As the show reached new heights in popularity, Ray Romano’s salary kept getting bigger, which caused some serious behind-the-scenes drama. In 2003, the actor signed a deal which, at the time, led him to become television’s highest paid actor, earning $1.8 million per episode.
The Feud Continues
After Romano’s salary was revealed, Brad Garrett, who played Ray’s older brother Robert, refused to come to taping until he was given a raise. The rest of the cast were reportedly earning around $160 000 per episode. The network quickly renegotiated the actors’ salaries eventually leaving the rest of the cast satisfied.
Patricia Heaton, who played Ray’s wife, was sued by a former assistant. Jennifer Lee, the actress’s former employee, filed a lawsuit seeking unpaid wages in the amount of $7,425, plus “overtime and additional expenses.”
The scandal made headlines. Among Lee’s multiple charges against the star, the former assistant also claimed she was wrongfully fired once she inquired about the unpaid wages. The public has yet to find out exactly what happened with the suit.
The actor behind Robert, Ray’s older brother, got a secret divorce. In a controversial move, the actor and his ex-wife Jill Diven, only revealed the personal news to their families just days before the story hit the press.
A Secret Revealed
After lengthy and dramatic divorce proceedings, a settlement was finally reached. In his tell-all autobiography, Brad Garrett was outspoken about his exorbitant alimony payments. “Boy, was that expensive,” Garrett said, referencing his failed marriage.
Beloved actor Peter Boyle, played Ray’s father was diagnosed with bone cancer towards the end of the show’s nine-year run. Boyle chose to keep his diagnosis a secret from the show’s production team, saying he didn’t want to be treated like a “dying man.” Sadly, the actor lost his battle with the disease in 2006.
Young Sawyer Sweeten played Geoffrey Barone, one of Debra and Raymond’s sons. A decade after his successful run on the show, the 19-year-old actor shockingly took his own life amidst mysterious circumstances.
Gone Too Soon
The cast and Sweeten’s family were confused by the desperate act. He was said to be a “happy, upbeat and loving” person. It appears his years on the show became trying for the young actor, Sawyer had developed a “cynical attitude” towards the show, resenting how much school he missed because of it.
Caught Red Handed
Fred Willard was set to play the small but memorable role of Raymond’s father-in-law. Unfortunately for the actor, just before his appearance was set to be made, an embarrassing secret soon came to light.
An Embarrassing Secret
Shockingly, the actor was caught by the LAPD engaging in indecent and inappropriate activity while in an adult movie theater. The news made multiple headlines and fans waited for the actor to respond to the wild allegations.
After his arrest for ‘lewd conduct,’ the acclaimed actor maintained he was innocent, saying “It’s embarrassing as hell, but let me say this: Nothing happened. I did nothing wrong,” Willard told talk show host Jimmy Fallon.
Brad Garret struggled with issues with alcohol in the early years of the show. Like so many other actors, it seems the pressures of fame got to the actor, and he resorted to seeking comfort in booze and narcotics.
In a 2015 interview, the actor revealed he had a revelation once he believed his life was in jeopardy. At one point, the actor shared that he thought he would drink himself to death. He quit drinking just before the conclusion of the sitcom’s first season.
Patricia Heaton has always been outspoken about her highly conservative political views. Peter Boyle, who considered himself a left-winged liberal often came to blows with the actress, concerning their differing political perspectives. The conflicts were said to cause discomfort amongst the rest of the cast.
Brad Garrett released a tell-all book in 2015 which revealed many behind-the-scenes secrets about the sitcom. He also shared his true feelings about the show’s leading man. He initially didn’t think that Romano had the acting chops to carry the show and was concerned about its potential success.
The actor shared his concerns in his revealing autobiography. “I met Raymond and promptly felt that we were doomed,” he wrote. He eventually came round once the show became a major success. The show went on to be nominated for 69 Primetime Emmy Awards.
Gas Gone Bad
Apparently, the rest of the cast had a particularly embarrassing issue working with the actor Peter Boyle. Boyle supposedly had a severe flatulence problem, he was said to constantly fart on set. “He gave farts a bad name,” Brad Garrett wrote in his book.
At the height of the show’s popularity, Brad Garrett allegedly had some ugly confrontations with the paparazzi. The actor reportedly was repeatedly involved in some heated altercations with photographers which would make headlines.
In one of the altercations between the actor and photographers, supposedly things turned physical during one particularly nasty conflict outside a restaurant. TMZ reporters were also said to have caught the actor on camera hurling racial slurs at a photographer.
You’d think that Romano would love everything about the show that made him a superstar, sadly, this wasn’t the case. The lead actor apparently took issue with the show’s title, claiming he disliked it. Once the show got the green light, the actor begrudgingly claimed nothing could be done about it, saying “…It just grew on CBS, and we couldn’t get rid of it.”
Reunion Write Off
Despite the show’s worldwide popularity, the cast has revealed there will never be a reunion. Since Doris Roberts, who played Raymond’s mother, Peter Boyle and Sawyer Sweeten all passed away, any reunion would ultimately be too bittersweet.
Bad at Math
In 2009, Heaton would appear on the popular show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Unfortunately, the actress would make a fool of herself on national television. When asked a relatively simple question that required the actress to do some basic math, she stalled, fumbled and then proceeded to get the answer wrong.
Some fans were shocked by the show’s seemingly abrupt ending. The finale appeared to be just another episode. Apparently, the show ended because of an odd reason; the writers ran out of ideas. Reportedly, the cast and production team swiftly ended the show before the quality of the writing started to tank.
Sherri Shepherd made a small cameo with her incredibly popular character Sergeant Judy, who was Robert’s police partner. In real life, the actress had some tough times. She was involved in a sordid public custody battle with her ex-husband, Lamar Sally…
The actress and Sally had had a child via surrogacy, once the couple split, Sally sued Shepard for custody. He claimed that because the child was born using a donor egg, so Shepard had no biological link to the child. Ultimately, it was ruled that Shepherd would remain the legal guardian but pay exorbitant child support to Sally.
Patricia Heaton is a proud conservative. Everyone has a right to their beliefs, but there has been some widespread controversy around the actress’s Twitter rants concerning her right-winged perspectives…
Heaton once said she did not support the then-president Obama, saying, “God Bless our President, I know he means well but he is COMPLETELY wrong for this job. #ShakingMyHeadInAmazement.” She also has also made controversial statements online concerning her take on reproductive rights.
Peter Boyle apparently only landed the role because he was absolutely enraged during his audition. The short-tempered actor couldn’t find a parking spot at the studio which left him in a particularly foul mood. He stormed into the audition and landed the role of the grumpy patriarch with his believable portrayal.
Brad Garrett was no stranger to a little offscreen controversy. The actor once took his comedy too far and went on to offend Bill Cosby. The actor included a mocking impression of Cosby in his comedy routine, poking fun at the comedian’s scandalous allegations surrounding his behavior towards women. After seeing the impression, Cosby reportedly refused to speak to the actor.
The cast of the show had some terrible luck while filming the last episode. The taping of the episode had to be delayed twice due to Patricia Heaton and Doris Roberts falling ill. Neither of the actresses were well enough to make it on to set. The live audience had to be sent home and were told to return a week later.
A Devastating Loss
In 2016, the cast bid a sad farewell to Doris Roberts, who portrayed Ray and Robert’s mother. At 90 years old, the star passed away after having a stroke. The cast mourned her passing. Romano shared with People Magazine, “Doris Roberts had an energy and a spirit that amazed me. She never stopped.”
Real Life Inspiration
The writers were often said to use their own marital arguments as inspiration for the show. Almost every fight that Ray and Debra had, was a conflict one of the writers or actors had experienced with their partners, giving some real-life insight into the people behind the sitcom.
Although many of the lead actors went on to have incredibly successful careers in the entertainment industry, a few of the cast members didn’t have the same luck. Monica Horan, who played Robert’s on again off again girlfriend, would never star in anything remotely as successful. Sawyer Sweeten, who played one of the Romano kids, now sadly refers to himself as a ‘former actor,’ having ended his career with the sitcom.
Despite the offscreen drama behind the cast’s differing salaries, the sitcom gang was able to put it all behind them. The ensemble now refers to themselves as great friends.“I just had coffee with Ray and Anna [Romano] a couple weeks ago,” Heaton told People Magazine. “Unfortunately for the occasion, we all got together when Doris [Roberts] passed away, everybody had dinner together.”