The Transformation Of Nolan Gould From 10 To 22 Years Old

Nolan Gould spent much of his young life making viewers laugh on one of America's hottest sitcoms. On "Modern Family," he played Luke Dunphy, the endearingly dimwitted son of Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil (Ty Burrell). While Gould has some things in common with his character, there's one major difference between them: His parents probably are not too worried about his future.

Gould was 10 years old when he began filming "Modern Family," and the show ran for more than a decade. "You're not a real person then. Now I'm an adult, and I'm very lucky 'Modern Family' was a huge part of my upbringing," the actor told TV Insider. "It shaped me into a fully formed person with opinions and interests and life goals." Before he got cast on the star-making show, Gould was just a normal kid who spent his early childhood in Phenix City, Alabama. He was born in New York, but his family moved to the southern state due to his dad's military career. During an interview with, he reminisced about riding four-wheelers and catching catfish and tadpoles.

Gould told Dear Doctor that his older brother Adrian started taking theater classes when he was 5, and he "went along with him because I kind of had to." Gould was 3 at the time, and he recalled that one of his earliest gigs was as a child model for the packaging of a pirate Halloween costume. It would not be long before he moved on to bigger, better things. Here's a look at Gould's transformation throughout the years.

Nolan Gould's onscreen mom was like a real parent to him

Nolan Gould told Dear Doctor that having two kids pursuing acting careers was hard on his parents at times. "It was very difficult. The family had to make a lot of sacrifices," he said. But his mom and dad did not need to worry about him when he was at work because he received some additional parenting from his "Modern Family" co-star Julie Bowen. "She's always fussing and fixing my hair, and she's always cleaning things off my face," he told During an interview with DAMAN, Gould said that he started acting before he "developed anxiety or stage fright," so this probably helped him feel even more at home on the show's set. He also became fast friends with co-star Rico Rodriguez. He told Smashing Interviews that they were fond of pranks and recalled how the production team helped them hide from their on-set teacher one day.

"Modern Family" premiered in 2009, the same year that Gould's movie "Space Buddies" was released on DVD (via IMDb). While he made human friends on his TV series, he made one of the furry variety while working on the film. One of his co-stars was a Golden Retriever named Daisy, whom he bonded with instantly. He loved her so much that he ended up adopting her. In 2013, he told Vetstreet that he felt like he and Daisy "both kind of understand acting." 

Nolan Gould graduated high school at age 13

Like his "Modern Family" character, Nolan Gould is a bit of a daredevil. On his Instagram page, he can be seen swimming with sharks, rappelling down a mountain, and yanking on the tail of an endangered panther. In 2013, he revealed that he broke his thumb while doing parkour, which seems like something Luke Dunphy would be into. However, one major difference between Gould and his onscreen character is their level of intelligence. Gould has been a member of MENSA since he was about four years old, and he has an I.Q. of 150 (per Smashing Interviews).

During a 2012 appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Gould revealed that he was already a high school graduate at just 13 years old, and he was ready to continue his education. "Over the summer, I did a lot of studying and I took an exam and tested out of high school," he said (via Access Hollywood). "So, I'm hopefully going to go on and do some online community college courses." In 2017, Gould told Entertainment Tonight that he had been accepted into the University of Southern California, where he planned on pursuing a Cinematic Arts degree. In addition to excelling at school, Gould can play a number of musical instruments, including the banjo, piano, sitar, theremin and standup bass.

Nolan Gould does good with one 'Modern Family' star and vacations with another

Nolan Gould enjoyed being around his "Modern Family" co-stars so much that he spent time with them outside of work. In early 2016, he teamed up with Ty Burrell to film a "Funny or Die" video for a good cause. Gould is an environmental activist who was a youth ambassador for the Sierra Club. He collaborated with the conservation organization on a campaign to stop an area of national forest near the Grand Canyon from being turned into a commercial space by developers. He and Burrell dressed in Evil Knievel costumes and performed a series of stunts at the Grand Canyon — with a little help from a green screen. "It was a 20-year fight, and this video actually helped push them over the edge, and we were able to stop that mega-development from happening," he told Young Hollywood.

That same year, Nolan Gould shared an Instagram photo of himself and Ariel Winter taken during their trip to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. He said that it was the first time they had ever traveled somewhere together, and they had a blast. They were joined by Winter's boyfriend and a group of friends. When Gould was quizzed about the outing on the "Allegedly" podcast, he was asked whether he would ever consider dating his co-star. "No. I love her, but she's a really good friend. We grew up together," he said.

What Nolan Gould said about being compared to another celebrity

Nolan Gould is aware that some fans think he and singer Shawn Mendes are doppelgängers. In 2018, he spoke to Entertainment Tonight about the comparisons. "I really want to get a photo with him just to dispel any rumors that I am Shawn Mendes," he said. However, he joked that they have never been spotted "at the same place at the same time." And while he swore that he could not sing like Mendes, he did belt out a few lyrics from "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back." He told Young Hollywood that he would want to prank people by switching lives with the singer if they ever met — something reminiscent of "The Prince and the Pauper" (without a pauper, of course).

Unlike Mendes, who has been in a long-term relationship with Camila Cabello since 2019, Gould has found dating a bit difficult. He told Bello magazine that other celebrities do not always make the best romantic partners because "complexes and egos" abound in Hollywood. Dating those who are not involved in the industry also presents its own challenges. "We can't always go out in public together; people will ask questions and it's going to make your life difficult," he said. However, he described himself as a "hopeless romantic," so he's not ready to give up on finding love just yet. "I am young and I have time," he pointed out.

Nolan Gould gets buff and joins a dating show

Nolan Gould told Bello that his own grandmother body-shamed him when he was just a child. "I was 10 years old, packing on the pounds after being on set with access to unlimited snacks, and she made a comment about it!" he recalled. This made him decide to hit the gym when he was just 11 years old. He admitted that this was not "the best idea." Fast forward to 2021, and he was not just getting fit to lose weight, but to be in the best physical shape possible so that he could "climb big rock walls in Yosemite." He showed off the results of his pandemic workout by posing shirtless for a photoshoot with People.

In addition to getting fit, one of Gould's goals for 2021 seems to be finding a special someone. He signed on to appear on the July 12 episode of the "The Celebrity Dating Game" in hopes that one of the three eligible bachelorettes would turn out to be the "confident, charismatic and passionate" woman of his dreams. While he's briefly returning to TV to appear on the ABC game show, he wants to spend more time behind the camera in the future. 'My brain says, 'Go big, go be a producer, go get degrees in writing and acting,'" he told The New York Post. "But the other part of me ... I could totally live in the back of a van and visit every national park in the US."