Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Julie Bowen: Modern Mother, Modern Family

    The actor’s tricks and tips for balancing TV's No. 1 comedy and family -- including three kids under age 3.
    By Lauren Paige Kennedy
    WebMD Magazine - Feature
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    On the spectrum of mommy sainthood, Julie Bowen is much like her character Claire Dunphy on ABC's hit TV show Modern Family: She lands somewhere on the higher end of the scale but falls far short of perfection -- and that's OK with her.

    This proud working mom of three boys -- all under age 3 -- remains a self-admitted control freak, however: "I function on the belief that if I were not around, the wheels would slowly fall off the bus, and no one would ever be dressed or fed," she jokes.

    Still, after she and husband Scott Phillips, a software engineer, welcomed twins John and Gus, now 22 months, when their firstborn Oliver was just hitting the "terrible twos" -- within weeks of her landing the role on what has become the No. 1 comedy on television -- the in-demand actress knew something had to give.

    "I breastfed for a year with my oldest," Bowen, 40, tells WebMD. "We did the Mommy & Me classes -- we did everything. But once the twins came along, I slid a lot farther down that scale."

    She cites the new bar-setting trend of making your own baby food: "Organic in a jar is better than anything I'm going to come up with," she riffs. "There's a whole secret underground movement of people who feel like they're being bullied by these messages of ''You must grow your own food and purée it!' If you can do that and it brings you pleasure, do it. But if it doesn't work for you ... there are so many options out there that are healthy, why beat yourself up because you can't can your own peas?"

    Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy

    Bowen's views on TV-watching sound just as liberated: "I've heard all the evidence about television for kids, but every now and then Yo Gabba Gabba! is your best friend when you need to get the dishes done or just chill out for a minute."

    Sounds like a line her alter ego Claire might deliver deadpan into the camera, a staple of Modern Family's confessional, break-the-fourth-wall style. The show -- which won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series last fall and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in January -- has become a certifiable fan favorite. The series hilariously depicts a dysfunctional clan of three interconnected couples who marry themes of gay partnership, foreign adoption, May-December romance, culture clashes, religious differences, warring spouses, and uppity teenagers. In other words: real life.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes highlighted
    4 early warning signs.
    handful of vegetables and vitamins
    Diet tips and mistakes.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
    Exercises for your joints.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    woman having a good day
    Revitalize your life.

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.