Rico Rodriguez was just 10 years old when he started playing Manny, the son of Gloria Delgado (Sofia Vergara) the much younger second wife of family patriarch Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill) in Modern Family.
But it wasn't Rico's first time on TV. The youngster already had three years behind him after following his older sister Raini into acting.
With bit parts in My Name is Earl, ER, Nip/Tuck and NCIS as well as a regular comedy role on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Rico had some solid Hollywood TV credits in the industry despite his young age.
So when he landed the role of 10-year-old Manny on Modern Family he had no idea the gig would last 11 years.
"When we first started we didn't expect it to blow up like it did and every day we are so thankful to be working together," Rico told CBS News in 2016.
"It's such a fantastic cast and I know I can speak for everyone and say we love working with each other. It is such an honour and a privilege to work on a show like Modern Family."
But just how alike are Rico and his character Manny?
"When I was younger I would more likely say that we were the complete opposite; but as I've grown into the character I feel like now I have kind of followed his way of life. Meaning how I present myself in public and trying to dress right and write poetry — it's just all coming together," he said.
"Manny is kind of becoming a little like me, and I've become a little like him, which is awesome. So we're kind of like the same person."
Despite growing up in Hollywood, Rico remains down to earth, something he credits his family for. "They really kept a solid ground underneath me and they kept me down to earth," he told ABC in 2016.
"When [I'm] acting, I'm putting on a character, but when I'm home I'm Rico — Rico that still has to take out the trash, do my chores around the house and then do schooling and stuff like that so I really credit my mom and dad. They're great parents."
But ahead of the final season of the show, there was another family Rico was losing. "That's going to be tough. I've been on this show for 11 amazing years and this is my family," Rico told HollywoodLife.
"They're my second family, so I know that once we've finished in March, I am going to think we're going to come back and start up in July.
"It's going to be weird when that time of the year comes around again and we know we're not going to get together to start filming again. It's definitely going to be weird and an adjustment period.
"But it can also be fun to venture out. I think all the cast can venture out and do things that may be different than what we have done already, but it'll be weird. But I think we'll still keep in touch and everything."
However what he couldn't predict then was a global pandemic meaning it was difficult for him to both keep in touch and move on to more projects.
But that hasn't stopped him from having fun. Judging by his Instagram account, post-pandemic, he's been getting out and enjoying life.
He also got to meet up with his on-screen mum Sofia Vergara by making a guest appearance on America's Got Talent on which she's a judge.
And it was clear she was thrilled to see him.
"She treats me like one of her kids. She's definitely like my second mother," he revealed in 2020. And they continue to send each other messages of love and encouragement via their social media accounts.
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