Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter spoke out about the body-shaming they felt growing up on Modern Family

Puberty is a challenging period in everyone’s life, even more so if you’re a celebrity and had to grow up in front of a huge audience. This is the case for Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter, both of whom have been in the public eye since they were cast in Modern Family more than a decade ago. According to the stars, growing up on set meant having to deal with strangers who criticized their bodies.

During the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Hyland and Winter got real about what it was like growing up in front of people who think they had a right to comment on what you looked like.

The conversation started when Nolan Gould, who plays their brother, Luke, on Modern Family, discussed going through puberty on camera. When he said that the fans of the show were “very supportive” and helped make it easier on him, Hyland interjected, rightfully calling out how it’s “probably easier” for boys, as she and Winter suffered through harsher criticism. Winter agreed, but noted that it’s hard for any “child actor.”

"I think it's difficult for any child actor, though that's a really hated-on term, but for any child actor to grow up on TV in front of millions of people because millions of people then think they [...] know you really well and think they can comment on everything you wear or everything you do or how you grow up and change," Winter said, according to E! News.

Hyland echoed the same sentiment, stating that they encountered “keyboard trolls,” people who knew nothing but spewed negative comments. While she had already gone through puberty by the time Modern Family began, she had health issues that led to her getting two kidney transplants over the course of the show.

"I cannot stand, I think it's Season 4 or 5, because I had very bad Prednisone face and I gained like 30 pounds," she shared. "And that for me was something that Ariel and I were, I think, going through around the same time, where she got her things—that's what you said, right? She got things and stuff, and I had another thing, but not as fun. But people really love to attack women especially."

Now in her late 20s, Hyland shares that she’s feeling pretty “great.” She’s especially thankful to Winter who served as her support system throughout the years.

“I think Ariel is such an amazing woman and has always been so mature and handles it with such grace and poise,” Hyland said. “And I think between the two of us, we really have gone and tackled them with all of our spice and wit.”

We’re glad that both Sarah and Ariel weathered through years of tackling online trolls and came out stronger than ever. Kudos to them! Phil Dunphy would be so proud.

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