Claire Dunphy is one of TV’s favorite moms from Modern Family. She’s uptight and rigid when it comes to her family but her heart is in the right place. As the wife of Phil Dunphy and mother to three kids (Haley, Alex, and Luke), Claire has her hands full. After dedicating her life to raising a family, she finally got a chance to re-enter the working world working for her dad’s company, Pritchett’s Closets and Blinds, later in the series.
As fans have seen, running a business and raising a family at the same time can be hard to do for Claire, which forced her to do some pretty horrible acts to her loved ones.
Updated on February 14th, 2022, by Lynn Gibbs: Claire Dunphy was a loving mother and dedicated wife, and family member, but there were times when her controlling nature made her hard to be around. As much as the family admired and loved Claire, there were times she was not easy to be around and made situations worse than they had to be. Claire knew she had a toxic side to her that got in the way of her happiness but she couldn’t help it. She was who she was, and her family members had no choice but to accept her.
Claire Ditched The Family For A Solo Motel Room
In ‘Marco Polo,’ the Dunphys had to stay in a motel for a few days while their house was being treated for mold. Phil was excited for the chance to be in tight quarters with his family because he missed having quality time with them.
However, when the family is at the motel for longer than they anticipated, they begin to turn on each other. The real shocker was when Phil saw Claire entering a motel room that wasn’t theirs. He found out she was spending time alone in her own motel room to get a breather away from her family. Phil felt betrayed because all he wanted was to spend time together as a family.
Her New Obsession With Yoga
One of the more annoying things Claire did to the family was when she showed up for yoga class in ‘The Cover-Up.’ Gloria asked Claire to join her to see if the yoga instructor was flirting with her, but things changed when the instructor started flirting with Claire instead.
Claire ended up loving the attention and going to yoga more and more. Not only was Gloria bothered by Claire’s takeover of the class, but Phil was hurt that Claire was only going to class to flirt with the instructor because it “felt good.”
Her Controlling Nature Worsens Most Situations
Haley didn’t always make life easy for Claire and Phil. Her outgoing personality made her lie to her parents so that she could spend time with friends instead. Haley and Claire butted heads because Haley didn’t conform the way Claire wanted her to.
In a lot of ways, Claire’s controlling nature made situations worse than they had to be. She cooked up an entire story about Haley getting married in Las Vegas to Andy — without ever having concrete information. Claire also made the family photo in season 1 a mess because of her tense personality. If there’s a chance to prove someone wrong or get her way, Claire is doing it.
When She Ditched Phil For Her Former College Professor
In ‘Bad Hair Day,’ Claire is excited about her college reunion because it’s a chance to see old friends and even an old flame: her former boyfriend and college professor. Claire didn’t want Phil there because she didn’t feel like introducing him to everyone, she also wanted alone time with her ex.
When Phil randomly showed up to the reunion to surprise Claire, she treated him coldly and spent more time with her former professor. Phil was hurt when he found out she was spending so much time with an old flame, and it showed Claire’s immaturity. Claire eventually apologized to Phil but it’s hard to say what would have happened if he never showed up.
The Tale Of The Lost Wedding Band
‘Sleeper’ was another episode where Claire treated Phil poorly because she liked the attention she got from other men.
In the episode, Phil is confused when Claire’s diamond ring falls out of Lily’s pocket. It’s weird because Claire was wearing said band already. But as it turns out, Claire admitted she lost the ring (that ended up being in Lily’s pocket) when she took it off to flirt her way out of the police ticket. If that wasn’t bad enough, she continued saying that she took it off on more than on occasion because she enjoyed what it felt like to be single… Phil took her comments in stride but that was a low blow.
When She Took Away Awesomeland
Any Modern Family fan knows that Claire is a sucker for Halloween. She loves everything about the spooky holiday. But when work drags her away from transforming her home into a haunted house, she agrees to let Phil take over.
Phil—not being a scary person in the slightest—decides to turn the house into a funhouse called Awesomeland. It’s filled with anything Phil finds awesome. Phil was so excited to see his vision come to life, but unfortunately for him, Claire decides to ditch work, destroy Awesomeland, and turn it back into a haunted home. Phil was devastated and it was one of the couple’s more toxic moments because Claire ignored her husband’s dream.
Claire Lied To Phil About Going To Luke’s Game
Fans don’t see Phil and Claire argue too much. Phil is such a happy-go-lucky guy that it takes a lot for him to be truly angry. In ‘Farm Strong,’ Phil and Claire decide to ditch Luke’s soccer game as a unit because they had too many things to do that day. While Claire is driving home from her errands, she decides to visit Luke’s game anyway — and not tell Phil.
Luke ended up having the game of his life but Claire couldn’t tell Phil that he missed it because it would shatter him. By the end of the episode, Cameron lets the cat out of the bag and Phil feels like an unsupportive dad while also being betrayed by his wife. It didn’t make sense that Claire wouldn’t have told Phil she wound up going.
Claire Was Embarrassed By Her Family When Her Old Friend Val Came To Visit
Claire will do anything to look a particular way to a nemesis of hers. In ‘Snapped,’ Claire wanted her kids out of the house so they wouldn’t embarrass her in front of a women’s business reporter. She does something similar in ‘Moon Landing’ when Claire tries to impress an old friend named Val—who only appeared in one episode—by inviting her over to meet the kids. But when her kids are acting like animals and ruining the house, she is yet again, embarrassed by them.
The same thing happens in ‘Commencement’ when she wants to brag to her enemy about her kids but Luke and Haley keep acting like themselves, which embarrasses her. There’s no doubt that Claire loves her kids but she’s also embarrassed by them.
She Dismisses Alex And Doesn’t See Her As An Adult
Alex is incredibly bright and well-read, and yet Claire seems to doze off whenever she’s catching up with her. She gets bored with Alex’s “snark” from time to time and is rarely interested in Alex’s interests. Over the years, Alex transformed into a lovely young woman, but even then, Claire had a hard time adjusting to Alex as a young woman.
There have been multiple episodes where Claire walks away from her Skype session with Alex out of boredom of says she’s reading her papers but isn’t. In ‘The Long Honeymoon,’ Claire and the family relay to Alex that they were having the “perfect” summer until she got home from her mission trip. This made Alex feel underappreciated and unloved.
Claire Hurt Phil Deeply When She Didn’t Tell Him About The Magic Shop
The episode ‘Ten Years Later’ detailed Jay and Gloria’s 10th wedding anniversary. And while the day should have been about them, Phil found out he could have been the owner of a magic shop years ago but he never returned the store owner’s call.
Phil is shocked by the news because he would have taken the chance in a heartbeat, however, no one gave him the message. He assumes it was Jay who never gave him the message but as audiences find out, it was actually Claire. This was one of the biggest forms of betrayal that Phil endured from his wife and a great example of why Phil and Claire didn’t always make sense.
There Was No Need To Lie To Gloria About Her Whereabouts
In the earlier seasons when Gloria was new to the family, Claire wasn’t always friends with Gloria. Gloria made an effort to get to know and bond with Claire but Claire is very good at getting out of things she doesn’t want to be a part of.
In ‘Virgin Territory,’ Claire tells Gloria she’s going to yoga but when Gloria wants to join, Claire is all of a sudden not feeling well. As Gloria finds out, Claire was never intending on going to yoga — she was going to the shooting range to let off some steam. Gloria followed Claire to the range and the two women bonded, but Claire spent the entire episode lying to Gloria and trying to get rid of her instead of doing it together for fun.
Why Did She Keep Her Heart Issue A Secret For 20 Years?
In the fourth season (‘Heart Broken’), fans find out that Claire suffers from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which she inherited from her mother. While on a romantic date with Phil’s alter-ego Clive Bixby, Claire faints and is rushed to the hospital.
As audiences find out, Claire knew about this miner issue but never relayed the information to her husband of over 20 years. Phil was both in shock and hurt that Claire could keep something like this from him and the kids. Genetic health concerns should have been relayed to other members of the family to cancel out any other concerns if something did happen to Claire.
When She Confused Cam On Purpose To Get Her Way
Fans were excited for Claire and Cameron to get out of their traditional homemaking roles and take on something creative. The two purchased a fixer-upper and decided to flip it for a profit. However, the two business-savvy individuals had very different ideas on how to decorate the house.
With Claire being in charge of the budget, she would make up numbers and due dates just to scare Cam away from any more expensive ideas. Cameron can be dramatic but it’s hurtful being made a fool by a Pritchett.
Claire Actually Called Immigration Services On Gloria
In ‘ClosetCon ’13,’ Claire and Jay get out of town for ClosetCon as a bonding opportunity and to discuss business. Those in the closet industry know how to hold their liquor and things get pretty crazy but what’s more important is that Claire thinks her dad is cheating on Gloria.
When it comes out that he’s not cheating on his wife, it does come out that Jay knew Claire called immigration on Gloria when the two first started dating. Calling immigration services was the worst thing Claire ever did to Gloria because it proves she didn’t like her from the start.
Claire Ruined Dylan’s Proposal
The entire Pritchett/Dunphy/Tucker clan head to Wyoming for a ranch-style vacation in an episode. Haley’s boyfriend Dylan also tags along. This episode was filled with ups and downs but one of the saddest moments is when Dylan proposed to Haley at the bonfire.
Before Dylan could spit out the words, Claire intervened and told them they were too young for a life-long decision. Haley is furious at her mother for ruining her proposal and it was so traumatic that it made Dylan stay in Jackson Hole when everyone else left. Claire wanted Haley with anyone but Dylan, which ruined Haley’s special moment.
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