'Modern Family' Star Ariel Winter Explains How Childhood Abuse Shaped Her As an Adult

In 2015, “Modern Family” star Ariel Winter was officially emancipated from her mother. Now, the 19-year-old actress is speaking out about her childhood and how she’s prioritizing her mental health as an adult.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Winter said that her mother, Crystal Workman, was a “stage-mom and worse.” Winter’s father wasn’t present for most of her life, leaving her alone with her mother, who she said physically abused her as well as restricted her food. Winter’s education was also neglected, while her mother pushed her to excel in the entertainment business instead. Emotionally, Winter said her mother subjected her to extreme sexualization from as young as 12 years old. “People thought I was 24 when I was 12,” she said.

When Winter was 14, someone working on Modern Family reported her situation to Los Angeles Child Protective Services, which led to her living under the care of her older sister, Shantelle Workman. She hasn’t spoken to her mother in five years.

Since becoming emancipated, Winter has been working on improving her mental health. She got a semicolon tattoo after going through “a really rough period, a really bad chapter,” and takes medication for depression. She also goes to therapy every week, which she calls “her favorite part of the week.”

As for the next chapter of her life, Winter is taking classes at UCLA and has at least two more seasons of “Modern Family” to film. Her education is important to her, she said, as she hopes to start an organization for those with mental illness as well as children and adults who have been abused. “Even though I wish I had a better childhood, I wouldn’t trade it, because it made me who I am today,” she said.

If you or a loved one is affected by domestic violence or emotional abuse and need help, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

Header image via Ariel Winter’s Facebook.

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