Ariel Winter says food was “very, very restricted” for her when she was a child actress
Modern Family actress Ariel Winter recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter and opened up about her past as a child actor. Winter’s mother, Crystal Workman, allegedly physically and emotionally abused her daughter while trying to make Winter famous, and one of those abuse tactics, Winter said, was that food was “very, very restricted.”
When Winter landed Modern Family at age 11, she was assigned to on-set teacher, Sharon Sacks. While getting to know Winter, Sacks got the impression that something was going on at home.
"I would order a couple lunches in my name so Ariel could eat one of them. I could tell she was hungry," Sacks revealed to The Reporter. "Boiled chicken and cucumbers isn't going to do it for a growing kid."
On top of her food intake being strictly monitored, Winter wasn’t allowed to make female friends growing up as a young actress. This was because, according to her mother, “females are competition.”
She noted that her education also suffered, and that she was definitely over-sexualized at a young age — all so that she could “make it.” She noted that at seven years old, her mother would dress her in “the smallest miniskirts, sailor suits, low-cut things, the shortest dresses you’ve ever seen,” Winter said.
The abuse continued until 2012, when Winter finally gave Sacks the okay to report her situation to Los Angeles’ Child Protective Services.
At 14, Winter was placed into the custody of her older sister, Shanelle Gray, and she was fully emancipated within a year. Currently, at 19, Winter is seeing a therapist, taking medication to treat her depression, and will start classes at UCLA this month.
"The reason I'm going to college is because I do want knowledge in another field," Winter said in The Hollywood Reporter profile. "I've had the career experience. I've had the experience of taking care of myself. I'm going to college because I genuinely want to learn."
She hopes to one day start a charity dedicated to helping abused children and adults, and another charity to help those with mental illness.
Winters has grown up to be an intelligent, confident, and goal-oriented woman, and we’re so proud of her self-assurance and ability to open up about her journey.