Sexualised By Her Own Mom At 7, Modern Family’s Alex Opens Up About Her Disturbing Childhood

You know her as smart, sassy and the most clever Dunphy. Alex from ABC’s sitcom, Modern Family, is a heart-winner. But when the limelight went off, the things were harder than you can imagine for Ariel Winter, who plays Alex.

With a strict mom (actually strict is not the right word, cruel is), Ariel’s childhood was stripped away from her. She was made to starve, dress in a provocative way, not allowed to have friends and every bit sexualised by her own mom, Crystal Workman.

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In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Winter recalled her childhood, which she calls as a bad chapter.

“I went through a really rough period, a really bad chapter.”

Winter was sexualised from the age of 7. She was dressed 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.

Talking more about her childhood, Ariel cited instances to The Hollywood Reporter. The interview read,

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“She wasn’t allowed to make friends with girls, she (Ariel) says, ‘because females are competition — that’s how some people see it.’ Pressure to land jobs was intense. ‘You don’t get to mess up when you have somebody around you who is constantly watching.’ Food was ‘very, very restricted’ from the time she began acting, and her education was neglected. ‘I had a few tutors, and they were amazing.'”


It was her on-set tutor, Sharon Sacks, who saw the struggle and noticed sleep deprivation. She said,

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. 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.”


It was in 2012 after Ariel was ready for emancipation from her mom (her dad was not around during her childhood), Sharon called L.A.’s Child Protective Services and explained Winter’s situation to them. Ariel was then placed in foster care with her sister Shanelle, who took her in.

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“Ariel told me she was ready. She was very scared. She knew the consequences.”

Winter’s case went on in court for two years, after which, in 2014, Shanelle was granted her custody and she was emancipated from her mom in 2015. Life opened its doors for Winter and she went into therapy and is now on medication to treat depression. She started attending L.A.’s elite, Campbell Hall.

Despite going through all this, Ariel respects the people that hurt her.


A post shared by ARIEL WINTER (@arielwinter) on

“Even though I wish I had a better childhood, I wouldn’t trade it, because it made me who I am today. I still respect the people that hurt me.”

Winter hasn’t spoken to her mother in five years. She’s now going to start college at UCLA because she has a penchant for learning.

Kudos to you, Ariel! It’s great to see a young 19-year-old fighting life’s battles so bravely.

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