Allergies Are No Laughing Matter for Julie Bowen

Julie Bowen and her “Modern Family” character, Claire Dunphy, have three things in common: They have three children, are passionate about their families and will stop at nothing to make their little ones feel protected, happy and safe

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
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More: Should I have your first name changed to Emmy and your last name to Winner?
Julie Bowen: Oh, gross! [Laughs.] I would have to die before you see my name appear like that.

More: You should be celebrating your second Emmy win for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for your work as Claire on ABC's Modern Family.
JB: While I am so deeply flattered and thrilled by it, there is also the factor of horror and disbelief because it is such a “me, me, me” moment. OK, yes, I am secretly happy, so I guess I am deeply conflicted by it all [laughs]. 

More: I read somewhere that your oldest son, Oliver, broke your last trophy. Is that true?
JB: Yes, he did, but let me say it was my fault because I let him play with it. He is not traditionally great at hand-eye coordination or ball sports. Anyway, he was playing with it in the backyard with a plastic golf club. All of a sudden he made a perfect shot and golfed the golden ball right out of the lady’s hands.

More: Oh my God! Did you freak out?
JB: It was such a good shot that part of me was actually proud of him at that moment, because he never has connected quite like that. I should also add, the shot was a clean break, so she now has the ball falling over one arm.  

More: Speaking of kids, in addition to making you laugh, your oldest gave you quite a scare while you were in the middle of filming a scene. Take me back to that day.  
JB: Oh yeah, that was frightening. I was pregnant with my twins [John and Gus], which was taking up a lot of my mental and physical energy while I was shooting a scene on Boston Legal. I noticed I received a text from my husband saying, “I think we have a problem with Oliver. He had peanut butter.” I am thinking, Nah, he has had it before and was even stung by a bee. Although I was never a nervous-Nellie-type mom, when I saw the text picture, Oliver looked like he had been hit in the face numerous times. He was red, puffy, swollen and disfigured.

More: What was your reaction?
JB: I was so panicked, especially because I was filming all the way out in Manhattan Beach and was far away from where I was shooting. My husband had to immediately drive him to the emergency room, where he was treated with epinephrine. We soon came to learn that allergies can come to the surface after the second or third exposure to something like nuts and they can also get progressively worse over time.

More: That’s a tough lesson to learn on the fly.  
JB: Not only do we have to avoid nuts, but we also have to carry around an auto-injector.

More: I would freak out. 
JB: I did and I didn’t. I mean, I am the type of person who thinks there is always nothing wrong. I am a mind-over-matter person. I think there is a great gift in that, because while I didn’t ignore that there was a problem, I knew there was something wrong and I knew it had to be dealt with.  When my son went to the hospital and reacted so positively to the medication, we learned how to help him.

More: Now you are putting your celebrity to good use by paying it forward.
JB: Yes. I teamed up with a campaign called Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis ( This site is so kid friendly and even has cartoon characters, which children will love. It basically teaches everyone how to spot the signs and symptoms and what to do if someone you know has a food allergy. In my case, I am glad it was so severe. It forced me not to blow it off and pay attention. Many people see allergic reactions on a minor scale and think it is nothing. Trust me, I have been there; it is not.

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