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Published on October 28, 2020
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When you are an actor, you get used to fans approaching you while you are out and about. Ed O’Neill of Modern Family fame experienced this all the time, but there was something unusual about this particular encounter. While waiting to board a flight at the airport longue, a fan came up to him and asked for a photo. He obliged without paying much attention, which turned out to be a huge mistake. The story soon blew up, and it had everything to do with the identity of his adoring fan at the airport! But who exactly was she?

Modern Family Star Ed O’Neill Was Shocked When He Learned Who His Female Fan Really Was

Modern Family Star Ed O’Neill Was Shocked When He Learned Who His Female Fan Really Was

An Excited Fan

While the actor was waiting at the airport lounge, a woman approached him for a photo. Her friend was quick to snap a photo of them after he agreed. The encounter pretty much ended with the fan thanking O’Neill for his time. He did not think much of it until his phone blew up with messages as soon as she posted it on social media! What was it about the photo that garnered so much attention?

An Excited Fan

An Excited Fan

Famous Hollywood Celebrities

O’Neill eventually found out what the big deal was, but he did not realize it at the time. The actor is hilarious and talented enough to have brought home two Golden Globe awards in the past. However, he failed to notice that the fan was actually another big name in Hollywood. In fact, it is not a stretch to say that she is even more established than he is! Fans were shocked to hear that he did not recognize her.

Famous Hollywood Celebrities

Famous Hollywood Celebrities

His Career

Let us take a look at his acting career. He snagged his first big role on the theater stage by appearing in Knockout. His performance did not escape the notice of a director called William Friedkin, who helped him enter the film industry. He made his film debut in Cruising, but his big break came in the role of Al Bundy in a show called Married… with Children. After that, he went on to star in projects like Little Giants, Dutch, and The Bone Collector.

His Career

His Career

His Late Start

The actor had been 40 years old when his career really took off. He also tied the knot with Catherine Rusoff at around the same time. His wife gave birth to their first child thirteen years after that. O’Neill might have gotten his start in the industry relatively late, but he still made waves in Hollywood. Perhaps his late start has something to do with his failure to recognize his famous fan! Unlike him, her career as a performer started when she was still young. She was a household name by the time she was a teen!

His Late Start

His Late Start

Modern Family

After Married… with Children, the actor continued to take on film and TV roles. In the past, he was in The West Wing, The Spanish Prisoner, Wayne’s World, and Wreck-It Ralph. He went on to be a TV fixture once more when he was cast to play Jay Pritchett in Modern Family. The sitcom went on to be a hit and stayed on the air for 11 seasons until it finally came to an end in April 2020. Overall, the show ran for 250 episodes.

Modern Family

Modern Family

Part Of The Job

Between the two shows, he appeared on the TV screen for two decades. We can see why fans liked to ask him for autographs and photos whenever they run into him. The famous woman was just as starstruck as everyone else when she spotted him at the airport. We are glad that he accepted her request without thinking much of it. But his mistake was that he thought that she was just another fan.

Part Of The Job

Part Of The Job

His Personal Affairs

The actor likes to keep his personal affairs private. He does not use social media either, so you are not going to find him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. When he is not busy at work, he avoids having his photo taken. In 2012, someone uploaded a YouTube video of him with the title “Ed O’Neill Does Not Like Taking Photos With Fans.” He was seen walking away from his fans when he was in a public area. But what made him agree to the request of this particular fan if he did not even recognize her?

His Personal Affairs

His Personal Affairs

Hiding From The Paparazzi

She was no stranger to having people follow her around, hounding her for photos. This is one of the reasons the photo went viral in no time at all! The two of them are rarely seen in candid photos, so it only intrigued their fans some more. Perhaps he identified a kindred spirit in her even though he did not realize who she was.

Hiding From The Paparazzi

Hiding From The Paparazzi

Her Southern Roots

But how did this mystery woman ask him for a photo? It turns out that she had been very polite when he asked him, which worked in her favor. She called him “Mr. O’Neill” and explained that she was a fan of both Married… with Children and Modern Family. The actor must have found her kind demeanor refreshing compared to the demanding fans that usually came up to him! As a hint, her good manners might have something to do with her Southern roots.

Her Southern Roots

Her Southern Roots

Different Facial Expressions

When you see the photo, you will probably wonder what they were thinking when the photo was taken. Their facial expressions give us an idea. The woman can be seen smiling widely, while the actor seemed bored. He probably just wanted to get it over with and get on with his day. We are sure that he would have put on a different face if he had known exactly who she was.

Different Facial Expressions

Different Facial Expressions

It Blew Up On Social Media

It only took a couple of seconds to snap that photo, but it went viral as soon as she posted it on her social media accounts. People only had good things to say about the photo. The attention had to do with both of them. Thanks to their combined star power, it even reached the news. Their fans could not get enough of them. Isn’t it fascinating to hear two celebrities meeting up purely by chance?

It Blew Up On Social Media

It Blew Up On Social Media

He Had No Idea

On Twitter, she captioned the photo, “Fancy running into this guy! Such a sweetheart!!” The tweet soon caught the attention of thousands of people. O’Neill had been totally unaware of it until his friends and family started to send him texts about it. At first, he was confused about why it was such a huge deal. He only realized the gravity of the situation when he spoke to his manager about it!

He Had No Idea

He Had No Idea

Their Encounter

It was fortunate that O’Neill had been in a good enough mood to agree with her request. We are sure that people would criticize him if he turned her down! Luckily, he made the right call in that airport lounge on that particular day. On top of that, this story would not have happened otherwise. We are glad that destiny brought them together at such an unexpected place!

Their Encounter

Their Encounter

The Mystery Woman

Have you figured out the identity of the woman? She made it big when she was still young and grew up in the public eye. The paparazzi hounded her and reported her every move. She was a usual sight at high-profile events and on the red carpet. People knew her from the radio and MTV. We are sure that you know who she is! That was the reason fans could not believe that he failed to recognize her.

The Mystery Woman

The Mystery Woman

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

The woman posted the tweet in June 2016. After this incident, O’Neill appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show so that he could promote Finding Dory. Just so you know, he worked on the animated film with the host herself! At first, they talked about the project in front of the audience. Once this part was over, Ellen brought up the photo and asked him what happened…

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

He Was Oblivious

It seems like O’Neill was the sort of guy who did not bother too much with the details. In the animated film, he was the voice actor for a character by the name of Hank the Octopus. When he started working on Finding Dory, he assumed that he was just going to record a couple of lines. However, he soon realized that he was playing a major character! This did not align with his expectations at all.

He Was Oblivious

He Was Oblivious

A Regular On The Show

Once they got the discussion about the movie out of the way, Ellen asked him about the photo that went viral! She thought that it was funny because she knew the woman on a personal level. The fan in question was actually a regular guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She had certain things in common with Ellen, such as the fact that they are both from Louisiana. Like other people, Ellen was also shocked that O’Neill failed to recognize who she was.

A Regular On The Show

A Regular On The Show

His Side Of The Story

“I was flying alone to Hawaii,” he narrated on the show. He went on, “I was waiting for my flight to board, they told me the flight was boarding and I picked up — that’s a little Modern Family hat. I saw a woman approaching me so I just flopped it on, you know, I was leaving. She came up and said, ‘Oh, Mr. O’Neill, I love Modern Family, and you’re my favorite on the show.’”

His Side Of The Story

His Side Of The Story

Going To Hawaii

“Well, I’m here, I’m the only one here, ‘Could you please, and I know you’re in a hurry…’ couldn’t have been nicer, so I said, ‘Sure, fine, you know, OK,’” he continued. O’Neill concluded the story by saying, “So she sat there and we took it and I said, ‘Have a nice trip, I’m going,’ and I left.” He forgot about it immediately after that. Once he landed, he was surprised to see how many messages were coming in!

Going To Hawaii

Going To Hawaii

Turning Airplane Mode On

His manager tried to get a hold of him to discuss what happened. When he realized that the actor was already on the plane, he simply texted, “What is this? It’s 53,000 likes!” Back then, O’Neill did not know that she was a pop star with a very successful career to her name! Raised in the South, she has been a household name since the late ‘90s. Do you have any idea who we are talking about?

Turning Airplane Mode On

Turning Airplane Mode On

His Own Daughter

It amused a lot of people, but not everyone was pleased. As a matter of fact, O’Neill said that his daughter was frustrated by his obliviousness. She grew up listening to the songs of the musician and was a big fan. His daughter could not believe that he failed to realize what was going on. O’Neill said that she even teased him by calling him a “moron.” That reaction only goes to show that he made a big mistake.

His Own Daughter

His Own Daughter

Talking To His Manager

When he found out who the fan was, O’Neill felt rather embarrassed that he failed to recognize her. He actually the star by name, but he was not familiar with her appearance. He talked to his manager and apologized for his mistake. After all, it was not a good look for him to be unfamiliar with one of the biggest women in the industry! We are sure that he was mortified when the realization hit him.

Talking To His Manager

Talking To His Manager

It Was Britney Spears

In case you have not yet caught up, we are talking about none other than Britney Spears herself! When the photo was taken, she was doing her residency in Las Vegas but wanted to spend some time to unwind with her family. The pop star understands and loves her privacy, which is why she did not travel with an entire entourage. It probably would not have made any difference to O’Neill since he did not know what she looked like. But at the very least, he would have figured out that she was a celebrity.

It Was Britney Spears

It Was Britney Spears

She Knows What It’s Like

Like him, she has also been on the receiving end of requests for autographs and photos. This explains why she was very polite when she asked him for a photo. In 2007, she went through the infamous paparazzi crisis. No one knows how stressful it can be more than Britney Spears herself! Based on how she approached him, it is clear that she knew that this was a sensitive situation.

She Knows What It’s Like

She Knows What It’s Like

His Face

Ellen said that O’Neill does not “seem thrilled” in the photo. He admitted that he was not really excited to pose for the photo, partly because he did not know who the fan was. The talk show host could not believe that he did not know the “Oops!.. I Did It Again” singer. When pressed further, the actor only said, “Look at the look on my face, do I look like I’m sitting with Britney Spears?”

His Face

His Face

Coming Full Circle

Thanks to her huge social media following, the tweet went on to garner 53,000 likes. But the twist is that a lot of her younger fans were not familiar with Ed O’Neill. As a matter of fact, it felt like everything came full circle when they asked who he was. They wanted to know if he was her dad!

Coming Full Circle

Coming Full Circle

The Pop Star On Modern Family

After the photo came out, a lot of Modern Family fans asked if Britney Spears was going to be a guest star on the show. There were already rumors going around about this even before the airport incident happened. Sadly, this did not come to fruition. The show aired its last episode in April 2020.

The Popstar On Modern Family

The Pop Star On Modern Family

Her Resume

Before you raise your eyebrow, there is nothing weird about Britney Spears appearing in Modern Family. After all, she made guest appearances in shows like Glee, How I Met Your Mother, The Simpson, and Will & Grace in the past. She even starred in a movie called Crossroads! She would have been amazing on the show as well.

Her Resume

Her Resume

Britney Spears And Ed O’Neill

After the Twitter incident, people waited to see how Britney would react to the fact that Ed O’Neill did not recognize her. Sadly, she has not yet commented on it. Wouldn’t it be neat if the two of them got to work on a project together in the future? That would be amazing! But what has she been up to lately?

Britney Spears And Ed O’Neill

Britney Spears And Ed O’Neill

The Beginning Of Her Career

Like we said earlier, she has been working ever since she was a young girl. Her mother took her to auditions until she finally joined the cast of the Mickey Mouse Club in 1992. She got to work with fellow future stars such as Ryan Gosling, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and Keri Russel. Her manager later sent her recordings to various labels. In 1997, she signed with Jive Records. Two years after that, Britney Spears released the iconic “…Baby One More Time.”

The Beginning Of Her Career

The Beginning Of Her Career

Making Waves In The Industry

The album debuted at the top spot of the U.S. Billboard 200. After one month, it became a certified two-time platinum hit. “…Baby One More Time” sold more than 10 million copies in less than a year and went on to be the highest-selling album by a teen artist. Its first single, “Baby One More Time,” sold more than 500,000 copies on the first day. The music video was played on repeat on MTV and VH1 as well.

Making Waves In The Industry

Making Waves In The Industry

Doing It Again

In May 2000, she released a second album called “Oops!… I Did It Again.” It sold more than 1.3 million copies and broke the record for the highest debut sales by a solo artist. It has since sold more than 20 million copies! This means that it is one of the bestselling albums in history. Everyone considered her to be the next pop music sensation. Madonna was the last one to have left such a big impact on the scene.

Doing It Again

Doing It Again

Her Breaking Point

Sadly, Britney Spears reached her breaking point in 2007. It had plenty to do with the paparazzi. After she separated from her husband of the time, she turned to substance abuse. While dealing with a loss in the family, she entered a rehab facility. The following day, she was seen shaving her hair by herself! As you can guess, her fans were all concerned about her wellbeing. Luckily, she has managed to bounce back.

Her Breaking Point

Her Breaking Point

The Las Vegas Residency

In 2013, she even signed a residency deal with a Las Vegas casino. For two years, she was supposed to perform there exclusively. Britney Spears managed to release two more albums: “Britney Jean” (2013) and “Glory” (2016). She made the right choice by doing the Vegas residency show. In 2017, reports said that she was the 8th top-earning female musician of the year!

The Las Vegas Residency

The Las Vegas Residency

The Las Vegas Tours

Her Las Vegas residency came with many “tours” such as Britney: Piece of Me. Her final performance broke the box office record for a Las Vegas show, which is an incredible feat on its own. The show was broadcast live to 25.6 million viewers on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC. This was further evidence that America remains obsessed with the talented performer!

The Las Vegas Tours

The Las Vegas Tours

Going On A World Tour

After her Las Vegas show, she joined a world tour called Piece of Me. It began in July 2018 and spanned both North America and Europe. Several minutes after tickets were made available online in major cities, it was sold out. This was a clear indication that there was a huge demand for a live performance. In the end, they resolved the problem by adding more tour dates.

Going On A World Tour

Going On A World Tour

Britney: Domination

In October 2018, Britney Spears announced her new Las Vegas residency show. It was called Britney: Domination. Thanks to a deal that fetched her $507,000 per show, she earned the title of the highest paid-act on the Strip. Sadly, she ended up canceling the plans for personal reasons only a couple of months before the show was due to start. But why?

Britney Domination

Britney Domination

Her Father Was Not Well

The pop star announced that she was canceling the residency indefinitely on January 4, 2019. She let everyone know that her dad was sick. He was involved in a near-fatal incident, so she decided to clear out her schedule to spend as much time with him as she could. Even though her fans were devastated, they knew that it was only a matter of time before she returned. They all knew that she was going to return to the stage sometime in the future.

Her Father Was Not Well

Her Father Was Not Well

Back To The Actor

Do not worry, we have not forgotten about Ed O’Neill just yet. As a big Hollywood star, he was no stranger to meeting fans in public. He entered the industry in 1980 and earned his big break when he was cast to portray Al Bundy in Married… with Children seven years later. He held onto this role all the way until 1997. The actor proved that he was not a one-hit wonder by playing Jay Pritchett in Modern Family. His future looks bright, and we are excited to see what he does next.

Back To The Actor

Back To The Actor

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