12 Facts About Sitcom Moms That Remind Us We Need To Call Home



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Vote up the most interesting sitcom mom facts you would share with your family matriarch. 

TV can be a comforting thing, and there's nothing more uplifting than a sitcom mom. They make us laugh, keep the TV dads in line, and supply the much-needed warm hug at the end of the episode. 

These women aren't always the characters they play on TV, however. Like our own parents, they've lived their lives, made mistakes, and said things they probably shouldn't have. Reba McEntire was a country music superstar before getting her own show in 2001. Though her character was unapologetically blunt in The Golden Girls, Estelle Getty let the writers know that some jokes were off-limits. As a mother, Florence Henderson wasn't always like the calm Carol Brady.

Vote up the new things you learned about your favorite 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s sitcom moms.

  • Estelle Getty Refused To Tell A Domestic Violence Joke On 'Golden Girls'
    Photo: NBC

    On The Golden Girls, Sophia Pertillo, played by Estelle Getty, liked speaking her mind. Getty, however, said in a 1992 interview that she refused to do jokes about “gratuitous pain,” such as lines aimed at fat people, or that demeaned the LGBTQ+ community. She shared about refusing to deliver a quip that made light of domestic violence:

    I remember once, they wanted me to do a line and the end of the tagline was, “My husband said, ‘You do that and I’ll beat the hell out of you.’” And I said I wouldn’t do that line. I don’t make jokes about beating. They said, “Oh, it’s just a joke!” and I said, “I won’t do it."

    770 votes
  • Lucille Ball Watched 'I Love Lucy' Reruns With Desi Arnaz On His Deathbed
    Photo: CBS

    Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz not only had one of TV's most well-known marriages, but were also a power couple in Hollywood.

    The two divorced over Arnaz's infidelity and drinking in 1960 after 20 years of marriage, but remained friendly, running Desilu Productions and co-parenting their children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr.

    In the documentary Lucy and Desi, Lucie talks about how her father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1986. When he decided not to seek treatment, Lucie called her mom and told her to come visit him:

    When she got there, I let her sit in his room. And I did the goofiest thing. I put on old I Love Lucy shows and let them watch them together. I wasn't in the room. I just heard what was going on from outside the door and I could hear them laughing together. And then she left, she went home, and she told me she cried all the way home. 

    It was the last time the former couple saw each other. Lucie Arnaz called her mother a month later so the pair could talk one more time. They told one another they loved each other, and Desi passed the next day. 

    650 votes
  • We know she's a survivor from the theme song of her show, but Reba McEntire wasn't a star her entire life. On Late Night with Seth Meyers, the country music legend told the host about her first night performing at the Grand Ole Opry in 1982. 

    After driving over 700 miles to Nashville with her family from Oklahoma to Tennessee to perform at the theater, McEntire was told she was not on the security list. After being told to go home, the family went to a gas station, where McEntire called her agent, and was told to go back. They were let in with great apologies from the staff, McEntire said, until she received more unexpected news from the Opry staff:  

    They came up to me and said, “Reba, we're gonna have to take one of your songs tonight.” I said, “I only get to do one?” They said, “Yeah.” I said, “Why?” They said, ”Well, Dolly Parton just pulled into the parking lot and we're gonna give her one of your songs." I said, “Shoot! She can have both of them. Can I meet her?”

    494 votes
  • Sofía Vergara Was Shocked By Her 'Modern Family' Costar Ed O'Neill's Voice
    Photo: ABC

    Sofía Vergara had watched Ed O'Neill on Married with Children while growing up in Columbia, and as she told Howard Stern in 2015, she never believed she would be TV-married to the former professional football player. 

    When she did get to work with O'Neill on Modern Family, she was surprised by how his voice sounded. Married with Children, like most American imports, was dubbed in Colombia. Vergara thought O'Neill's voice would be deeper. 

    It was kinda weird. It was like, “Ed, I grew up thinking you had this Antonio Banderas sexy voice.”

    334 votes
  • Debra Jo Rupp Didn't Know 'That '70s Show' Took Place In The '70s
    Photo: Fox
    300 VOTES

    Debra Jo Rupp Didn't Know 'That '70s Show' Took Place In The '70s

    With an iconic laugh and caring demeanor, Debra Jo Rupp carved a place in our hearts as one of TV's best sitcom moms, Kitty Forman on That ‘70s Show. However, she admitted when doing press for the Netflix reboot, That ’90s Show, she thought it was a contemporary piece until she filmed the first episode: 

    I think I was in a bit of shock because I did not realize that this was set in the '70s until I saw the appliances on the set. I somehow missed that part in the script. 

    It turns out the show was named something else when they filmed the pilot. “It was called The Kids Are All Right or something," she reminded her costar Kurtwood Smith. 

    300 votes
  • 'Married With Children' Star Katey Sagal Was Fired As A Backup Singer By Bob Dylan
    Photo: Fox

    Long before she was married with children, riding around on a Harley, or married to John Goodman on The Conners, Katey Sagal was a backup singer. 

    She sang for artists including Etta James, Tanya Tucker, Gene Simmons, and was even one of Bette Midler's famous Harlettes. 

    One of the hardest days in her career took place in 1978, she said, when folk legend Bob Dylan fired her with little notice:

    I was like 19 or 20 years old. I shouldn’t have been in the band in the first place. I’d already been in a band with one of these girls that was a friend of Bob’s. She said Bob’s looking for singers, come with me to the rehearsal. So I went. He just hired us, he didn’t even listen to us. So before I knew it, I was in the band. I worked with him for like two months in rehearsal, then he fired all of us girls a week before the tour. But I still always consider it like I sang with Bob Dylan.

    241 votes