In 2012, during Ariel Winter’s run on ‘Modern Family,’ her on-set teacher, Sharon Sacks, called Child Protective Services with concerns about her mother, Crystal Workman, citing physical and psychological abuse.
Following these allegations, Winter’s sister, Shanelle Gray, filed for guardianship, and Winter lived with her until she turned 18. Years later, the actress discussed the details of the abuse she went through as a child in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Saying her mother sexualized her when she was a child, the actress revealed:
“[My mother would dress me in] the smallest miniskirts, sailor suits, low-cut things, the shortest dresses you’ve ever seen. People thought I was 24 when I was 12. If there was going to be a nude scene when I was that age, my mother would have a thousand percent said yes.”
While the ‘Modern Family’ creators said that Winter always remained professional and didn’t let her struggles show on set, her teacher Sharon recalled Workman’s treatment of her daughter by noting:
“I would order a couple lunches in my name so Ariel could eat one of them. I could tell she was hungry. Boiled chicken and cucumbers isn’t going to do it for a growing kid.”
Reports also suggested that Crystal’s actions toward Winter went beyond dietary control, with physical abuse and sleep deprivation due to forced appearances at late-night parties.
While, according to her interviews, things went better for the actress after she stopped seeing her mother, Workman told Inside Edition that she had to sell her house due to financial problems that came after her daughter’s emancipation.
Then, she called out to Winter by saying:
“It’s time to fix your relationship with your mom. Every girl needs her mom, and every mom needs her daughter.”
During that chat, Workman also commented on her daughter’s fashion choices, claiming that she was ‘starving for attention.’ So, the ‘Modern Family’ actress shared an answer on social media:
“Screw always having to look appropriate and fashionable. I wear what I like, and no one should fault me for that.”
Despite the abuse, Ariel Winter revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that she didn’t want to change her childhood, as it made her who she is. On the other hand, the actress kept a distance from her mother throughout the years.