You never really know when a child star seeks to distance herself from her parents whether if it’s because they want the ability to control their own wealth, or if the parents are being abusive, domineering, or mishandling the childs’ income. There have been numerous cases over the years where child stars have sought to gain control over their own wealth for perhaps selfish reasons, but this case doesn’t appear to be one of those. A judge has removed Ariel Winter — who plays Alex Dunphy on Modern Family — from her mother, after Ariel’s sister alleged that their mother physically and verbally abused Ariel.
Per her guardianship petition, Ariel’s sister, Shanelle Gray, alleges that Workman has slapped, hit and pushed Ariel, as well as abused her in the form of “vile name calling, personal insults about [her and her weight], attempts to ‘sexualize’ minor, deprivation of food, etc. for an extended period of time.”
Gray’s petition concludes that it’s imperative she be appointed Ariel’s personal guardian and head of her estimated $500,000 estate, both for the teen’s physical safety and because Workman is currently receiving the checks from her daughter’s TV work and is in charge of her Coogan account (money that by California law is set aside for child actors for when they reach adulthood).
The key here is the personal insults about weight, the sexualization, and the deprivation of food, all things that often seem to characterize pageant moms. Ariel’s mother is a homemaker, Ariel has been acting since she was 6, the family moved from Virginia to California to allow Ariel’s older brother (Jimmy Workman, who played Pugsly in the 90’s Addams Family movies) to act, and the father is not around. On paper, anyway, those are all factors that might lead one to assume that Ariel’s mother may have pageant-mom syndrome: She’s living through her kids. The sexualization is apparent, too, in — for instance — the photo on the right, taken when Winter was 13. NOT COOL. For God’s sake: Her name is Ariel Winter, and if that’s not a name given by a mother who wants her daughter to be a Hollywood actress, I don’t know what is.
Ariel’s mother denies the allegations, citing — among other things — letters from stylists, and the very fact that her mother is using letters from STYLISTS to prove her innocence suggests all you need to know about the kind of life that she has made for her daughter.
Either way, it’s distressing news.