Real Life

Modern family real-life twins: We hated being Lily

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The parents of the adorable twins who played baby Lily on the sitcom tell HENRY MELLER why the girls have ‘retired’, and turned down a chance to make $34,000 per episode.

Their girls scored a dream role on a top-rating, multi-award-winning US sitcom. Even First Lady Michelle Obama declares it her favourite show. So why did the parents of twins Ella and Jaden Hiller – who shared the role of Lily – remove their daughters from the hit series?

In an exclusive interview with Woman’s Day, Doug and Michelle Hiller reveal their astonishment at the behaviour of other showbiz parents, and explain why – despite promises of fame and fortune – their beautiful four-year-old twins are now “retired”. Doug, a carpenter who never had the slightest interest in his children becoming actors, admits they weren’t prepared for the gruelling grind of filming a hit TV show.

“We saw an ad on Craigslist [classifieds website] looking for identical Asian girl twins, so we sent in a picture and they were cast. It was crazy,” he recalls. Michelle, a stay-at-home mum whose family is originally from the Philippines, says, “The girls were in 36 episodes throughout Seasons 1 and 2 – they didn’t have an agent, so they got $200 per girl per day. All the money they earned went into their college funds.”

As exciting as it was for Doug and Michelle to see their babies mixing with stars like Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson – who play Lily’s gay dads – they soon realised the twins weren’t loving it quite so much. “Halfway through Season 2 their personalities had started to develop, and it was really clear to us that they weren’t enjoying their time on set,” Michelle explains. “So we told the producers the girls wouldn’t be coming back. They tried to get us to change our mind and they offered us better and better terms.” But not even big bucks could convince the pair.

Read more about Doug and Michelle’s decision to take their twins out of the top rating show in this week’s Woman’s Day on sale Monday November 26, 2012.

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