You may know her as fun-loving mom Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on ABC’s Modern Family (2009), but Vergara’s history before her acting career goes much deeper than you may think.
Sofia Vergara grew up in Columbia with her four siblings, and parents. After attending a bilingual high school, she then dropped out of university, moved to Miami, Florida, and became a model. She acted in TV ads, shows and several films before landing her breakthrough role on Modern Family in 2009.
Now you know a brief history, keep reading to find out more about her strict upbringing, tragic moments, and how she fought her way to the top.
Childhood in Columbia
On the 10th of July in 1972, Vergara was born into a strict, but loving Catholic family that focused on strong traditional values.
She was the youngest of five children to her father Julio Enrique Vergara Robayo, and her mother Margarita Vergara. He was a cattle farmer, and she was a homemaker.
Due to the success of her father’s cattle ranch, Sofia was able to go to a private elementary school called Marymount International School in Barranquilla. As it was an international school, she learned English during her attendance.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, drug smuggling and trade was prevalent in Columbia. This led to a lot of violence, making it a dangerous place to live.
Vergara’s family were moderately safe due to their economic stance, but this also made them possible targets.
After school, she decided to study at a Columbian university, doing dentistry as her major. After three years, she dropped out, and it was around this time that a photographer saw her on a beach and gave her work as a model.
She was hesitant at first, due to her rigid Catholic upbringing, but eventually took the offer.
At 18 years old she married Joe Gonzalez, whom she had met and fell in love with in high school. They divorced in ‘93, but before that she had given birth to her son Manolo at just 18 years old.
Before making it in Hollywood and also during her career, Vergara had faced very difficult times.
In 1998, while she was filming a television series called Fuera de serie, she received the horrific news that her brother Rafael has passed away. He was murdered as part of a kidnapping attempt that had failed.
Sofia once shared in an interview, “We come from a successful family, and he knew he was a target for kidnapping,” she added, “he always had bodyguards. Then one day he went out alone and was shot dead. I was devastated.”
After this tragic and shocking news, Vergara decided to move to Miami in Florida.
Her next adversity came at 28 years old, when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She underwent surgery to remove her thyroid, which resulted in hyperthyroidism.
Fast-forward to 2011, and her brother Julio was deported from the US back to Columbia as a result of 30 arrests surrounding drugs.
Vergara has also been in a legal battle over frozen embryos with Nick Loeb, her ex-fiance. In 2019, he requested that she pay him $120,000 in legal fees over the dispute.
Starting Out Her Career
1989 was Sofia’s first taste of the small screen when she landed a role in a Pepsi commercial at just 17 years old. Despite its success, she briefly moved away from the entertainment industry.
Just over 5 years later, she became a co-host on Fuera de serie, and worked on the job until ‘98. This was when she moved to Florida, and was cast in several movies like Four Brothers (2005) and Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns (2008).
In 2009, she auditioned for the role of Gloria on Modern Family, and her life immediately changed as she and the show became an instant success.