‘Modern Family’ Star Ariel Winter: My Mom Sexualized Me From Age 7
In a new interview, the actress opens up about her troubled childhood and her fallout with her mother, whom she now says sexualized her at an early age.
And that’s just the start of Ariel’s accusations…
We’ve heard about this drama for half a decade now.
Ariel alleged that her mother, Crystal, abused her in 2012 — and thus began a lengthy legal battle, as well as a war of words.
For example, Crystal has criticized her daughter everywhere from In Touch to Dr. Phil.
Now, though, a new profile of the Modern Family actress in The Hollywood Reporter provides a damning indictment of her mother.
For example, Ariel tells the magazine it wasn’t her decision to become an actress when she first started appearing on screen in TV shows like Jericho and ER.
Instead, Ariel’s showbiz career was the vicarious result of Crystal’s unfulfilled dreams — and Ariel says Crystal not only subjected her to stage mom behavior but also physical and emotional abuse.
Crystal didn’t allow Ariel to make female friends, Ariel reveals, “because females are competition — that's how some people see it.”
Ariel says Crystal pressured her to get jobs, adding, “You don’t get to mess up when you have somebody around you who is constantly watching.”
And, as Ariel claims, Crystal kept her daughter’s diet “very, very restricted,” and her education neglected.
Ariel also feels like her mother sexualized her starting at age 7, by dressing her 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,” she tells the mag.
“If there was going to be a nude scene when I was that age, my mother would have a thousand percent said yes.”
Even Sharon Sacks, Ariel’s on-set teacher, has damning words for the way Ariel was raised.
“I would order a couple lunches in my name so Ariel could eat one of them,” she says.
“I could tell she was hungry. Boiled chicken and cucumbers isn't going to do it for a growing kid.”
Additionally, Sharon noticed her star pupil was sleep-deprived.
“Her mother kept her out late at night at these ridiculous parties,” she says.
“She was 12 and 13 years old and had to be on set at 6:30, 7.”
Finally, in 2012, Ariel and Sharon took action.
“Ariel told me she was ready,” Sharon says.
“She was very scared … She knew the consequences.”
Sharon reported the situation to Child Protective Services, while Ariel readied herself for a life of foster care.
Then, however, Ariel’s adult sister Shanelle Gray agreed to take her in, even though Shanelle had only met her a handful of times.
In 2014, Shanelle was granted custody — thanks, in part, to people like Modern Family co-creator Steven Levitan writing letters on Ariel’s behalf.
A year later, Ariel was granted emancipation.
She started attending a private school in Los Angeles; she booked regular therapy appointments, she got herself out of debt; and she even got herself accepted into Yale, Princeton, and UCLA.
Amid all of that drama, though, this 19-year-old has remained philosophical.
“Even though I wish I had a better childhood, I wouldn’t trade it, because it made me who I am today,” she explains.
“I still respect the people that hurt me.”