Julie Bowen: Brood of Boys Is the ‘Best Adventure’

05/19/2010 at 06:00 PM ET
Tony DiMaio/Startraks

For Julie Bowen, raising three sons is “the best adventure” — even if she’s the sole woman at home!

“It’s all boys at my house,” the Modern Family star told Moms & Babies at the 69th Annual Peabody Awards in New York on Monday.

“It’s a lot of trucks, cars and balls. There’s no princesses or lipstick or shiny shoes. But it’s okay, I love them anyhow.”

In fact, her sons — Oliver, 3, and fraternal twins Gus and John, who just turned 1 — are so active that the twins’ first words were sports-related.

“Both of them, their first word was ‘ball.’ It was really ball!” says Bowen.

But being the only female may take some adjusting to for the actress, 41, who is the middle of three sisters.

“I grew up in a family of all girls so this is karmatic justice for torturing my father for so long,” she laughs. “Now I’m the only female in the house of four males. This is just a taste of what he had to suffer for a long time.”

Raising three children with her husband, real estate investor Scott Phillips, and working on Modern Family has been a real juggling act for Bowen.

“I struggle just like anybody else,” says the actress, who’s the first to admit that she’s no supermom. “I’m lucky enough to have help and with three kids under three, there’s never enough help. I don’t know how the other moms do it.”

As far as personalities go, “Gus is very extroverted, friendly and needy,” Bowen explains. “John is very independent and he’s way cooler about things. Oliver is understanding and the loving big brother.”

“Anything relaxed or nice about them is from their dad,” she adds. “Anything uptight is from me!”

— Paul Chi

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , Multiples , News , Parenting

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 46 comments

ctl on

Yay, good for her! It’s refreshing to hear a woman to have a positive attitude towards raising boys. I’m so tired of hearing women feel sorry for themselves because they have one or more boys rather than the baby girls they always dreamed of.

izzy on

i know she was being humorous but it sucks how she thinks having 3 boys is karmatic justice because her father “suffered”. i think its amazing when a family only has boys or only has girls. it allows the opposite sex parent to have a very different impact on their children then if there were both boys and girls.

Jen DC on

@ izzy: If you know she’s being humorous, why don’t you see the joke? She obviously *doesn’t* think it’s “karmic justice” to be living the reverse of her father – that’s why she said it.

I’m glad she’s having a great time with her boys.

m-dot on

Cute story! I grew up the only girl w 3 older bros. All but 2 of my 19 1st-cousins were male…i’m married and now I’m expecting a little boy. LOL Will I ever escape?

mochababe73 on

I have two sons, and I must say that I love every minute of it. I have no desire to try to have a girl. I am experiencing things with my two boys that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I didn’t have a brother so this has been fun for me. Of course, sometimes I feel as though I live in a frat house, but it’s fun. Never growing up did I think that I would be a “football mom”, but I am. That has definitely toughened me up. You oftentimes have to let the testosterone run its course, and my house is never quiet except at bath/bedtime.

Joanne W on

I too am raising three boys and loving every minute of it! My sons are older than yours but that just means I have enjoyed more. You will enjoy every sport , bump and bruise that comes along the way. As a child growing up with three sisters, I now can relate to the things my dad had to contend with, the only difference being he never got the bathroom and I never get a dry seat in there! I find myself thanking God that I have boys, it’s a lot more wild and crazy , but a whole lot less drama! By the way I also had a singleton first then fraternal twins. My only advice is have one more it will even the playing field. ENJOY!

Ashley on

I love this article. I myself have 4 wonderful boys and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am so sick of hearing about mom’s who don’t want to have more kids unless they know they can have a specific gender. Why not just be happy that you HAVE kids. Some people aren’t lucky enough to experience that.

Natalia on

Boys Rule! I have two sons, my oldest is 5 and hes already putting on some of my husbands cologne and gel, witch of course drives my husband crazy! I love being the only girl growing up with two sisters there were constant fights about clothes, makeup and shoes!No more:)

MomTo3BeautifulBoys on

Wow! Who knew I had so much in common with her? I am the middle of three girls and as a mom I have 3 boys. So, Julie I know EXACTLY how you feel. I love my boys to pieces and even though I grew up w/ no boys in our house, I couldn’t imagine being anything but a “boy mom”. Cars and sports galore here too 😉

kcarter on

I know how she feels…kind of… I have 2 boys and one more on the way. I grew up with all brothers and no sisters and no girl cousins. My husbands family is all boys as well. We tried for a girl each time but lo and behold I am meant to be the mother of ALL boys. I wouldn’t trade my boys for the world (or any girl) and it has definitely been an experience as I am an extremely girly girl!!! Best of luck to her and all of those with multiple boys… its nice to hear that I’m not the only one, as the reactions I ususally get are of shock followed by “well you can always try again” or “are you trying to build a baseball team?” I’m blessed and I know it!

2boyz2go on

I love having 2 boys! My house is always a mess, but never, ever boring! I grew up with one sister, and had no idea what it would be like with little boys. It’s awesome! I knew someone who was so depressed that her 3rd child was also a boy, she was down about it for 3 weeks. I couldn’t understand how having 3 healthy, beautiful children could make her sad. My first was born with a cardiac defect, and had open heart surgery at 6 months. Anyone who says they don’t care what gender their next baby is, as long as it’s healthy is absolutely correct. When I found out our second was also a boy, I was thrilled, as soon as I found out he had a healthy heart, and no other problems.

Firewife on

I too am a mommy of boys, 2, and boy oh boy it’s tough for this girlie-girl of a mommy to keep them busy. Not to mention my manly man of a hubby is gone every third day at the firestation. I can’t keep up. : )

When I start feeling like I need a girl, I call my best friend and hear her little girl throwing a fit over what outfit to wear and I breath a sigh of relief!! haha

Girls are precious stones- boys are diamonds in the ROUGH!!!

Love your new role Julie and loved you in ED too!!! You are amazing.


Laura on

Ashley, I rarely hear people say they would rather not have kids unless they get a specific gender. Usually people have a preference but that doesn’t mean they won’t be overjoyed with any sex when they finally have a baby. For me, I want a little girl so badly. But I just want to be a mom so I will be THRILLED with a baby boy someday as well. Even if I have all boys, I know that I will be in love with them and happy. So though I would love a little girl, I certainly wouldn’t say that I’d rather not have kids at all if I can’t have a girl!

aja1223 on

I also found myself surprised at how much I love being a momma to boys. I am a former sorority girl and very close to my mom, so everyone assumed I would want girls, but I am thrilled with my boys! I feel like a better boy mom than a girl mom. I love their wild spirits. That said, I would have been thrilled with a girl or girls too- whatever God gives us we’re happy with!

Regina on

Women who say they are completely happy having all boys remind me of women who say they are happy with their curves. If you say so.

Kimber Christian on

Regina….so true and thanks for making me laugh this morning!

Liliana on

Excuse me, Regina?

Why wouldn’t I be happy with the two sons I have? Not every woman desires a girl.

JMO on

I know someone who was pregnant and she wanted a girl so bad that when she found out it was a boy she cried for days. Then her little guy was born and she said she felt so selfish because she couldn’t imagine life without him.
I def. think its fine to want a specific gender. There is nothing wrong with saying, “I’d really like a boy/girl someday!” I think people have an idea in their head of what it will be like and when it’s not how they planned it their world for a moment feels like it’s flipped upside down. But most people get over it and realize that children are a blessing and it doesn’t matter what equipment they have downstairs 😀 Girls can be just as tough as boys and some boys can be just as sensitive as girls. I think it’s wonderful and sounds like Julie embraces it all with humor and joy. I myself couldn’t imagine a house full of boys. I have 3 nephews. I know what my brother and SIL go through. But I’m sure I’ll find it wonderfully amazing if it turns out to be my destiny too!

lizzielui on


Why on Earth wouldn’t a woman be happy with her curves, let alone her little boys? So only a stick thin figure and little girls can make a woman happy? HA! Good laugh.

Regina on


As I said, if you say so.

Emily on

Regina – I am truly sorry you will never understand what it means to be a mother of boys. Before I had kids I always thought I would only ever want girls and worried that I would feel deprived if I never had a daughter. I have 2 sons and no plans for any more and my family feels 100% complete. Yes a girl would be wonderful if we did ever have one more; but I can say with complete honesty that I would be COMPLETELY HAPPY with another boy.

I don’t know your story. Perhaps YOU are dissatified b/c you only have boys and long for a girl or you only have girls and no desire for a boy. Whatever it is, don’t assume everyone feels the same way you do because it just makes you sound ignorant.

Regina on

Emily, don’t waste your time feeling sorry for me. I am thrilled that you are happy with your boys. I am so very happy for you and wish you all the best. You are indeed lucky to be so happy with them. I am glad you do not feel that anything is missing by not having girls.

I stand by my original statement.

Stella Bella on

Good one, Regina. LOL

JB on

I will be honest here I dont have kids.. and I guess im in the minority but when I do have a child I DONT want girls… i want boys and thats it .. I love mother/son relationships

lizzielui on

Obviously Regina I do say so, hence my response. As a very healthy personal trainer, I love every curve on my body and encourage other women to do the same. Curves are what fill out that little black dress on the weekend and gives off that certain sex appeal. Curves do not automatically mean fat or that someone is unhealthy. Being healthy and fit does not automatically mean being thin. The idea that someone would be ashamed of having actual feminine curves, in favor of a more masculine physique is beyond me. Whether you want to believe it or not there are plenty of women who embrace their curves and love themselves just fine. Same goes for a woman having boys and being happy with that. It may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t everyone else’s or that others are secretly wishing things were different as you suggest.

Nina on

Regina, just because you might not feel complete without having a daughter someday doesn’t mean the rest of the female population thinks the same. Stand by your statement all you want but realize that it only holds true for you and not everyone. It’s not wise to make sweeping generalizations about people you do not know.

momOf3boyz on

After I read this article, I went back to check the comments section…knowing for sure, that there would be some “hater” all jealous about Moms being proud to raise thier sons. AND I WAS RIGHT!!!!! Sounds like Regina’s hubby really wanted a boy, but she couldn’t give him one. Jokes on you, sweetheart 🙂

izzy on

everybody ignore regina.

she is one of those people who like instigating things on public forums. she’s hiding behind her computer, laughing her butt off because you all are doing exactly what she wanted.

Emily on

Yah I was going to respond to her but it’s not worth it.

poppy on

How on earth does Regina think she knows what every woman thinks or feels? I have two boys and to me what matters more than gender is that they are my precious CHILDREN whatever sex they are and I adore them.

ctl on

The one thing I will say about “Regina” is that she provides perfect evidence of the fact that having an unhealthy body image goes hand-in-hand with a fear of having boys rather than girls.

It actually makes total sense, if you think about it: the women who are obsessed with having daughters to dress up like little dolls are the same women who are hung up over their appearance and other superficial qualities. It’s all about being vain and shallow.

Thank you, Regina, for helping me to finally make sense of this phenomenon!! It’s been bugging me for years, but now that I understand, I will never again be annoyed when I hear a woman express an anti-boy attitude.

Regina on

Boy, you gals really get riled! Did I hit a nerve?

Nella on

WoW! This topic became dramatic. I’m happy for Julie and her family. I think whatever gender you have you should be happy with it. I also think it’s okay to have a preferance. I honestly don’t know too many women that are “anti-boys”. In most cultures and countries boys are the preferred gender, so the whole anti-boy thing is ridiculous to me since most people say boys are drama free, easier to deal with as teens etc..All of that is b.s. it all depends on the child and not the gender. I personally would love to experience both genders, but if you want a guaranteed gender then simply adopt if you can.

MiB on

I don’t have any kids yet, but I do love my curves.

Seranna on

Regina, what a stupid and ignorant person you are!
I have 2 girls and would love a lttle boy.

Both are great- whatever you are blessed with.

Casey on

Oh Regina, ignorance is bliss. It’s sad to see that you get off by throwing around ridiculous comments on a random website. Perhaps it’s time for a new hobby, dear.

Regina on


Just like you, I enjoy my hobby. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

Regina on


I hope your children, boys or girls, do not turn ot to be as mean and nasty as you are. Calling people names is rude.

Casey on

How sad. All the best, though!

Regina on

Casey, all the best to you, too! I appreciate your good wishes. It’s great having enough free time to get online and communicate with total strangers, isn’t it? There are so many other, more productive things, we could be doing, yet here we are, both of us, posting on this very important subject.

Julie on

I am a proud momma of two boys. My oldest is four and my little man is still waiting to make his appearence. I was hoping for a girl because my mom really, really wants a granddaughter but it’s a little boy! I’m so freaking happy that I’m able to even have another baby because we tried for awhile and nothing worked. My son is a little mad though, because he was hoping for a puppy. I couldn’t imagine my life without t-ball and stepping on legos and cars at 2 in the morning. I love my little men. 🙂

Casey on

Oh, it is! I’ve been out with a broken leg since Wednesday so internet surfing, television watching, and book reading have been the highlights of the past few days. If I was in my normal routine, I wouldn’t be so lucky to have conversations with such wonderful individuals. You must have plenty of spare time on hand since you’ve replied back to so many people! Perhaps, after this, we’ll find each other on another posting. Here’s hoping!

Sharon on

I don’t have kids, but lately have been hoping that I will have a boy someday. And Regina’s statement re: boys and curves – very naive.

Regina on

Sharon, someone commenting parenting issues is what’s naive.

Kelli on

This is beautiful! Good for her!! Her boys are precious.

Ms CLG on

Ok I have 3 boys and I have to say they are MOST loving, tender, exciting individuals and I adore them. I thank the lord above I DONT have a drama filled girl. Just call me extremely lucky!!!!! Here is a nice little tidbit–Oh for every girl you have you increase your risk of divorce by 5%. Hmmmmmmm Geee I wonder why. Ha Ha LMAO…….I always think how stupid people are to feel bad for me.Ha Ha trust me Im always laughing back at them.