Joe Manganiello always loved Sofia Vergara's 'independence'. Now, their marriage is over.

Known for her role as the sassy Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on ABC's sitcom Modern Family, Sofia Vergara's journey to stardom is marked by unimaginable tragedy – from the death of her eldest brother, to a cancer battle, and a lawsuit over her frozen embryos.

And this week, the 51-year-old actor announced she and her husband Joe Manganiello are divorcing after seven years of marriage. 

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This is what we know about the life of Sofia Vergara.

Sofia Vergara's brother was murdered.

Vergara grew up in Colombia where she was one of five siblings. Her father was a cattle rancher, and their large family was financially well-off because of it. 

In 1998, her older brother Rafael was murdered during an attempted kidnapping.

"We come from a successful family, and he knew he was a target for kidnapping," Vergara said in a later interview, according to Fox News. "He always had bodyguards. Then one day he went out alone and was shot dead. I was devastated."

Following the death, Vergara moved to the United States, alongside her mother and two of her siblings. 


Over 20 years later, the murder of her brother has never been solved. 

In 2013, National Enquirer published a report claiming they had reopened the investigation due to new witness reports, however the actress quickly shut the rumours down. 

"We know everything we need to know about my brother's death," Vergara wrote on Twitter. 

In 2011, Vergara revealed in an interview that her younger brother, Julio, had a "rough time" in the wake of their sibling's death. 


Speaking with Parade, she explained that Julio was returning to Colombia because he had developed a drug addiction in America. 

"He started with alcohol there, then pot, on to cocaine, to crack," she shared. "Now he’s like another person. To see somebody dying over 10 years, little by little, that’s the worst punishment."

A battle with thyroid cancer.

Sofia Vergara on a red carpet in 1999. Image: Getty. 

When Vergara was 28 years old, in 2000, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. 


In her 2011 interview with Parade, Vergara spoke of her shock at the announcement.  

"I’ve never done drugs or smoked. And I don’t eat red meat,” she says. "I felt totally healthy, and suddenly they tell me I have cancer? I was scared. I immediately thought of my child."

The mother-of-one immediately underwent surgery to remove her thyroid, before developing hyperthyroidism.

"I got rid of the cancer and then for me it was, 'Oh shoot, now I have to live with [hypothyroidism] my whole life... I have to be on medication my whole life," she said, according to The Huffington Post.

A custody battle over 'frozen embryos'.

Vergara's custody battle over her frozen embryos made worldwide headlines a few years back. 

She was locked in a legal lawsuit against her former partner, New York socialite Nick Loeb, who she dated between 2011 and 2014. In 2013, they fertilised and froze two embryos together. 

In 2015, Loeb sued Vergara in a Californian court for custody of those fertilised eggs. 

Loeb was seeking to have the embryos implanted into a surrogate, and to raise them as a solo parent. However, the actress’ lawyer told E! News she "is content to leave the embryos frozen indefinitely as she has no desire to have children with her ex".

In an op-ed on the issue in The New York Times, Loeb argued that keeping the fertilised eggs frozen forever is "tantamount to killing them".

"A woman is entitled to bring a pregnancy to term even if the man objects," he wrote. "Shouldn’t a man who is willing to take on all parental responsibilities be similarly entitled to bring his embryos to term even if the woman objects?"


Sofia Vergara and Nick Loeb in 2014. Image: Getty. 

Loeb eventually withdrew his Californian lawsuit in December 2016. He attributed the decision to his refusal to identify two ex-girlfriends who had undergone abortions — a step the court deemed necessary to establish his pro-life position. However, Vergara’s legal team pegged the withdrawal as a stalling tactic that would allow Loeb to file again at a later date.


Loeb subsequently established a trust fund for the embryos, who he claimed were citizens of America, in Louisiana, which is the only state to consider embryos as 'juridical persons', essentially meaning they have the same legal rights as people.

This time, he sued on behalf of the two fertilised eggs.

According to court papers obtained by Page Six, the suit reportedly listed the embryos as plaintiffs named "Emma" and "Isabella", and claimed that by not being born they were being denied inheritance set aside for them in a trust fund established by Loeb.

In August 2017, the lawsuit was dismissed because neither Loeb nor Vergara had any permanent ties to Louisiana, meaning the embryos were not "citizens" of the state. 

Sofia Vergara's marriage.

Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara in 2019. Image: Getty. 


Vergara, who has a son from her previous relationship with Joe Gonzalez, married Magic Mike actor Joe Manganiello in 2015, in front of 400 people at a ceremony in Palm Beach, Florida.

But after seven years of marriage, the couple announced they had decided to part ways.

"We have made the difficult decision to divorce. As two people that love and care for one another very much, we politely ask for respect of our privacy at this time as we navigate this new phase of our lives," they said in a statement to Page Six.

A source told the publication, "Sofia and Joe have been growing apart for a while now and are taking some distance from each other to contemplate their future."

Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, 2015. Image: Instagram @sofiavergara.


"I told him when I met him that he was too handsome, but now I'm very grateful that I did [go] out with him," she previously Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2015. 

In 2017, she sang Manganiello's praises.

"He always actually tells me, 'You know, one of the things that draws me so much to you is that you were, like, the first woman I went out with that is really, really, like, independent,'" she said in an interview with ET.

"He loves it. He supports me in everything. I think he realises how important it is for us to have opportunities, for women to have our own thing going."

Feature Image: Getty Images.

This article was published on September 8, 2020 and has since been updated with new information.