Sofia Vergara, star of Modern Family, is a multi-Emmy and Golden Globe nominee, but she didn’t set out to be a superstar. Vergara’s Colombian heritage forced her and her family to seek a new life in the United States.
“I didn’t want to be an actress,” she told the New York Daily News in 2008. “I wanted to be a dentist, but you never know what life will bring you. But I can’t complain, I’m happy with what I’ve achieved.”
Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, the Latina is one of six children born to a housewife and a cattle farmer.
Behind the scenes, the chuckles were few and far between – the actress’s pain is unspeakable, from her elder brother’s death to her cancer diagnosis.
Rafael Vergara (Rafael Vergara) Vergara, who was 27 years old at the time, was recognized as one of the city’s most socialite guys from Barranquilla. He could play the clarinet, liked the rumba, and was already a parent. Claudia Daniela, his young girl, was a part of his universe. He was born in Florida in 1992. He returned to his homeland two months later to live with his folks.
Vergara moved to Miami in 1994 to work on shows like Fuera de Serie (Out of the Ordinary), but tragedy struck her in 1996.
In 2011, she told Parade, “My older brother, Rafael, was killed in Colombia. A nightmare.”
Her family was “successful,” she said in another unnamed interview (via FOX News), making them targets for kidnapping in Colombia. Rafael went out one day without a protection and was slain in an attempted abduction.
Vergara moved her mother, sister, and younger brother, Julio, to live with her in Miami after her elder brother was murdered.
“My mother stayed after that like a zombie. I wanted to be with the family, so I bought a big house [en Miami, Florida] and we all began to live together,” she said.
Due to the lack of reaction from Colombian authorities, Vergara recruited private detectives. However, little little was known about it.
According to a story in the National Enquirer in 2013, the inquiry into Rafael’s death was being revived when fresh witnesses were discovered. The actress resorted to Twitter to convey her views about the report, which was extensively circulated on celebrity gossip websites such as Perez Hilton. “This is not news. This is desrespectfull [sic]. We know everything we need to know about my brother’s death,” she declared.
“After Rafael died, Julio had a rough time,” Vergara told Parade. “They were very close.”
She said that he went to a Michigan college but “wasn’t ready.” As a result, he began abusing drugs and alcohol, which finally caught up with him.
Vergara would soon see Julio’s descent into drug and alcohol addiction, which led to his being arrested 30 times over the course of ten years on offenses such as public intoxication, assault and violence, grand larceny, and possession of cocaine and marijuana.
Julio was deported to Colombia in 2011 after being detained for marijuana possession.
He was arrested five times in Dade County, Florida, in 2010 on accusations of possession of controlled narcotics, drug paraphernalia, and possession with intent to supply.
“To see somebody dying over 10 years, little by little, that’s the worst punishment. Now he’s like another person,” Sofia once told Parade magazine. “With so many bad things happening, it creates a tough skin. Even when horrible things happen to me, I go on.”
While on the judging panel for America’s Got Talent, Vergara opened up about her troublesome brother once more. “It was really touching for me to hear your song,” an emotional Vergara said after being impacted by competitor Nolan Neal’s performance of “Lost,” an original song he penned about his sobriety. “I know very well the sickness of addiction. My family is completely full of this horrific sickness, and I totally understand. And to be here tonight and to hear that song, for me, it gives me a lot of hope.”
At the age of 28, Sofa Vergara was diagnosed with cancer. In 2000, while at a doctor’s visit for her son Manolo, she was persuaded to have her thyroid tested, and she was subsequently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She got hyperthyroidism after having her thyroid removed. Many people are surprised by Vergara’s diagnosis, but she speaks about it and has acted as a spokesman for hyperthyroidism awareness efforts, like as the “Follow The Script” campaign in 2013.
Vergara told reporters at a press conference to launch the campaign that she had trouble embracing the reality of her situation following her operation. “I got rid of the cancer and then for me it was, ‘Oh shoot, now I have to live with [hyperthyroidism] my whole life … I have to be on medication my whole life,” she said, according to The Huffington Post.