Ariel Winter, 14, subjected to abuse? 'Modern Family' star's mom denies claims
"Modern Family" actress Ariel Winter, 14, has been removed from the home of mother, Chrisoula Workman, following a petition for guardianship filed by her sister, who claims their mom subjected the teenage star to physical and emotional abuse and tried to "sexualize" her.
Workman, who is 54 and has worked as a manager for child actors, denies the allegations, telling People magazine on Wednesday: "It's all untrue, it's all untrue. I have my doctor's letter that my daughter's never been abused. I have stylists' letters that she's never been abused."
Winter's 34-year-old sister, former "One Life To Live" and "The Bold and the Beautiful" actress Shanelle Gray, filed the papers last month. She was granted temporary guardianship of the actress until November 20, when a hearing is set to take place, while Workman lost custody.
Winter, who plays Alex Dunphy on the Emmy-winning ABC sitcom, has not commented about the case, which was filed at a Los Angeles court last month, but did sign the petition and marked a box that states she wants Gray to be her temporary guardian. She now lives with her at her house in Studio City, near Los Angeles.
In her suit, which refers to the actress by her real last name - Workman - Gray is asking for her guardianship to be made permanent. Workman has been barred from contacting Winter, whose attorney may also ask that an order be issued to restrict contact between the actress and 18-year-old boyfriend, actor Cameron Palatas, OTRC.com has learned.
"Ariel W. Workman has been the victim of on-going physical abuse (slapping, hitting, pushing) and emotional abuse (vile name-calling, personal insults about minor and minor's weight, attempts to 'sexualize' minor, deprivation of food, etc.) for an extended period of time by the minor's mother, Chrisoula Workman, the lawsuit states.
The actress' father, Glenn Workman, is "estranged and incapable of properly caring for a minor," according to the documents. He has not commented.
Her son and Winter's 32-year-old brother Jimmy Workman, another former child star who played Pugsley Addams in "The Addams Family" movies, told "Entertainment Tonight" that the allegations stated in Gray's lawsuit are untrue.
"This is stemming from a boy who is overage, dating my sister," he said about Winter's boyfriend. "My family had no idea about it until the end part of it. It's not true. [Chrisoula is] a mother who does everything for her child, so this is just not right right now."
He added that Winter currently is not speaking to members of her family, due to the influence of Gray and lawyers.
Gray, who also began her acting career as a child, says that granting her guardianship of Winter is "necessary" in order to protect her and "prevent further physical and emotional abuse" from their mother. She also claims that "guardianship of the estate is necessary" because Workman receives checks for the actress' work on "Modern Family" and also has control of her Coogan Account.
This is a blocked trust account given to underage members of the AFTRA-SAG union. Earnings deposited in it cannot be withdrawn until the person turns 18 or becomes legally emancipated. Gray is requesting that the funds be moved to a blocked account and to hand over to the actress all the checks so she can deposit them in it.
Winter has been acting since she was four years old, according to her bio on ABC's website for the show. Her first paying gig was a Cool Whip commercial.
Winter talked about her relationship with her parents in an interview with People in 2011.
"If I go on dates, my mom is always with me," she told the magazine. "She's always there making sure I'm all right. Like if I go to see a movie with a boy, she'll go to dinner next door."
Her dad, she said at the time" does worry, but he doesn't know half the things," adding: "He's just like, 'Don't tell me. Don't tell me and it's all right.'"
(Pictured above: Ariel Winter arrives at the 10th Annual Teen Vogue "Young Hollywood" Party with Emporio Armani on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, in Los Angeles.)