I can't figure out how to save (or retrieve) relationship field data using the Model Service. I can save flat fields with out an issue (and retrieve them).

So when retrieving an entry like this:

$entry = ee('Model')
        ->filter('channel_id', 1)

var_dump($entry->field_id_1); // this is a text field data, this works

var_dump($entry->field_id_2); // this is a relationship field with data, it outputs NULL

As you can see, I don't get the relationship data. I couldn't figure out a way to load relationship data either, by using ->with("Relationships")or any other verbiage that makes sense.

At the same time, I can't seem to save relationship data in any way:

$entry = ee('Model')->make('ChannelEntry');

$entry->title = "Title";
$entry->url_title = "title";
$entry->site_id = 1;
$entry->channel_id = 1;
$entry->status = "open";
$entry->author_id = 1;
$entry->field_id_1 = "My text field"; // this works
$entry->field_id_2 = array("100", "101"); // doesn't save relatoinship data, and trying a few different formats didn't work

I've been digging through the EE source code and it isn't clear if this is possible at all. I know I could insert raw DB entries next to the Model Service, but that sucks and is harder to get right.

Any one have any success with this?

2 Answers 2


I too had the same issue, the EE documentation to put it nicely is rather incomplete on this topic. Looking though the source I saw an example in ft.relationships.php:

ee('Model')->get('ChannelEntry', $entry_id)
                    ->with('Children', 'Channel')
                    ->fields('Channel.channel_title', 'Children.entry_id', 'Children.title', 'Children.channel_id')

This will give you just the child relationship entries, so you could foreach your entries to get each entry's children. Not very satisfactory!

  • Wow. Thank you for your help! But Not very satisfactory! is crazy accurate. I was more importantly looking to figure out how to save a new entry with a relationship field, and there is no example of that in the ft.relationships.php file, so maybe that isn't possible, as it looks like saving a relationship field is all db inserts. I ended up just using a batch_insert(), but that didn't make a very happy developer. Thanks again.
    – jrothafer
    Apr 29, 2019 at 5:59

Yeah, you can save relationship data using below Model query. In below code $entry->field_id_2 indicates the relationship data.

$entry = ee('Model')->make('ChannelEntry');
$entry->channel_id = 'your_channel_id';
$entry->site_id =  ee()->config->item('site_id');
$entry->author_id = ee()->session->userdata('member_id');
$entry->ip_address = ee()->session->userdata['ip_address'];
$entry->status = "open";
$entry->sticky = FALSE;
$entry->title = 'your_entry_title';
$entry->url_title = preg_replace("/[\s_]/", "-", 'your_entry_url_title');
$entry->field_id_2 = array('data'=>array("100", "101")); //ids of related entry
$entry->entry_date = ee()->localize->now;
$entry->edit_date = ee()->localize->now;

Well, as far as I know there is no any method to fetch relationship data using Model. Because, as you should know relationship is third-party Addon. But you can get data of relationship from exp_relationships using below simple query.

$entry = ee()->db->get_where('exp_relationships', array('parent_id'=>'your_parent_entry_id'));

I hope this will helps you.

  • 1
    I appreciate the answer, but the Relationships field is a first party-addon that ships with EE2/3/4/5. github.com/ExpressionEngine/ExpressionEngine/tree/stability/… But that is really good information about how to save data to a relationship field in an EE Entry Model, although I haven't tested your answer. The answer I accepted shows how to retrieve it from an EE Entry Model. I wish I could give you both the points.
    – jrothafer
    Apr 29, 2019 at 7:37

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