Modern Family’s Julie Bowen Opens Up About That Tearful Last Day of Filming: ‘It Was Perfect’

Modern Family is gearing up for a perfect goodbye.

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, Julie Bowen, who played Claire Dunphy for 11 seasons on the ABC series, opens up about the last day of filming — and the bittersweet moment that was shared by the cast and crew.

“There was something weird about the timing of that day,” Bowen, 51, explains. “It was really considered a half day, and so we took this extra long lunch hour and there were people popping champagne. These two crew members had lost a fantasy football bet and because they lost, they had to stand in front of the whole cast and everybody and sing a song. Well, the first thing they sang was a Beatles song. And then all of a sudden it turned into this really incredibly touching rendition of [Green Day’s] ‘Time of Your Life.'”

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Sofia Vergara, 47, shared a clip of the moment to Instagram in which she wipes her tears as Sarah Hyland, Bowen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson hold her close.

“What a day!! Saying goodbye to our Modern Family❤️❤️❤️,” she captioned the video.

In February, cast and crew documented some of their last moments on the series with emotional Instagram posts, including co-creator and executive producer Steve Levitan, who posted a heartwarming video of the show’s team waving goodbye.

“Today is our last day shooting #modernfamily,” he captioned the clip. “These are just some of the wonderful people who’ve made the last 11 seasons possible. I love them all.”

Eric Stonestreet also shared one of his final moments on set. “I guess I’ll see myself out now stage 5. 11 years walking in and out of this door went by in a flash. #modernfamily,” he wrote on Instagram.

Modern Family premiered in 2009 and has won five Emmys for outstanding comedy series. In February 2019, ABC announced that the 11th season of the hit sitcom is the series’ last, with the finale airing on April 8.

“It’s something we’d all been dreading for a long time,” Levitan tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “This has been a dream experience for everybody. I can’t tell you the number of people that have said this is the best job of my career. When you’ve had such a wonderful experience, it’s very sad to see it end. There was a lot of love on that stage and in that room for the table read. People dreaded saying goodbye. The emotion was built right into everything we did towards the end.”

“This is as close a cast I’ve ever seen,” he adds. “Everybody was just grateful to be there. Everybody was so appreciative. It really is a family.”

“I will probably miss the people the most, from Modern,” Hyland, 29, previously told PEOPLE of what she will miss the most about the show. “Our crew is amazing and, of course, I love our cast, they are very special people.”

The finale of Modern Family airs April 8 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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