November 15th, 2012
09:49 AM ET
As 14-year-old "Modern Family" actress Ariel Winter faces family struggles in her personal life, her co-stars tell CNN that they always stick up for each other, no matter what.
"We are a weird little family off-screen," said Ty Burrell, who portrays "Modern Family's" Phil Dunphy, the dad of Winter's brainy middle child character, Alex. "None of us had ever really experienced anything like this. Having gone through it a little bit, the shared experience helps you to understand and defend your cast-mates, but also to be more bonded."
Sarah Hyland, who portrays Winter's on-screen sister Haley, agreed, adding that "on set, off set, we're all friends, so we're always really there for each other."
Hyland and Burrell joined "Modern Family's" Nolan Gould and Eric Stonestreet at Wednesday's Los Angeles launch party for Jesse Tyler Ferguson's marriage equality charity, Tie the Knot, which he started with his fiancé, Justin Mikita.
The idea for the line of limited edition bow ties was sparked by Ferguson's natural affinity for the accessory, and Mikita "came up with the idea of making it for a foundation and making the proceeds go for marriage equality," the 37-year-old actor explained. "So I had the good idea and he had the way to make it better and important ... He's a thinker that way."
Mikita fights for marriage equality as part of his day job, Ferguson added, "so he lives it everyday, and I feel it's a daunting task. It's an uphill battle. When you win in a state, it's great, and then you go back to square zero to start on the next one. It's taxing."
The pair aren't sure yet when they'll "Tie the Knot" themselves, but they do know their "Modern Family" cast-mates will be there to help celebrate.
"We are truly like a family and we see each other through new babies and engagements and new boyfriends and ex-girlfriends," Ferguson said. "We're very supportive of one another."
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