Before the show
DeDe and Jay were married for 35 years before getting divorced prior to the start of the series. After growing apart, and she said that wanted to "look for something else" ("Princess Party"). Jay says that he wanted to divorce her early on but was persuaded by a trip to Disneyland with their kids to keep the family together at least until they grow up ("Disneyland"). DeDe would later express guilt over breaking the family apart, and having the need to prove something every time she visits them.
It has been heavily implied that DeDe may be mentally ill due to her somewhat manipulative, inappropriate and sometimes aggressive ways. Jay also says she once killed a cat which she doesn't remember ("Arrested").
DeDe has two sisters BeBe and CeCe, the former of which is said to be attracted to Jay ("Valentine's Day 4: Twisted Sister").
DeDe was more accepting of Mitchell's sexual orientation than Jay was when he first came out. Among her children, she is closer to Mitchell as she often asks him to do things she doesn't want to ("Crazy Train"), and refers to him as "my beautiful boy."
About a year before the start of the show, during her ex-husband Jay and Gloria's wedding, DeDe got drunk and caused a scene during her wedding toast, broke things and destroyed the wedding cake while being taken by Mitchell Pritchett, Cameron Tucker and Phil Dunphy. They would later refer to it as "The Incident".
Soon after the incident, DeDe claims to have taken a "new journey" by practicing meditation and was planning to move to French Canada with the man she had been seeing.
DeDe is portrayed with little redeeming qualities. Although she is still considered part of the family, DeDe seems to be in unpleasant terms with the other members: she is aggressive towards Gloria, often trying to physically attack her, is passive aggressive towards Cameron about his weight ("The Incident"), and is often critical of Claire's appearance and homemaking skills. In regards to Mitchell, DeDe has a habit of being extremely manipulative, often using him as a means to an end. However, she seems to be very good friends with Manny as they write letters to each other's talking about their personal issues and common interests ("Arrested"). DeDe is also an author and poet.
DeDe and Jay were married to each other in the past and were obviously very happy together. One time, Jay wanted to divorce her after a spectacular fight they had when Jay taped over Dallas to record an NFL game that, ironically, featured the Dallas Cowboys) but was inspired by an animatronic Abraham Lincoln exhibit at Disneyland to stick things out until Claire and Mitchell reached adulthood. However, Jay and DeDe are on excellent terms, even after their divorce. In "Princess Party", Jay consoled DeDe after she felt foolish to have been involved with Claire's ex-boyfriend Robbie where Jay also says that he didn't have the guts to end their marriage, with Dede replying "That's because you're a decent man." and in "The Incident", that they had grown apart for years and DeDe 'left to find herself'.
DeDe and her son, Mitchell appear to have quite a close relationship. This close relationship would often be used when DeDe asked Mitchell to do things he didn't want to do.
DeDe appears to be quite critical of her daughter, Claire. This most likely stems back to when Claire was an out-of-control wild child when she was a teenager. DeDe annoys Claire very much, with Claire, in return, being spiteful towards her mother. Dede is also especially critical of Claire's appearance (her blouse, on one instance in "The Incident" However, this criticism most likely comes from the fact that Jay never helped her with their children when they were little which caused Dede to become so crazy, as stated by Gloria in "Arrested".
In "Crazy Train" Dede angers Claire again by arranging for her daughter not to sit at the family table at her wedding.
Initially, DeDe had animosity for Gloria because the latter married the former's ex-husband. DeDe was seen being aggressive towards Gloria during the former's first two appearances and attacking her. This antagonism continued until "Arrested" where she sees that Gloria is pregnant which causes DeDe to think of her as less trophy, more human. DeDe also found it fantastic that her ex-husband was going to be a father again at his age and also it seemed to have fixed her 'telescopic uterus'. They both bonded over Jay-bashing when DeDe revealed that he never helped her when Claire and Mitchell were babies (only for Jay to reveal that back then they were living paycheck to paycheck and that the reason he wasn't around is because he was working all the time) as well as making fun of the Pritchett pet dog Stella. Gloria was sympathetic, stating that she understood why Dede became so crazy, to which Dede answered "Right?"
Dede's relationship with her children's current lovers hasn't been completely specified.
Her relationship with Phil is kind of unknown, but in "Princess Party", Phil felt that Dede never liked him and was always wishing that Claire married her high school boyfriend Robbie, but it seems she does like him after DeDe and Robbie are seen making out.
Cam appears to have some baggage with DeDe, becaus she is passive aggressive towards him about his weight, which was made evident when Cameron says that she got him an excersize machine for Christmas and he gave her earrings.
However, both men recognize her kidness in "Good Grief" as Cameron said that he was on good terms with her and Phil said she find words to comfort him after he dropped off a kid at school.
DeDe appears to be good friends with Manny, as they are huge fans of spoken word and exchanging letters with each other.
Of all her grandchildren, DeDe's most specific relationship is with Haley. They have a very close relationship, specially when it comes to getting back at Claire for not letting Haley go places she wants (because of Claire fearing Haley will end up like her) and also Haley enjoys listening to her grandmother's stories of Claire's past.
DeDe's relationship with her other grandchildren is currently unknown.
- "The Incident"
- "Coal Digger" (mentioned only)
- "Fifteen Percent" (mentioned only)
- "Hawaii" (mentioned only)
- "Earthquake" (mentioned only)
- "Caught in the Act" (mentioned only)
- "Princess Party"
- "Regrets Only" (mentioned only)
- "After the Fire" (mentioned only)
- "Express Christmas" (mentioned only)
- "Lifetime Supply" (mentioned only)
- "Virgin Territory" (mentioned only)
- "Election Day" (mentioned only)
- "Disneyland" (mentioned only)
- "Schooled" (mentioned only)
- "Mistery Date" (mentioned only)
- "New Year's Eve" (mentioned only)
- "Heart Broken" (mentioned only)
- "Suddenly, Last Summer" (mentioned only)
- "Farm Strong" (mentioned only)
- "ClosetCon '13" (mentioned only)
- "The Old Man & the Tree" (mentioned only)
- "Australia" (mentioned only)
- "The Wedding (Part 1)" (mentioned only)
- "The Wedding (Part 2)" (mentioned only)
- "The Long Honeymoon" (mentioned only)
- "Won't You Be Our Neighbor" (mentioned only)
- "Haley's 21st Birthday" (mentioned only)
- "The Day We Almost Died" (mentioned only)
- "Valentine's Day 4: Twisted Sister" (mentioned only)
- "Closet? You'll Love It!" (mentioned only)
- "Good Grief" (voice only/dies in episode)
|Modern Family characters|