The Emmy-nominated star’s role on TV’s popular Modern Family (2009-2020) gave him the opportunity to reshape public perception of same-sex relationships and their families. Ferguson played Mitchell Pritchett, an uptight gay lawyer raising an adopted Asian-American baby with his excitable, over-the-top screen partner, Cameron.
At left: Ferguson with husband Justin Mikita.
In an Advocate magazine interview, he said, “I feel like there are a lot of people who still aren’t comfortable with gay characters on television, but what I admire about our show is that it has a plethora of characters for people to attach to, and slowly those people are becoming attached to Mitchell and Cam...It’s kind of like a Trojan horse. We sneak into a lot of people’s living rooms when they aren’t expecting it and maybe change some minds through the back door.
Mitchell is basically me, so when people tell me I’m stereotypical and cliché in that role, then Jesse Tyler Ferguson is stereotypical and cliché, because I’m basically doing no acting at all.”
Nonetheless, his performance as Mitchell earned him five consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Jesse and his fiancé Justin Mikita, a lawyer, were married in New York in July, 2013. They met in a gym, where Justin recognized Jesse and came over to say he enjoyed Jesse’s portrayal of Mitchell on the hit television show. They started dating several months later and became engaged in late 2012. Their son, Beckett Mercer Ferguson-Mikita, was born a few months ago, on July 7, 2020.
At about the same time the couple became engaged they launched Tie the Knot, which sells custom bow ties and donates all proceeds to various organizations fighting for marriage equality and LGBT civil rights in general.
Says Ferguson, “Justin came up with the idea. I’ve definitely become more of an advocate, philanthropist, and do-gooder because of him. He has really ignited the civil rights passion within me.”
The couple says they would have loved to have gotten married in California, which is where they reside, but, “unfortunately it was not legal there. We spent a lot of money on the wedding, and that’s money California did not get. But congratulations to New York!”
Currently Jesse hosts Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the revival of a television reality show on the HGTV channel (premiered February 16, 2020). In each episode a family facing hardship receives a makeover of their home.