baby-faced, 5'1", tiny actress looks like she could still pass for a teenager. It’s a contrast from her on-screen sister, Ariel Winter who is 19 but could pass for a woman in her mid-twenties.
14 She’s A Scaredy Cat
We all have phobias, some more rationals than others. For instance, Hyland is afraid of online dating. It’s not the dating part she’s weary of, it’s the unknown lurkers online that scare her. “Stranger Dangers are online!” she said in an interview. “Catfish can happen anytime… it freaks me out.” She much prefers getting to know someone face-to-face. I would consider this to be a very rational fear.
On the other end of the spectrum, Hyland has an irrational fear of riding a bike. She’s in her mid-twenties and can’t do something most kids can. As a child she tried to ride a bike and ended up falling and scraping her knee. She’s written off the idea of trying ever since. “I start to hyperventilate as soon as I get on one,” she said. Ellen Degeneres made light of the situation on her talk show, presenting Hyland with a bicycle surrounded by ball pits. The gag worked and she took the two-wheeler for a spin.
13 Her Father Saved Her Life
Hyland was born with a life-threatening condition called kidney dysplasia which causes the organ to malfunction. Babies with a severe form of the condition often don’t survive birth. Hyland was lucky to survive but doctors said she would never live a normal life, it was clear early on that she would have a long road ahead of her. She recalls the condition affecting her on the set of Modern Family and other acting gigs but she would push through.
In 2012, Hyland’s condition worsened to the point she needed a new kidney. Luckily, she found a match from someone very close to her heart. Her father came to her rescue and donated one of his kidneys to save his daughter’s life. “You know that family is going to be there for you no matter what. My dad gave me a freakin’ kidney,” she said in an interview. Thanks to her dear old daddy, Hyland is now happy and healthy.
12 She’s A Dancer
Aside from acting, many moons ago Hyland also studied dance, jazz and ballet to be specific. It’s been over ten years since she last danced, but she’s never lost her love for the art. She showed off some of her ballerina moves in a photoshoot for Beauty Coach. It’s obvious to tell from the photos that Hyland definitely hasn’t lost her touch, you can’t fake that form! Apart from photoshoots, she’s been caught busting out her inner dancer at parties and events.
Hyland was recently cast in a remake of the iconic film, “Dirty Dancing”. Unfortunately, she was cast as Baby Houseman’s older sister Lisa, so we probably can’t anticipate any fancy dance number from her. But, we probably can look forward to a purposely awful performance of “Hula Hana”!
11 She's A Disney Star
Hyland had a number of Disney roles before and during her time on Modern Family. Her first appearance on the network was in the 1999 television film remake of “Annie”. A young Hyland played the youngest orphan in the home, Molly. Years later in 2011, Disney cast her again to star in the Disney Channel Original Film, “Geek Charming”. Aside from acting, Hyland has also lent her voice to animated Disney characters like Theresa Fowler in Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja and Tilfu in “The Lion Guard”.
Most surprisingly, Hyland audition, but didn’t get a part in the Disney movie “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”. The film came out in 2008 and Modern Family premiered in 2009. I guess the phrase is true, good things come to those who wait.
10 She’s Inked
You might not be able to tell by her glammed-up looks on the red carpet, but a closer look will reveal Hyland has a badass side to her. She’s got three discreet tattoos hidden around her body that she shows off only when she wants.
Behind one of her ears is a hummingbird which she says symbolizes a balance of playfulness and endurance. She got matching arrow tats with two of her best friends. Hyland’s tiny arrow is down her spine. She also has a dainty tattoo along her ribcage reading “follow my heartbeat”, which is lyrics from a song in the musical Hair. The tat is cute and girly, but also gives her an amazing reason to show off a little side-boob.
9 She Comes From A Family Of Actors
Sarah Hyland definitely didn’t just stumble into acting, it’s in her blood! Her mother, Melissa Canaday is an acting coach as well as an actress herself. She’s had roles in a few small films. Her father, Edward James Hyland is also an actor and has had parts in movies like The Switch and The Happening. The actress also has a younger brother named Ian who has been dipping into the biz and landing roles in New York City plays. He played in the movie “Spanglish” when he was 9.
Clearly, her family was all for her being an actress. By 6th grade Hyland was accepted into Professional Performing Arts School in New York City. She stayed there until graduation at 18 and soon moved to L.A. Within two weeks of the big move, she landed her breakthrough role as Haley Dunphy. From acting family to Modern Family!
8 She Got Her Start Doing Commercials And Voice Overs
In 2015, Hyland starred in a Domino’s Pizza commercial. You know, the one where she texts Domino’s a pizza emoji and they deliver a pie right to her door? Well, that was more her being a celebrity spokesperson rather than adding a gig to her resume, because at that point, everyone knew who she was. Little did everyone know, Hyland was in her natural habitat. Her career began with her acting in commercials and doing voiceovers. Pictured above is a teen Hyland when she acted and did the voiceover in an Olive Garden commercial.
Hyland has voiced a number of Disney characters. Other TV shows she lent her voice to include Lego DC Comics Super Heroes and Robot Chicken. She also had a minor role in the Dreamworks film Turbo FAST.
7 She Gets Mistaken For Mila Kunis
It’s undeniable, the resemblance is uncanny. These two sitcom stars look eerily similar despite being aged 8 years apart. Their ancestry is also from two different parts of the world. Kunis is of Ukrainian decent while Hyland is a mix of Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, Dutch, and German. Fans and even reporters mistake the two quite often Hyland admits “I think it’s the biggest compliment ever, she’s so beautiful,” she’s said. Apparently the confusion goes both ways, Kunis has also been mistaken for Hyland. She says she doesn't mind and jokes that when people think she is the 26-year-old it makes her feel young.
The two brunettes met face-to-face back in 2010 and joked about the ongoing scenario. They agreed to just go with it if reporters ever approached them mistaking their identity. Once on the red carpet, Hyland admits she was tempted to joke around with the press and say Natalie Portman was a bad kisser when she was bombarded with Black Swan questions. Perhaps we’ll see the two cast as sisters one day?
6 She’s A Part Of Taylor Swift’s Squad
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the iconic group of girls that is Taylor Swift’s squad. The squad is made up of Hollywood’s hottest young girls, models, musicians and actresses, Hyland being one of them. You don’t see her hanging with the crew majority of the time, but she’s definitely an official member. She seems to have joined the BFF group somewhere in 2013. She rang in 2014 with Swift and a few close friends at a low-key NYE get together. Since then, she’s attended after parties and birthday parties with squad members and even attended their baby showers.
Hyland credits Swift for being “the most down-to-earth person”. She said that despite the way the tabloids perceive her she’s a great person and a great friend.
5 She’s A Homebody
Yes, she’s a T-Swift squad member, but only a part-time one, if you will. Hyland much prefers to spend her time at home chilling out with her dogs and boyfriend, Dominic Sherwood. She made it a goal early on in her career to never fall into the party-girl stereotype of young Hollywood. She’s said it makes her upset to think about all of the young, talented people in the industry who fall hard into vices like drugs, alcohol and sex.
“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 said. Don’t get it twisted, she still has a good time. But, I don’t think we’ll be seeing any headlines about rehab or photos of mugshots hitting the media with this low-key gal.
4 She Can Sing
There’s nothing worse than when celebrities try and blur the lines of their forte when they can’t pull it off. For example, when Britney Spears tried to act, or when Lindsay Lohan tried to sing *face-palm*. Had they never heard the phrase, “stick to what you’re good at”? However, there are some celebs who can pull this off, and Hyland happens to be one of them.
Back in November, Boyce Avenue released a cover of The Chainsmokers song “Closer” ft. Halsey. Hyland was featured in the cover and sang Halsey’s part. Boy, was it a pleasant surprise to hear the pipes on her, she has an amazing voice. The cover has 35 million views and counting. This is one actress I wouldn’t mind trying to start a music career.
3 She Had An Abusive Ex-Boyfriend
Hyland and her former boyfriend of six years, Matt Prokop whom she’d met through Disney projects had a rocky relationship that turned frightening. In 2014, she filed for a restraining order against him after she claimed she feared for her life following a terrifying confrontation. Hyland claimed the two of them had gotten into an argument over her outfit which resulted in him choking her with a grip so tight she couldn’t breath. Following the restraining order, he bombarded her with vile messages and suicidal threats. Hyland later revealed the abuse had been going on for the last four years of their relationship.
Luckily, what could have ended in tragedy didn’t. Hyland was granted a three year restraining order forbidding her ex from coming anywhere near her. She’s in a happy new relationship with fellow actor, Dominic Sherwood. Hyland says she’s a stronger person following the experience, "People have to go through things in order to become the person they are today, and that's that,” she said.
2 She's Currently Battling Over Her Pooch
According to Hyland, during the split from her ex, Prokop didn’t only send threatening threats towards her, but also towards their dog, Barkley Bixby. Luckily, she made her case well enough to be granted the three year restraining order. The order states Prokop cannot be within 100 yards from her, her home, her workplace or the dog.
Prokop responded to a fan on Twitter stating “I’m still trying to get my dog back.” The order for him to stay away from Hyland and her dog ends in October of this year at which point we could see some court action over the beloved Maltipoo. But, something tells me when there’s a restraining order preventing you from being within 100 yards of “your” dog, you won’t later be granted custody of it.
1 She’s Very Charitable
There are a ton of reasons we love Sarah Hyland, and this is definitely one of them. She’s actively involved in a number of charity organizations including the George Lopez Foundation which helps kids with kidney disease and No Kid Hungry aimed at ending starvation for children in the U.S. She lends her star status to put the spotlight on different programs around the country for kids in need. “I hate the word celebrity… but using our voices can bring attention to these causes and help spread the word faster,” she said.
Pictured above is Hyland attending a Project Pink charity lunch. The foundation is all about helping young women with breast cancer. Taking the time to support multiple organizations shows Hyland has a heart of gold. “I have my hands in a lot of cookie jars, but I love it,” she said.