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, and refers to him as "my beautiful boy."
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, especially her appearance and manners. 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.
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 security. 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 he has been seeing.
DeDe is portrayed with little positive traits: she is extremely condescending, critical, obnoxious and narcissistic. She is condescending to almost everyone: she bitingly voices her opinion that Jay and Gloria only married because of Jay's wealth and Gloria's physical looks, she repeatedly criticized and berated and targetted Claire, and was even obnoxious towards Lily - when Lily does not appear in a dress that DeDe appears to have sent her for her birthday, she rudely remarks 'I guess you tried to keep the outfit I sent her clean'.
DeDe is incredibly hypocritical and unlikeable: in The Incident, she visited Mitchell in order to persuade him to try and get the others to forgive her. When he went over to Claire's with her, she made absolutely no effort to reconcile with Claire and constantly criticized Claire's appearance throughout the visit. This is double-standard to an extreme because she was the one who was trying to make other people reconcile with her (instead of doing any of it herself), and while Mitchell was bending overbackwards to persuade Claire, Dede deliberately made it increasingly difficult for such a thing to even happen. The worst thing is that she could not see any fault in the way she was behaving.
Another example of her extreme hypocrisy is when, on the day of her wedding, she is contacted by Jay and she angrily accuses them of trying to ruin her special day. She completely disregards the fact that she attempted to slander and sabotage both Jay/Gloria's wedding reception, and Lily's first birthday all on her own, with nothing but her own self-importance in mind and her inability to comprehend that she is turning her own family against her. Arrogant and emotionally immoral, she likes to think of herself as the protagonist of the situation and honestly believes that the people that she turned against her are cruel people out to dethrone her from her happiness.
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.
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)
|Modern Family characters|