Modern Family star Ariel Winter plays a teenage daughter loved and adored by her wacky on-screen parents. But in real life, the 19-year-old claims she's had to deal with an absent father, and mother who selfishly used her to live out her own Hollywood fantasies.
In a revealing interview in The Hollywood Reporter, Winter claims that her mom physically and emotionally abused her as a young child, and starting at the tender age of seven, was forced into skimpy and sexual clothing to win roles.
“The smallest miniskirts, sailor suits, low-cut things, the shortest dresses you've ever seen. People thought I was 24 when I was 12,” Winter told THR. “If there was going to be a nude scene when I was that age, my mother would have a thousand percent said yes."
To make sure she would fit into the tight and revealing outfits, mom Crystal Workman greatly restricted what her daughter could eat, forcing her to starve on the bare minimum of nutrients. It didn’t take long for people on set to notice Winter was starving.
“I would order a couple lunches in my name so Ariel could eat one of them. I could tell she was hungry,” Sharon Sacks, her on-set teacher, said. “Boiled chicken and cucumbers isn't going to do it for a growing kid."
As her daughter’s star meter rose, Workman piggybacked off her to enjoy the celebrity lifestyle, even as it risked Winter her health.
“Her mother kept her out late at night at these ridiculous parties. She was 12 and 13 years old and had to be on set at 6:30, 7,” Sacks continued.
Winter claims her father, Glenn, was largely absent and unconcerned at the time. And friends were forbidden, because according to the actress, her mom believed “females are competition.”
Soon, the pressure to land jobs became overwhelming.
"You don't get to mess up when you have somebody around you who is constantly watching."
It got so bad, that by the age of 14, Winter was placed by the courts in the temporary custody of her adult sister, Shanelle Gray. A year later, she was granted full emancipation from her parents.
Since then, life has turned around for the teen. She’s in a steady relationship, soon starts classes at UCLA, is on anti-depressants, and calls her therapy sessions her "favorite part of the week.”
She has also rekindled her relationship with her father. But hasn’t spoken to her mom in over five years.
“Even though I wish I had a better childhood, I wouldn't trade it, because it made me who I am today," she says. "I still respect the people that hurt me."
Do you think Ariel should reach out to her mother? Or is she better off alone? Let us know in the comments section.
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