The Brady Bunch became one of the most treasured and beloved shows in history thanks to its family-friendly, wholesome content that the whole family could enjoy together. The premise was slightly progressive as it showed the reality of living as a blended family. But overall, the show was about as benign and harmless as you could find on television.
Fans adored keeping up with Mike Brady (Robert Reed) and Carol Martin (Florence Henderson) along with their huge brood of kids: Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher Knight), Bobby (Mike Lookinland), Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Jan (Eve Plumb), and Cindy (Susan Olsen). The Brady Bunch was on ABC from Sept. 1968 until March 1974, but the impact it had on our lives is long-lasting.
However, not everything about this show was totally innocent. In fact, there were a few secrets and scandals behind the scenes on The Brady Bunch that some fans might not know about.
Rumors of an affair between Greg and Carol
Though the storyline certainly wasn’t explored on the show, The Brady Bunch was plagued by rumors that Florence Henderson and Barry Williams were carrying on an affair. The two even went out to dinner one evening, which seemed to confirm the allegations.
This was scandalous because Henderson was a 36-year-old married mother of four at the time while Williams was just 16. But to hear them tell it, the attraction was quite one-sided and nothing ever came of it. “When those little things called hormones start kicking in, you get excited by even inanimate objects,” Williams wrote in his memoir, Growing Up Brady. “It wasn’t that I sought to bed her. I just wanted to spend time with her.”
According to Biography.com, Henderson agreed and said their so-called “date” was totally platonic, at least in her view. “That whole thing with Barry got blown way out of proportion,” she said. “I guess in a sense it was a date, because Barry thought it was. But of course, I had no idea that his intentions were to ‘date’ me. It has made for a good story though!”
Williams was high while filming once
Drugs were plentiful at the time The Brady Bunch was on the air, and Williams admitted to partaking just like many other kids. But one time, he even showed up to work while high on marijuana. Williams claims this occurrence was during the episode called “Law and Disorder.”
“[The show producers] called in the middle of this high to go into work,” Williams said during a Brady Bunch convention talk in 2014. “I’m a much better actor when I am completely sober than when I’m high!”
Reed was gay but kept it hidden
Mike was portrayed as the perfect family man and father on the show. But in his real life, Reed had to hide the fact that he was a gay man playing a straight person on television.
“Here he was, the perfect father of this wonderful little family, a perfect husband,” Henderson said during an interview with ABC News in 2000, according to Biography.com. “He was an unhappy person… I think had Bob not been forced to live this double life, I think it would have dissipated a lot of that anger and frustration.”
Many cast members knew about Reed’s secret life but never talk about it. “I had a lot of compassion for him because I knew how he was suffering,” Henderson said. “I don’t think The Brady Bunch could have existed at that time with the public knowing that Robert Reed was gay. I just don’t think they would have bought it.”
Greg and Marcia really did date
It probably felt weird for Marcia to date her on-screen brother, but Williams and McCormick clearly found their chemistry too strong to deny. The two forged a relationship and McCormick recalled how weird it was to keep filming during that stage of their budding romance.
She wrote about it in her memoir, Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice. “Oh my God! I’m kissing my brother. What am I doing?” she said of the experience.
Plenty of the other siblings made out in the doghouse
Little Cindy admitted during an interview that Greg and Marcia weren’t the only ones making out on set. She said she thought, “all of us did… We led a sheltered life for part of the year so if there was anybody to crush on or try to date, it would be our counterparts.”
She said the cast often paired up for some kissing sessions. “So, I had Mike and we used to make out in the doghouse when we were nine. Eve always had a crush on Chris, they did kind of hook up later on. And, of course, there was Maureen and Barry.”
McCormick became addicted to drugs
Even though she played one of the most wholesome characters in existence on television, in real life McCormick struggled with addiction and depression following the conclusion of the series.
“As a teenager, I had no idea that few people are everything they present to the outside world,” McCormick wrote in her memoir. “Yet there I was, hiding the reality of my life behind the unreal perfection of Marcia Brady. No one suspected the fear that gnawed at me.”
McCormick admitted to abusing Quaaludes and cocaine. “If there was coke, I had to stay up and do every last flake even if it meant going without sleep for days. Nothing else mattered,” she said.
McCormick got clean in the 80s and eventually accepting her image as the former Marcia Brady.
Cindy’s hair was bleached so often it started falling out
The Brady Bunch was all about image, and that meant three brown-haired boys and three blonde-haired girls. Lookinland had to dye his strawberry blonde hair brown while Olsen, who played Cindy, was forced to constantly bleach hers until the harsh chemicals made it start falling out in clumps.
All for the image, right?