Actress Ariel Winter has opened up about the hell she went through as a child star.
The Modern Family star is still only 19, but she has already experienced enough career drama to last a lifetime, winning a battle to force her mother to give up custody of her when she was 14.
In a new The Hollywood Reporter expose, the teenager reveals an on-set teacher reported the actress’ mother Crystal Workman to officials at the Los Angeles Child Protective Services – and that move started a lengthy family tug-o-war between Ariel’s mum and sister Shanelle Gray, who won custody of her sibling.
Claiming she was pushed into show business by her mum, Ariel tells the outlet she was placed on a “very, very restricted” diet, forced to wear inappropriate clothes, and pressured to get work as a young actress.
“You don’t get to mess up when you have somebody around you who is constantly watching,” she says.
The young star also hated her look, recalling she was dressed in “the smallest miniskirts, sailor suits, low-cut things, the shortest dresses you’ve ever seen”, and adding, “People thought I was 24 when I was 12.”
Winter claims the family drama sent her to therapy, and she is now on medication to treat depression.
“I went through a really rough period, a really bad chapter,” she explains, revealing online trolls have always made her life hell.
“It was automatically ‘You’re a fat slut. You’re a whore’. I was like, ‘Maybe I’m going to lose some weight, dye my hair, change how I dress… Maybe I’m doing something wrong’. I actually got more hate by trying to change.”
And she hopes to help others who are suffering like she did by launching a charity to help abused children and adults with mental illness: “Even though I wish I had a better childhood, I wouldn’t trade it, because it made me who I am today,” Ariel says. “I still respect the people that hurt me.”