Ed O’Neill Talks Feud With Former ‘Married… With Children’ Co-Star Over TV Guide Cover

MARRIED...WITH CHILDREN, (aka MARRIED WITH CHILDREN), from left: Christina Applegate, Ed O'Neill, David Faustino, Katey Sagal, (1990), 1987-1997.
Tony Costa/TV Guide/Fox Network./ Courtesy Everett Collection

Actor Ed O’Neill‘s big break came when he was cast as the raunchy Al Bundy in Married… with Children. The 77-year-old recently reminisced about the show and how he misses the laughs and his former co-stars, including Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Amanda Bearse, and Ted McGinley. However, he did admit that there was one star he didn’t always get along with and one of their fights started with a TV Guide cover.

In a recent appearance on his Modern Family co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson‘s podcast Dinner’s On Me, O’Neill opened up about his feud with Amanda Bearse, who played Marcy D’Arcy on Married… with Children. On the July-August 1989 issue of TV Guide, O’Neill, Sagal, Applegate, and Faustino were featured on the cover. He admitted that Bearse wanted him to talk to the bigwigs and get her and McGinley on the cover too.

Married... with Children clockwise from top left: David Faustino, Christina Applegate, Buck the dog, Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal, TV GUIDE cover, July 29 - August 4, 1989

TV Guide/Everett Collection

He explained, “They were told they could not be on the cover. Because they had a rule: there’s only so many [that] can be on the cover. Now they violated that for like two shows, I think it was ‘M*A*S*H’ and ‘Dallas.’ That was an exception. They weren’t doing it for us. And we were lucky to get it. It was like the sixth year in or something. We were thrilled to get the cover of TV Guide. It was big. And Amanda and David came out in unison from their dressing room. We were on the soundstage, and she said, ‘We expect you to go to Ron Leavitt and tell him this doesn’t work. We’re all on the cover.'”

Married... with Children D. Faustino, C. Applegate, A. Bearse, E. O'Neill, Buck, T. McGinley, K. Sagal, 1987-1997

Columbia Pictures Television/Everett Collection

O’Neill admitted that he told her he wasn’t going to do that and in retrospect, he said he wishes he would have at least tried to get them on the cover too. At the time, he remembers thinking that he didn’t want to go to bat for them when he felt the show was lucky to get the cover in the first place. He also noted another idea he had later on and shared, “And this makes our show [have] a longer life, maybe. That was how I looked at it. I’d played lesser roles. I didn’t give a s— about being on the cover. I would have said, ‘Why don’t you leave me off the cover and say, ‘Al’s stuck at work, and we took the photo without him.’ That would have been funnier, and I wouldn’t have to work that day taking the pictures. I would have done that.”

MARRIED...WITH CHILDREN, (aka MARRIED WITH CHILDREN), from left: Amanda Bearse, David Faustino, 1987-1997.

Joe Viles/Fox Network/Courtesy Everett Collection

It wasn’t just the TV Guide cover that cemented their feud. Years later, Bearse did not invite him to her wedding when she married her wife, Carrie Schenken, in 2010. O’Neill revealed that his feelings were hurt and he asked her why he wasn’t invited. She confirmed that it was a tough call and she thought he would make fun of the wedding and how they were wearing tuxedos. He felt as if she was confusing him with his character Al Bundy and said that again, he probably didn’t respond in the best way.

Married... with Children Ed O'Neill, Amanda Bearse, 1987-1997

Columbia Pictures Television/Everett Collection

He said, “If I had it to do over again, I would have said, ‘Amanda, all the best. It’s your call. It’s your wedding. You have who you want there.’ But instead, I lashed out. I said something that I thought – it was a joke, but it was a mean joke, you know? I wish I had that to do over. That’s my biggest regret about that. I didn’t handle that well. I know that.” Now, he shared that they have yet to reconnect.

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