The untold truth of Modern Family

Since its premiere in September 2009, ABC's Modern Family has been a ratings juggernaut and a critical darling. The show has racked up 21 Primetime Emmy Awards (including five consecutive Emmys for outstanding comedy series) and a Golden Globe for best television series (musical or comedy). Renewed for an eighth season in 2016, this blended family won't be leaving the airwaves anytime soon. Let's take a look at some behind-the-scenes stories you might not know.

Ariel Winter's mom was a nightmare on set

Ariel Winter was only 11 when she was cast as the overachieving Alex Dunphy, but her actual home life was a far cry from her world in the show. According to TMZ, Ariel's mother, Chrisoula "Chrystal" Workman, was "was an abusive menace on the set." She was reportedly so hated by everyone—from the crew to the other moms—that producers wanted her banned. Workman allegedly made Ariel's life "a living hell" day in and day out with endless insults about her weight, her performance, and how she looked in wardrobe. Workman reportedly forbid Ariel from eating anything but raw vegetables and egg whites. On the set of the 2010 film, The Chaperone, Workman was described as "an overbearing stage mom" who would "tell the writers and director what she thought of each scene," reported TMZ.

According to Us Weekly, Winter was removed from her mother's home in November 2012 amid allegations of physical and emotional abuse; her older sister was named her permanent guardian in May 2015. In May 2016, a 17-year-old Winter announced on Twitter that she was officially emancipated from her parents, thanking Gray and her father for their support.

Who are they are talking to?

Like Parks and Recreation and The Office, Modern Family is shot in mockumentary style. But why? Who are they talking to? The answer is supposedly found in the original show description, which says that a Swedish movie director, who was formerly a foreign exchange student in Phil Dunphy's home, is shooting a documentary on the American family. And there you have it. Everyone is talking to a Swedish foreign exchange student.

Britney Spears was offered a role

Britney Spears doesn't keep the fact that she's a huge Modern Family fan a secret, so she had to be disappointed when producers offered her a role on the show in the middle of Season 3. Why would she be bummed? Because according to TVRage, "by the time producers heard back from her people, they'd already mapped out the rest of the season and couldn't make it work." Poor Britney. She didn't survive her 2007 meltdown for this.

Luke Dunphy is a member of Mensa

Luke Dunphy isn't the coldest can in the fridge. In fact, he once tried to slide a tray of soda under the bathroom door. But the actor who plays him, Nolan Gould, graduated high school at the age of 13. He has an IQ of 150 and has been a member of Mensa since he was 4 years old. While we might sarcastically call Luke a "genius," we can literally apply that term to Gould.

Sarah Hyland has a restraining order against her ex

Sarah Hyland, who plays too cool Haley Dunphy, was granted a permanent restraining order in 2014 against her ex-boyfriend of five years, Matthew Prokop. The details that led to the protective order are disturbing to say the least. According to TMZ, Hyland claimed he "brutalized her physically and verbally" and even threatened to kill her dog. In court documents obtained by E! News, Hyland says Prokop pinned her against a car while choking her, and after she broke up with him, she said he "relentlessly bombarded" her with "vile, threatening and emotionally disturbing texts and voice mails including his own suicide threats." In addition to staying 100 yards away from her residence, Prokop was also ordered to steer clear of her workplace and her dog. He also can't be around gun or ammunition. I think we can all agree that's for the best.

Rob Huebel turned down the role of Phil Dunphy

In a "Lost Roles" interview with Splitsider, Rob Huebel (Descendants) discussed gigs he either didn't get or passed up. Although he auditioned for Mad Men (yes, Don Draper) and SNL, he said one of his biggest regrets was the role he turned down immediately: Modern Family's Phil Dunphy.

"When I read the script for it, I just hated it," said Huebel. "That's what an idiot I am. It's the most popular show in the country, and I love that show now…I'm so stupid." He said, "Sometimes it's hard, you read the script and you imagine the worst version of it. I just thought like, 'They're never gonna make this show. They will never make this show.' So I didn't even go in [to audition], and now it's the biggest show in America, and I coulda had that speedboat."

We don't know if Ty Burrell has a speedboat, but it's safe to assume he's glad Huebel didn't show.