‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: Ray’s 3 Kids Were All Related in Real Life

The classic sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond aired on CBS from 1996-2005. In many ways, the show mirrored the real-life of Ray Romano. The series spanned nine seasons and depicted the hilarious life of the Barone family. Ray Barone and his wife (Debra) had three young children. Ray’s overbearing mother (Marie), cranky father (Frank), and older brother (Robert) all lived in a house across the street.

(L-R) Madylin Sweeten, Monica Horan, Sawyer Sweeten, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Peter Boyle, Sullivan Sweeten around a kitchen table on 'Everybody Loves Raymond'
(L-R) Madylin Sweeten, Monica Horan, Sawyer Sweeten, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Peter Boyle, Sullivan Sweeten | Robert Voets/Getty Images

The stars of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

Actor, writer, and producer Romano played the show’s leading character, Ray. Ray was known for dry sarcasm, poor excuses, and a knack for annoying Debra. Romano’s private life heavily influenced the storyline and characters of the show. Romano’s film history is quite extensive, and he has starring roles in several successful films, including the series of animated Ice Age movies and the Big Sick. He is currently filming the upcoming drama series Made for Love.

Patricia Heaton portrayed the frequently stressed and irritable wife, Debra. Romano and Heaton had immense on-screen chemistry and witty sarcasm, which drove the show. Reportedly, Heaton was not the first choice for the position; however, Romano strongly advocated for her to play the role of Debra. The acting choice was undoubtedly the right choice, and the show had nine successful seasons.

Brad Garrett played the quirky and underappreciated brother, Robert. The 6ft 8in stand-up comedian perfectly portrayed the neurotic character. Romano was inspired by his real-life brothers and meshed pieces of their personalities together when he created the role of NYPD officer, Robert Barone.

Doris Roberts played the overbearing, cynical, yet loving Barone matriarch, Marie. Marie was highly critical of Debra and often bickered with Frank. IMDb displays Robert’s impressive list of 160 film credits.

Peter Boyle played the blunt and grumpy Barone patriarch, Frank. The Santa Clause actor was a seasoned actor with extensive film history. Frank frequently had witty and rude responses for everyone. Frank was the only person in the show who would go against Marie to defend Debra.

The Barone children were actually related

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Although the show doesn’t focus on the kids, all three Barone children were present in most episodes. Though the child actors were playing the role of siblings on screen, they were genuinely siblings in real life. Madylin Sweeten played Ally Barone; she is the eldest of her sibling group on screen. Madylin’s twin brothers, Sullivan and Sawyer Sweeten, portrayed the youngest Barone twins Michael and Geoffrey.

An article on Screenrant revealed some fun facts about the names of the young characters and the actors who played the parts. The Barone boys initially shared the same first names as Romano’s real-life children Gregory and Matthew. However, Romano quickly changed his mind about the character’s names to protect his children’s privacy. The two Barone sons were renamed Michael and Geoffrey after just one episode. The name change wasn’t the only switcheroo for the Barone boys, Drew and Justin Ferreira initially played the young twins in the pilot episode. However, the twin roles were quickly recast, and Madylin’s genuine siblings joined the cast.

Where are the Sweeten siblings today?

In addition to TV shows and movies, Madylin is experienced in many short film projects, including Choice (2017), Mommy (2015), and Wedding Frisk (2014). The 29-year-old actor and producer continues to work in film. According to The List, Madylin Sweeten overcame the challenges of being a child actor and married actor Sean Durrie in 2018. Madylin credits her husband for helping her learn to be a positive and responsible person, “I will be forever grateful to my friends and husband for teaching me that responsibility can be sexy and fun.”

Sullivan Sweeten is best known for his role on Everybody Loves Raymond; however, he portrayed other parts as well, including young Frank in Frank McKlusky, C.I. (2002), and Jack in the 2017 short film Casting.

Sawyer Sweeten rose to fame on Everybody Loves Raymond. However, the young star tragically died by suicide at just 19 years old. Madylin and Sullivan spoke about the loss of their brother on the April 26, 2016 episode of Dr. Oz. Sawyer’s fellow Everybody Loves Raymond cast members publicly expressed their sadness about the young actor’s death, and they spoke highly of his intelligence and comical personality.

TVLand airs reruns of the highly-rated sitcom, and the show is available on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock.