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‘The Brady Bunch’ Star Florence Henderson Was a Mother of 4 Children Who Were Jealous of How She Treated Her On-Screen Kids

Oyin Balogun
Aug 27, 2021
09:00 A.M.
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Iconic actress Florence Henderson, the matriarch of the hit TV series "The Brady Bunch," had an almost perfect on-screen family, but off the screen, her children wished their mom was like the woman they watched on TV.


Florence Henderson was a beloved TV mom for many who watched her hit show, "The Brady Bunch," where she played sweet mom, Carol Brady, that most viewers fell in love with.

Although her Brady clan was perfect, her real-life children did not seem to get the same treatment from their famous mom, which made them jealous of her on-screen children.

"The Brady Bunch" cast including Florence Henderson and her on-screen children | Photo: Getty Images


In real life, Henderson had four children; Barbara, Elizabeth, Robert, and Joseph. In an interview, the late actress opened up on what it felt like juggling between her role as Carol and being a mom to her kids.

While her kids were younger, they wondered why their mom was gentle with her on-screen children but would often yell at them, and she would reply that it was against the rules of the set to do so.

Maureen McCormick, Florence Henderson, Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland, Robert Reed, and Susan Olsen on "The Brady Bunch" circa 1972 | Photo: Getty Images


Henderson was forty when she began her Brady journey, and she had the help of her husband Ira Bernstein and children, although it was weird for her kids to see her play a mom on TV.

In the years that followed, Henderson became known as "America's mom."

A portrait of Florence Henderson the star of "The Brady Bunch" on January 01, 1977 | Photo: Getty Images


Playing Carol was difficult for her kids, especially at school. Their peers were curious to know their mom because they found it difficult to understand her character in the hit show.

Over time, her children got used to having a mom who was an actress and no longer found her weird. Henderson, in return, tried not to bring work home but did her best to remain the role of "mom" when she was with her kids.

Publicity handout of the cast of "The Brady Bunch" television series on January 01, 1969 | Photo: Getty Images


Two of her children were eventually featured on the show. Her eldest daughter, Barbara, appeared in three episodes, and her son Joseph made some brief appearances on the series.

At the time of her death at age 82, Henderson was considered one of the biggest names from her generation of actors.

Ira Bernstein and Florence Henderson at the “Scopus Awards” on December 5, 1985, at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California | Photo: Getty Images


Henderson recalled being on the set with her kids as sweet. Her children instantly connected with other kids on the set of the series, making their mom wish to have them more often than they appeared.

In the years that followed, Henderson became known as "America's mom." Her calm smile and gesture alongside her touching counsels to her on-screen kids soon became what viewers loved most about the show.

American actors Robert Reed and Florence Henderson stand in a hotel lobby with their television family in a still from the TV series 'The Brady Bunch,' circa 1969. (L-R) Christopher Knight, Barry Williams, Mike Lookinland, Maureen McCormick, Eve Plumb, Susan Olsen, Henderson, Reed | Photo: Getty Images

Henderson rose from a tough childhood to become one of the dearest actresses of her time. According to reports, her father was an alcoholic who abused her while her mother abandoned her while she was 12.

At the time of her death at age 82, Henderson was considered one of the biggest names from her generation of actors. To date, her legacy is untouched in Hollywood.


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