Ed O'Neill has likely taken hundreds of selfies with young, starstruck, blond fans. It just so happened that, unbeknownst to O'Neill at the time, one of those fans was Britney Spears.
"I didn't know it was her," the Modern Family star told Ellen DeGeneres about the only-could-happen-to-a-sitcom-legend moment in an interview airing on Monday's Ellen.
The moment happened at LAX as O'Neill was waiting to board a flight to Hawaii. "She came up and said oh Mr. O'Neill I love Modern Family," he recalled. You're my favorite on the show. And I was like, 'Well I'm here, I'm the only one here'...you know."
After sufficiently fawning over the actor, Spears secured the photo her inner fan-girl so desperately wanted.
Luckily, that wasn't the end of it. Spears of course tweeted the photo of herself with O'Neill, captioning it, "Fancy running into this guy! Such a sweetheart!!"
In the pic the smiling Spears is sitting next to a cross-legged O'Neill, who was sporting a Modern Family headband. If only Britney had been wearing such identifiable gear!
It wasn't until the next day that O'Neill realized his oversight. The 70-year-old actor told DeGeneres, "My manager texts me and goes, 'What is this? 53,000 likes. It's Britney Spears'… I mean. Look at the look on my face. Do I look like I'm sitting with Britney Spears?"
Michael Rozman / Warner Bros.
He does look decidedly not thrilled—but what a story!
Additionally, Ed and Ellen spoke on their respective roles in the hotly anticipated Finding Dory, out in theaters June 17.
The voices of Hank and Dory, respectively, agreed that the film had been a roughly three-year effort.
"You make $9.00 as well, right?" Ellen teased.
The actor replied, "I make $8.50."
She countered, "$8.50… well, I'm the star, so $9.00 an hour," sending the crowd into hysterics.
Watch O'Neill's full interview with Ellen on Finding Dory and his Britney blunder above.