Sarah Hyland, who plays Haley on the ABC series, shed her own tears while watching Wednesday’s Halloween-themed episode, which revealed the death of Jay’s (Ed O’Neill) ex-wife and Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell’s (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) mother, DeDe, played by Shelley Long.
“I thought it was an amazing episode. It made me cry,” Hyland told ET’s Katie Krause at the No Kid Hungry event in Los Angeles, California, on Friday. “Ed O’Neill is just so brilliant. He always makes me cry. There’s just something about an old man crying that gets me. And, especially when it’s my grandpa.”
“Julie and Jesse were just so brilliant and it was funny, it was sad, it was tearful -- but happy tears,” she continued. “And, the thing that kills me the most in that episode was the letter of how DeDe died. I loved it. It was a good episode.”
While Hyland’s social media posts about the episode caused some viewers to complain that she teased and ruined the storyline for them, Hyland laughed, “Oh, just you wait,” in response.
Hyland also shared how the copious amounts of junk food which she ate during the episode made her sick, but instilled some valuable lessons for future parenthood.
“There was this scene where [I'm eating] Twizzlers [and] I don’t like licorice -- it makes me want to vomit. So, we’re walking up the stairs and I have to be, like, talking non-stop, eating Twizzlers. I almost threw up, like, three times,” she said. “And there’s this scene where I’m having a lollipop and eating all of the chocolate and then spraying whipped cream into my mouth from the can, and oh my goodness, I ate my entire weight in candy -- which on a Friday night is completely normal for me to be doing while crying watching, like, Bridget Jones’s Diary.”
“But when you’re doing it because you have to, it takes the fun out of it and god bless Sophia [Vergara] -- I love her -- but she couldn’t say this one line and I kept having the whipped cream in my mouth and had to swallow, then do it again,” she added. “This is sounding weird, but I went home and was in so much pain. I was like, ‘This is what adults say to you as a kid -- don’t eat too much candy, it’ll upset your stomach.’ And, now I’m going to be that mom that’s like, ‘Don’t eat the candy.’”
In the meantime, she’s doing her part to help those kids who are less fortunate than others, supporting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, in hopes of raising awareness that one in six children go hungry in the United States. Hyland says the movement has helped provide 775 million meals to needy children since launching eight years ago.
“I’ve been involved with this program since 2010 -- I remember doing a photo shoot with Hailee Steinfeld when we both were babies, Hyland recalled. “But she was even more of a baby and now she’s a woman and I’m terrified of it! But, it’s crazy that it’s been eight years. It’s just so amazing and a testament to this program what people can do to end things that should have an end be put to them, like child hunger."