Heartbreaking Details About Sarah Hyland

The following references suicide mental health struggles, and domestic abuse.

We'd be willing to bet you best know Sarah Hyland as Haley Dunphy in the beloved sitcom "Modern Family," given that she pretty much grew up on the show. While that megahit series is arguably the crown jewel of her filmography, she has also popped up in a number of other TV shows and movies, including "Geek Charming," "Shadowhunters," and "Satanic." From the outside, it appears that Hyland has it all — talent, an admirable work ethic, and the impressive career she's earned as result. Fans of the star may know that she's dealt with a number of hardships behind the scenes.

Life hasn't been easy for Sarah Hyland. From living with multiple chronic illnesses to her mental health struggles, the star has been through a lot. She's been open about these challenges, perhaps with the goal of helping those who can unfortunately relate. "I was born with so many health issues that doctors told my mother I would never have a normal life," she told Seventeen in 2015. "And she said, 'You're right, she won't – but it won't be because of her health.' When my mother told me that story, it resonated with me: If I can't have an ordinary life, I might as well have an extraordinary one. If you set your mind to something, you'll achieve it."

These heartbreaking details about Sarah Hyland are examples of her resilience.

She underwent two kidney transplants

In an in-depth interview with Self, Sarah Hyland revealed that she was diagnosed with kidney dysplasia at birth. According to the Urology Care Foundation, this condition occurs after abnormal development of the kidneys in the womb. It can cause cysts in the kidneys and limited kidney function. Sarah's kidney dysplasia resulted in two kidney transplants. Her father was her first donor, but unfortunately, the actor's body later rejected the organ. "When you have an organ transplant, it's basically a foreign thing in your body," Sarah told Self. "Your immune system will want to attack it and be like, 'What is this? This is not supposed to be here.'" This resulted in a long period of illness and the star eventually went on dialysis, a life-saving procedure used to treat kidney failure.

Sadly, Sarah had to have the transplanted kidney removed despite being on dialysis. She needed a new kidney and another donor. The star later found out that her brother, Ian Hyland, was a match. Ian told Self, "I'm about as stubborn as Sarah once I've made up my mind. I probably would have insisted on donating even if I wasn't a match." Sarah then underwent her second transplant. She worried that her body would also reject her brother's kidney. "For a long time, I was contemplating suicide, because I didn't want to fail my little brother like I failed my dad," the star shared with the outlet.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

She doesn't remember filming certain Modern Family episodes

As you might imagine, Sarah Hyland's health struggles impacted many aspects of her life, including her career. In fact, she revealed that she doesn't remember filming some episodes of "Modern Family" due to her kidney dysplasia diagnosis. Hyland shared this detail during an appearance on Julie Bowen's "Quitters" podcast. "I was not able to be awake for like eight hours at a time," the actor said. "I was so exhausted all the time. So, I'd be on set, we'd be filming and I would be dead asleep, my head on the table." 

This isn't the only time Hyland spoke out about working while living with chronic illnesses. In her aforementioned interview with Self, she shared that she filmed "Modern Family" while on dialysis. You might be thinking that doing things like learning lines, shooting scenes, and being "on" for the camera may have been mentally taxing for the star considering her health struggles. However, she shared it has actually helped her cope. "My work is my therapy," she told Self. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my work."

Sarah Hyland's cousin was killed in a car accident

Sarah Hyland experienced a tragic loss in 2018 when her teenage cousin, Trevor Canaday, was killed by a drunk driver. Hyland took to Instagram Stories (via E! News) to encourage followers to donate to Canaday's family's GoFundMe, noting that her uncle, who was in the car with her cousin, survived the crash but was in the hospital. The actor eventually shared more details about the drunk driver involved in the incident. She tweeted, "JEFFERY EGGERLING had two prior DUI's and tried to RUN from the scene of the crime after hitting my Uncle's car SO fast that my 14 yr old cousin, who was wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle. JEFFERY EGGERLING is a murderer. May he rot in hell."

The star later suggested that she had received hate from other social media users after speaking out about Canaday's death. "I'd like to ask those who have negative thoughts or opinions about the tragedy that happened to my family, to keep them to themselves," she wrote in a separate tweet. "You don't know all the details. And how dare you attack when a beautiful life has been lost." Hyland may have been referring to social media users who criticized her for asking her followers to donate to Canaday's GoFundMe.

Sarah Hyland has struggled with her mental health

On a 2019 episode on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Sarah Hyland opened up about what may have been some of the darkest periods of her life. The "Modern Family" star shared that she struggled with depression after years of pain and illness caused by her chronic health issues, and eventually began to grapple with suicidal ideation. "I would write letters in my head to loved ones — of why I did it, my reasoning behind it, how it's nobody's fault," the actor told DeGeneres. "And I didn't want to write it down on paper because I didn't want anyone to find it 'cause that's how serious I was." Hyland went on to share that speaking about these hardships out loud helped her realize she needed help.

It seems that the "Love Island USA" host has since learned tools to help her remain positive even in dark times, which has been key to her recovery process. As she told Yahoo! Life, "When I find myself saying things that are bad about myself, like, 'I don't want to do this,' 'I'm tired,' 'I don't have the strength to do this,' I will say something out loud like, 'I get to do this,' 'I have the privilege of doing this,' 'I'm alive,' 'I'm breathing,' 'I am perfect.'" She shared that grounding techniques and getting in touch with nature have also helped her calm her anxiety.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

The Modern Family actor was body shamed

In 2017, Sarah Hyland posted a since-deleted photo to Instagram in which she posed in a large T-shirt. Comments began to flood in, but instead of complimenting the star, a not insignificant number of fans criticized her weight. Hyland later took to Twitter to address all the hate. "No one's head should be bigger than their body but considering I've been on bed rest for the past few months, I've lost a lot of muscle mass," she wrote in part in a lengthy statement. "My circumstances have put me in place where I'm not in control of what my body looks like." The "Modern Family" actor had not yet disclosed her health issues, so she didn't directly state that her fluctuation was due to her kidney dysplasia.

Unfortunately, Hyland had to address body shamers once again in 2018. This time, she took a more comical approach when responding to online trolls. She shared a video to her Instagram Stories (via Insider) in which she joked that her then-boyfriend, Wells Adams, can confirm that she eats healthy servings of bread. "I've been reading some of your DMs and so many of you are like, 'girl, you fine but like, eat some bread,'" she said in the clip. "So I would like to put in a request for anyone who is concerned about my bread consumption to send to Wells Adams, because he is the sole person who knows about how much bread I consume on a daily basis."

The star dealt with insecurity due to her chronic illnesses

As previously mentioned, Sarah Hyland has spoken out about how her chronic illnesses affect her appearance. In 2019, the star shared a now-deleted Instagram photo (via The Independent) where she addressed self-confidence issues related to health struggles. "To my fellow invisible illness warriors. It's okay to be insecure about your body," she wrote in the caption of the post. The photo showed Hyland dressed in a workout set. "Just remember to check in with yourself at least once a day and say thank you," the star continued. "Our bodies have endured unfathomable feats that our minds barely have time to comprehend what has actually happened."

In the past, Hyland shared that she wore shapewear to hide the effects of her kidney transplants. The star even once joked that she doubled up on these garments at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party, according to People. It seems that she's come a long way since then because she took to Instagram to share that she ditched the shapewear during a performance at the Teen Choice Awards in 2019. In the caption of the post she wrote in part, "And a final thank you to my ever changing self confidence for making the decision to not wear spanx and let my KUPA (kidney upper pu**y area) shine like the bada** b**ch she is."

She was diagnosed with endometriosis

Sarah Hyland was diagnosed with endometriosis along with her kidney dysplasia. According to John Hopkins Medicine, this condition is the result of endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus. This causes a number of symptoms, including extreme menstrual pain. Hyland's endometriosis complicated her kidney transplant recovery. "I was still in severe pain after the transplant, and that was due to the endo and the hernia," she told Self. The actor had Laparoscopic surgery to remove lesions caused by her endometriosis, and this wasn't an easy process. "Laparoscopic [surgery is] one of the most painful things I've ever been through in my life," she said in the interview.

Hyland mentioned that she lives with ongoing endometriosis flare-ups. "It has been hard to stand up straight, let alone work." she said in Self. "The fetal position helps a lot." The actor's endometriosis diagnosis led her to speak out against a Trump administration era decision that allowed employers to decide whether or not they wanted to cover birth control as part of health insurance plans. One social media user criticized Hyland's opinion, but she wasn't having it. "TALK TO ME WHEN YOU HAVE ENDOMETRIOSIS, OVARIAN CYSTS, PAINFUL IRREGULAR CYCLES ETC... BC is for more than just our sex lives you pig," she responded in a tweet.

Sarah Hyland was in an abusive relationship

In 2014, TMZ reported that Sarah Hyland filed a restraining order against then-boyfriend Matthew Prokop. You might recall that Hyland and Prokop both starred in the Disney Channel movie "Geek Charming" in 2011. According to TMZ, Hyland shared in court documents that Prokop once choked her during an argument about her outfit. "His grip was so tight that I could not breathe or speak," she reportedly shared in the documents. "I was scared and in fear for my life." TMZ also reported that some of Prokop's other disturbing behavior included threatening to burn down Hyland's home and harm her dog. A rehabilitation facility director recommended that Hyland file this restraining order after Prokop was released from the center.

Sarah Hyland went on to help women experiencing abuse through a collaboration with No B.S. Skin Care. Half of the line's earnings go toward supporting SHE RECOVERS, an organization that supports women experiencing addiction and domestic violence. "The fact that [SHE RECOVERS] works with women who come from abusive situations is really important to me," Hyland said to Refinery29. "A lot of people like to think that once you're out of an abusive situation, it ends there, but it doesn't. The emotional trauma and scars on the soul stay there, and they impact you for the rest of your life if you don't get help."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.