Sarah Hyland’s Health: What She’s Said About Kidney Dysplasia & Life-Saving Surgery

'Modern Family' alum, Sarah Hyland is a successful actress who has been battling kidney dysplasia for most of her life. Learn all about her condition here.

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  • Sarah Hyland is an actress known for her role on Modern Family, however, her battle with kidney dysplasia has been an ongoing topic of conversation for her in recent years.
  • The starlet has been battling the health condition most of her life, but she did not tell the public until May 2012.
  • Sarah struggled with her chronic illness throughout her 11 years on Modern Family, often having to put on a happy face when she was really struggling.
  • Most recently, Sarah married Wells Adams in Aug. 2022.

Modern Family star Sarah Hyland has been a successful actress and became a household name during her 11 years on the popular sitcom. Although the 32-year-old put on a brave face during many grueling days on set, she was battling a longtime chronic illness behind closed doors. It wasn’t until her May 2012 interview with Seventeen magazine that Sarah opted to finally tell her story to the public. Since the interview over a decade ago, the brunette beauty has since become very vocal about her ongoing illness, including her mental health struggles.

Sarah hyland health
Sarah Hyland is an actress who has been battling kidney dysplasia most of her life. (Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock)

Most recently, Sarah married The Bachelorette alum Wells Adams, 38, in Aug. 2022. Ahead of their 2019 engagement, she opened up to Self magazine about how her partner supports her amid her ongoing illnesses. “He’s seen me at my worst,” Sarah told the outlet in 2018. “He was there through all of that. I think that’s why I feel the most beautiful in his eyes, because he still finds me beautiful after seeing all that.” Keep reading to learn all about her chronic disease, how Sarah is doing today, and more.

Sarah Hyland Diagnosed With Kidney Dysplasia

Sarah’s life changed forever when she was diagnosed with kidney dysplasia at just nine years old. By the time she opened up about her chronic illness with the public she was already 21 years old and amid filming the Season Four of Modern Family. Sarah broke her silence on her longtime health condition during an exclusive interview with Seventeen magazine in May 2012, as mentioned above. “I would in a lot of pain a lot of the time,” she said during an interview with ABC News in 2012. “If I didn’t get 12 hours of sleep I had felt like I got none at all.”

The starlet noted that although she was sick, she would still buckle up and follow through with her work commitments. “You know if you’re sick you still go to work and in between takes you sit down or you lay your head down,” Sarah said during the same interview. As Sarah’s career was kicking off her health was taking a hit and only a kidney transplant could turn things around. Her father, Edward James Hyland, ended up becoming her kidney donor over a decade ago.

What Is Kidney Dysplasia?

Sarah’s condition is known as kidney dysplasia or as having dysplastic kidneys. This condition often occurs when one’s kidneys do not develop properly during pregnancy and lead to abnormally sized kidneys, per the Children’s Hospital of Colorado. Dysplastic kidneys results in abnormal kidney function and can cause cysts inside the organs. This condition is known to affect about 1 in every 3,500 people, per the Nationwide Children’s Hospital website. The organization also notes that the number could be higher, as many people are often not diagnosed.

How Long Has Sarah Hyland Been Sick?

The Geek Charming star has been battling the disease for over 23 years, as she was diagnosed at nine years old. In early 2019, Sarah appeared on the now cancelled The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and told host, Ellen DeGeneres, about how her kidney disease led to mental health struggles. “I read that you were going through major depression because of the sickness, which totally makes sense that you actually thought about taking your own life,” the TV personality said to Sarah at the time. The New York native told Ellen that after nearly 30 years of “always being sick” and “always being in chronic pain,” she was driven to a dark place.

“I would write letters in my head to loved ones — of why I did it, my reasoning behind it, how it’s nobody’s fault,” she said at the time. “And I didn’t want to write it down on paper because I didn’t want anyone to find it, ’cause that’s how serious I was.” When asked “how close” she came to taking her life, Sarah said it was extremely close. “I was very, very, very, very close,” she added. “I didn’t want anybody to know I was that close because if they knew, they would try and persuade me.” Sarah clarified that she kept her suicidal thoughts private for “months and months” but finally “saying it out loud” proved to have “really helped” her.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

How Is Sarah Hyland Doing Today?

In 2017, Sarah’s brother, Ian Hyland, 28, donated his kidney to his big sister after her body went into rejection of the kidney her father donated to her. She cried recalling the story during Dec. 2018 interview with Self and showed off her surgery scars. “I was very depressed,” Ian’s sister said at the time. “When a family member gives you a second chance at life, and it fails, it almost feels like it’s your fault. It’s not. But it does.” Sarah said it was hard on her to accept the kidney from her brother, as he is “someone you’re supposed to look after,” as she is the older sibling. She called the moment “scary,”  but later told Entertainment Tonight that she has since been doing “great” and “really well.”

Sarah took to Instagram in Sept. 2019 to celebrate her “Kidneyversary,” and shared a photo with her brother. “2 years ago today my precious little brother gave me the gift of life. Thank you for not only giving me your f****** kidney but for everything else you do. I love you so much @thehotterhyland happy Kidneyversary!!!!”, she captioned the sweet photo tribute.

Most recently, Sarah has been living her best life and celebrating being a newly wed with Wells Adams. She also became the co-founder of Sourse, a health and wellness brand, which she announced in Oct. 2021. “Finally, vitamins that taste so good it feels naughty I’m SO excited to finally share that I’ve been working with @trysourse to make some delicious treats not only for your taste buds… but for your health! Very, VERY proud of this new venture,” she captioned the post at the time.