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There are several theories about who the father is in Hulu‘s How I Met Your Father, but many fans have also theories about Sophie’s (Hilary Duff) possible connection to the characters in How I Met Your Mother. One such HIMYF theory says Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) might be Sophie’s dad. But that theory has since been debunked — here’s proof Barney Stinson and Sophie share no familial ties. 

Sophie (Hilary Duff) holding a camera in 'How I Met Your Father'; Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) buttons his vest in the hospital in an episode of 'How I Met Your Mother'
Sophie (Hilary Duff), Patrick Wymore/Hulu | Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), Michael Desmond/CBS via Getty Images

Barney Stinson’s multiple ‘conquests’ have some ‘How I Met Your Father’ fans thinking he could be Sophie’s dad 

How I Met Your Father has multiple connections to How I Met Your Mother. Still, some fans thought the two show’s references could go deeper than background props or settings.

“Even though Ellie Stinson is the only child of Barney’s that we’re aware of, the man had PLENTY of [opportunities] to have another ‘whoops’ pregnancy with one of his other conquests,” a fan pointed out on Reddit, citing Watch Mojo’s video. They think it’s “on brand” for Sophie’s mom (Paget Brewster) to fall for a character like Barney, accidentally get pregnant, and never tell him. 

Barney Stinson can’t be related to Sophie because he was a virgin when she was born 

As this Redditor pointed out, the timeline doesn’t work for Barney to be Sophie’s dad. “Barney was a virgin until 1998, according to HIMYM,” they explained. “Sophie, as of 2022, is 30-years-old, meaning she was born in 1992.” 

‘How I Met Your Father’s Sophie and ‘HIMYM’s Barney might be connected in another way

Some fans think Sophie and Barney might still share a slight connection. “It’s possible she could be a half-sister [of Barney’s],” another Reddit user pointed out in the HIMYF sub. Their reasoning is based on Barney’s father, who was “quite the partier in the 80s/90s.” 

“We know he had a kid before settling down with the wife we met in the series, but given that he partied a lot, it’s entirely possible Barney could [have] had another half-sibling,” they said. 

‘How I Met Your Father’ strives to be different from ‘How I Met Your Mother’ 

How I Met Your Father does a good job of honoring it’s predecessor. But as Duff explained to TV Line, trying to copy How I Met Your Mother exactly would be impossible. 

“There’s just no way to live up to that,” she told the outlet. “They were so buttoned up as a cast, and so funny, and we’re so lucky to have [original series creators] Carter [Bays] and Craig [Thomas] on board supporting this show told from a female perspective.” Having people who worked on How I Met Your Mother previously gives the cast of HIMYF a guide, but as Duff explained, “it’s really not the same show by any means.” 

Ellen (Tien Tran), Sophie (Hilary Duff), and Valentina (Francia Raisa) in Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall's (Jason Segel) old apartment
Ellen (Tien Tran), Sophie (Hilary Duff), and Valentina (Francia Raisa) | Patrick Wymore/Hulu

‘How I Met Your Father’ Season 2 Confirmed; Fans Speculate About What That Means for the Father Reveal in Season 1

She added: “Sophie is not Ted [Josh Radnor], and there’s not someone trying to be Barney. I love that the writers used the very first episode as an opportunity to show the occupants of this apartment, where everyone fell in love with the original cast, but you know that we’re all going down a very different road.” 

Watch new episodes of How I Met Your Father every Tuesday on Hulu.