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Denise is Phil Dunphy's ex-girlfriend and also one of his old friends from high school.

They kept in touch on Facebook until 2010 when Claire thought her messages were more flirty than friendly, even though Phil couldn't see that. Although Claire eventually was convinced her intentions were only to catch up with her old friend, Phil realizes that Denise is trying to sleep with him after and rebelles her offers for intimacy while trying to convince Claire that she as right all along. Later both Denise and Claire realize that their dating Phil overlapped and Denise leaves the Dunphy home.