Dark secrets the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond tried to hide

Everybody Loves Raymond is one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. It was a ratings juggernaut for CBS, has generated six international spinoffs, and catapulted the careers of several members of the cast. It is also a beloved, family-friendly show that found even more success in its second life in syndication. But as with any Hollywood success story, there is always a darker side to the glitz and glamour. These are the secrets that one of America's favorite sitcom families tried to hide.

Ray Romano's high salary caused issues with the rest of the cast

In 2003, Ray Romano negotiated a one-year deal that made him the highest paid actor on television, earning $1.8 million dollars per episode. As the star of the show, Romano had always been paid much more than the rest of the cast, but in light of his record-breaking season eight raise, the rest of the cast, particularly Brad Garrett, seized on an opportunity to renegotiate their own contracts. "It was inevitable. When my salary came out in the papers, I knew stuff would happen," Romano told The New York Daily News (via People).

What happened was Garrett refused to show up for the taping of the first episode and demanded a raise, according to The Washington Post. Patricia Heaton, who played Romano's wife, "called out sick," and both Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle (Romano's TV mom and dad) followed her lead. The message was clear, but Garrett also made it a point to say that there was no ill will toward Romano from the rest of the cast. "Ray deserves every penny," Garrett's rep told The Washington Post, adding, "All Brad wants is compensation commensurate with what other similarly situated actors have made in the past and are making today."    

The network quickly came to the bargaining table and offered raises to the cast, as well as lucrative back end deals that cut them in on syndication profits worth an estimated $20 million dollars per actor. "In the years to come, my grandchildren will always have some money coming in from syndication, and that's great," Doris Roberts said of the new deal.  

Patricia Heaton got sued by a former assistant

Even though she played the perpetually overworked and under appreciated matriarch of the Barone household, Heaton apparently didn't see the irony in allegedly requiring her part-time assistant to work "a lot more" hours than she was supposed to. According to TMZ, Heaton's ex-assistant, Jennifer Lee, filed a lawsuit seeking unpaid wages in the amount of $7,425, plus "overtime and additional expenses." Lee claims she was fired after inquiring about the unpaid wages, and also alleges that she was told by Heaton the her child was "'becoming a problem' because of the work schedule." It's unclear what ultimately happened with the lawsuit, but if any of Lee's claims are even remotely true, it's especially gross considering that $20 million dollar syndication bonus we just mentioned.

Patricia Heaton's had a questionable association with anti-gay zealot

Patricia Heaton has never hidden her right-leaning political viewpoints. If anything, she's done just the opposite, and ruffled feathers on more than one occasion with her staunchly conservative standpoints, particularly on the issue of reproductive rights. And that's completely fine. Everyone has the right to their own beliefs and opinions.

But in one instance, Heaton accidentally aligned herself with an extremely controversial radio host whose anti-LGBTQ rants have crossed the line from expressing an opinion to full-on hate speech. According to GLAAD, Heaton appeared on Focal Point, the American Family Association radio show hosted by Bryan Fischer, a man who once tweeted that homosexuality, bestiality, and pedophilia were all "aberrant sexual behaviors" that should be discriminated against.

Anyway, when GLAAD Special Projects Consultant Jeremy Hooper brought Fischer's hateful history to Heaton's attention, she quickly confessed that her appearance on Focal Point was part of a press tour, and she "had no idea" about Fischer's background. Hooper also points out that the clip of Heaton's appearance was deleted from the American Family Association's YouTube page as well, so clearly Heaton wanted this misstep backtracked as soon as possible.

Brad Garrett got a secret divorce

In Brad Garrett's memoir, When The Balls Drop, he couldn't be more candid about his divorce, particularly the alimony payments, which he likens to "paying for the lease on a car after turning it in, while someone else is driving it." But while he and his wife's legal separation was going down, neither one uttered a word about it in public.

According to USA Today, Garrett and his ex-wife, Jill Diven, even kept the secret from their own families until just days before the news of their split hit the press. Managing to completely avoid any tabloid interference, Garrett and Diven each maintain that there is no ill will between them. "Our No. 1 focus is our kids and parenting. We will always be friends because we will never be single parents. We will always be two parents," Garrett said. Which is a nice sentiment, especially for the kids, although Garrett almost never stops referencing how much money the divorce cost him, like he did 6 years after it was finalized in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "Boy, was that expensive," Garrett said, referencing his failed marriage. Yeesh, that has to get awkward after a while.

Brad Garrett had several ugly confrontations with the paparazzi

Not that it's easy to hide a fight with a photographer, but we're sure Brad Garrett would have preferred that some of his altercations with the paparazzi would have never been made public. Like the time outside of Dan Tana's, a swanky LA restaurant, where he swatted at one photog's camera, then challenged a whole group of them to a fight. Or the few times things actually turned racial, like when Garrett was caught on camera screaming, "Wear the turban!" at someone, or the time he asked a black photographer "How long you been out?" before shoving a TMZ cameraman's camera into his face. Granted, it must be tough to deal with swarms of paparazzi when you're just trying to go about your life, but it's never a good look to be angrily smashing camera equipment when all you had to do was hop in your luxury ride and drive away.

Peter Boyle constantly farted on set

Because he apparently took the method approach to his character's catchphrase, "Holy crap!", actor Peter Boyle passed so much gas while shooting scenes, Brad Garrett had to mention it in his book (via Radar Online). "Just like global warming and homely strippers, it was something we all had to learn to live with," Garrett writes.

While promoting the book, Garrett again told of Boyle's habit of dropping air biscuits. "I adored him. To this day we don't know if it was voluntary or involuntary. It was definitely something to contend with but after we ended up knowing who it was on the set, we were able to get along with our business again. Sometimes it's just knowing."  

Fred Stoller, who had a small part on the show as Cousin Gerard, also mentioned Boyle's tendency to freely break wind in his own memoir about his career as a character actor, Maybe We'll Have You Back: The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star. "Passing through so many shows, I never thought I'd be witness to so many greats passing gas in my presence: Peter Boyle, Tony Danza, and Grandma Yetta from The Nanny," Stoller writes. Wow, quite an honor, huh?

Peter Boyle didn't tell production that he had cancer

Peter Boyle died from multiple myeloma and heart disease in 2006. He lost a long battle with the incurable blood cancer which started with his diagnosis in 2002, according to a blog post written by his wife, Lorraine Boyle. This was towards the end of the show's nine-year run, and Boyle chose to keep his diagnosis a secret from the show's production team, although he did confide in his co-stars.

During an interview with Larry King, both Ray Romano and Brad Garrett also expressed that they knew how sick Boyle was. "It was kept pretty much just between the family and the cast," Garrett said. His TV wife, Doris Roberts, told The LA Times that she advised him to keep mum about his illness. "He told me he had cancer of the bones three years before he died," Roberts said, adding, "He said, 'Should I tell them?' I said, 'No. They will treat you like a dying man and you don't need that. You need for them to write for you.' We had such fun together."

Madylin Sweeten filed a shady lawsuit over an Internet soap opera

Madylin Sweeten played Ally, the oldest of the three Barone kids. After Raymond ended in 2005, Sweeten's career hit a definite lag as she booked one film, Eagle Eye, in 2008, then nothing until 2013. Then she reappeared in the headlines in 2015 when she sued Bryan James, the creator and star of an "internet soap opera" called Youthful Daze, according to TMZ.

Apparently Sweeten agreed to a role on the show, but also became a reluctant producer and investor in the project, giving James over $28,000 dollars in exchange for creative control. Sweeten alleges in the suit that James then breached their contract by not consulting her on "hiring actors, a producer, entering equipment agreements and filming without required permits," according to The Wrap.

James responded with his own version of the story, alleging that it was Sweeten who soured the deal by showing up late to the set, which "cost the production thousands of dollars." He eventually countersued, seeking dismissal of Sweeten's lawsuit, as well as $1.5 million dollars in "damages to his business and reputation." It's unclear whether either suit is still ongoing, but there is one question we really need answered. What exactly is an "internet soap opera?"

Sawyer Sweeten committed suicide

In a shock to both his real family and TV family alike, Sawyer Sweeten, who played Geoffrey Barone on the show, killed himself while visiting family in Texas in April of 2015. In a statement given to People, Sawyer's parents indicated how "off guard" they were taken by Sawyer's suicide despite noticing "something happen" in the last week of his life. They stressed that their son did not suffer from "textbook depression" and that he was "happy, upbeat and loving."

But during a later appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, both Sawyer's twin brother, Sullivan, and his mother, Elizabeth, shed some additional light on Sawyer's struggles. Sullivan said that Sawyer had developed a "cynical attitude" towards the show upon later reflection about how much school they missed because of it, as well as how how they both felt that doing the show left them with a kind of social anxiety. Elizabeth shared that in retrospect, she could recognize small signs that Sawyer was struggling with paranoia and depression, although not at an alarming level.

The toxicology screening revealed that Sawyer had marijuana in his system at the time of his death. And a family member, Jacklyn Stines, came forward to speculate that the teen likely suffered from depression. Stines told Radar Online, "There is a history of depression in the family, all through. Many of them are on medication for depression." Ugh. What a tragedy.

Fred Willard got caught masturbating in a porn theater

Though Fred Willard didn't have a huge part on the show, he made his role as Robert Barone”s father-in-law memorable, racking up three Emmy awards in only 14 total appearances. And while we admit that yes, the show had already been over for 7 years before his embarrassing secret came to light, it's not everyday that a famous Hollywood celebrity gets arrested at an adult theater, so that's why he's on the list.

According to TMZ, Willard was caught pleasuring himself when the LAPD entered The Tiki Theater for a routine anti-prostitution enforcement check. And although both Willard and the theater manager continually maintained the actor's innocence, Willard eventually entered and completed a "diversion program" so that he could avoid a public lewdness trial, according to CBS News. The comedic legend took the whole incident in stride, and he even seemed like he was willing to talk about it publicly like he did on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. "It's embarrassing as hell, but let me say this: Nothing happened. I did nothing wrong," Willard told Fallon. But according to TMZ's law enforcement sources, Willard was caught, shall we say…red-handed, so he never fully came clean about his Pee-Wee Herman moment. 

Sherri Shepherd's bizarre child support battle

Like Fred Willard, Sherri Shepherd also had a small, but memorable role on the show. She played Sergeant Judy, Robert's police partner. Also like Willard, Shepherd suffered an embarrassing off-screen public scandal, albeit one of a completely different nature.

Shepherd and her ex-husband Lamar Sally fought for years over child support payments Sally requested for a son born via surrogate in 2014. The surrogacy was arranged prior to the couple's breakup, and the child was conceived using Sally's sperm and a donor egg, meaning Shepherd and the child have no biological link, according to People.  But a judge ruled that Shepherd would remain the child's legal mother, which also left her with a significant financial responsibility since she earns much more than Sally, who is a substitute teacher. In the end, Shepherd was ordered to pay $4100 per month, which she tweeted was "not fair & allowed him [Sally] to not work."

Just months after winning the ruling, Sally filed for even more child support, alleging through his lawyer that Shepherd has been lying about how much money she makes. And it gets even uglier. Shepherd returned the favor by trolling Sally's online dating accounts to put them on blast on Twitter, and call him a liar for padding his income. It all boils down to a power struggle and possible exploitation scheme with an innocent child at the center of it. And while this shameful fight is duked out privately in family court, when the details hit the press, it always feels like cockroaches scurrying madly when the lights come on.