WATCH: Ariel Winter Still Won’t Talk to Her Mom
Ariel Winter is opening up about her family drama.
Appearing on Ellen, the Modern Family star gets candid about why she and her sister, who became her temporary guardian for most of her teenage years, are estranged from their mother, Chrisoula “Crystal” Workman.
In 2015, Winter was officially emancipated from Workman after a lengthy custody battle.
“Emancipation is basically you become your own entity. Nobody controls you anymore. You handle your own business affairs, your own living arrangements; your own money. Everything is sort of in your own hands,” she explains. “My sister was granted temporary custody first and then when I was 17, in the beginning of the year, she was granted permanent custody. And then to kind of just move forward with the process and end it all together, we got me emancipated and I could just handle my own affairs.”
“She’s been the best part of my life,” the actress continues of her sister, Shanelle Gray. “She really is my best friend. She’s the most important thing to me. She’s been there for me through absolutely everything. And I just love her so much. I count on her more than anything.”
Though Winter is hesitant to get into details about her difficult relationship with her mom, she does admit that it’s been hard but rewarding to be her own person.
“It’s most definitely hard to grow up in the industry, but just grow up in any instance without a mother from a very young age. And it has been very sad for me, but at the same time it’s been much better for me emotionally and physically to be on my own and have a better, safer household and support system,” she tells host Ellen DeGeneres. “I don’t really talk about the reason that I don’t speak to my mother. It’s kind of been publicized, but the reason I don’t really share that is because I want to give her the same respect that she didn’t give to me publicly.”
Workman previously gave a TMI account into the inner workings of their family in a deposition, alleging she once caught a then-14-year-old Winter in bed with an 18-year-old man. Workman was also accused of dressing her own daughter up in lingerie in a deposition by Winter’s ex-boyfriend, actor Cameron Palatas.
Winter has since claimed that she was emotionally and physically abused by Workman.