‘The Brady Bunch’: Carol Brady Actress Florence Henderson’s Real-Life Children Made Hilarious Appearances on the Show

by Katie Maloney

Florence Henderson wasn’t just America’s favorite mother from The Brady Bunch. She was also a real-life mother of four.

Henderson had four children with her first husband, Ira Bernstein. And although none of them fully embraced the Hollywood lifestyle as actors, two of them did make appearances on The Brady Bunch. Henderson’s eldest daughter, Barbara, appeared in three episodes. She played Ruthie in “The Slumber Caper.” She played Peggy in “Everyone Can’t Be George Washington” and Suzanne in the series finale, “The Hair-Brained Scheme.” During an interview, Henderson shared what it was like to work with her kids on set.

“My daughter Barbara was on the show a few times, as a matter of fact. And Joseph played a rock or something at one point,” Henderson said with a laugh. “They knew all the kids and they were friends. So that made it nice. I wish they could have been on the show all the time, so I could be with them all day.”

As a full-time actress, Henderson did everything she could to ensure that her kids were always nearby. She and her husband rented a house in Los Angeles during the summer while Henderson filmed The Brady Bunch. Henderson even found ways to include her kids on set with her as often as possible.

“I tried to include them in many things I did, like the show or my nightclub act. They did musicals with me during the summer. I tried to make them a part of my life because show business has been very good to me over the years,” said Henderson. “And, hopefully, teach them that you could retain some humanity and do those things for a living.”

Florence Henderson and her daughter Barbara (top right). Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

Florence Henderson Said That She Never Brought The Brady Bunch Home With Her

Henderson also shared that she worked very hard to keep The Brady Bunch separate from her real life, for her kids. Although her children understood that she was simply playing a character on television, many of their friends confused the roles.

“I think my kids pretty much understood that I was acting, that I was playing a role. I tried not to bring that home. Or to be anything other than what I was at home – which was their mother who also happened to work as an actress and singer,” said Henderson. “I think sometimes it was hard for them at school because some kids wanted very much to know me. Their peers kind of confused ideas about who I was and what I was. It was a tough experience for them at times.”

Other than occasionally feeling jealous about the Brady kids never being disciplined, Henderson said that her kids pretty much understood that Carol Brady wasn’t their mom. In conclusion, Florence Henderson was so talented that she not only mothered an entire nation through The Brady Bunch, but she also raised a healthy family of her own.