From the outsider looking in, the 19-year-old actress has had it made since joining the ABC sitcom back in 2009. However, she says that her childhood was extremely intense.
Winter has had a long history of discord with her mother, Chrystal Workman. From a young age, the actress says that her mom was trying to turn boost her into stardom, no matter what it took.
"People thought I was 24 when I was 12," Winter said during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "If there was going to be a nude scene when I was that age, my mother would have a thousand percent said yes."
According to Winter, every aspect of her life was controlled by Workman, who was putting tremendous pressure on her to hit it big in Hollywood.
"You don't get to mess up when you have somebody around you who is constantly watching," Winter said.
Winter wasn't allowed to befriend other girls "because females are competition — that's how some people see it."
She was also dressed in "low-cut things" and "the smallest miniskirts" starting at age 7.
After joining Modern Family, Winter made the decision to share her struggles with her on-set teacher Sharon Sacks.
"She was very scared. … She knew the consequences," Sacks said.
Sacks was the one to report Winter's home life situation with Workman to Los Angeles' Child Protective Services.
In 2012, Winter was prepared to go into foster care until her older sister, Shanelle Gray, agreed to take her in, even though they barely knew each other.
Winter was eventually emancipated from Workman with Gray becoming her legal guardian in 2015, after years of family drama.
"I went through a really rough period, a really bad chapter," Winter said.
Despite the struggles of her childhood, Winter has a positive outlook on how it impacted her life.
"Even though I wish I had a better childhood, I wouldn't trade it, because it made me who I am today," Winter said. "I still respect the people that hurt me."
Currently, Winter is preparing to begin classes at UCLA. She was also accepted to Yale and Princeton but chose to stay on the West Coast.
"I definitely want to continue being an actress. I love it," Winter said. "The reason I'm going to college is because I do want knowledge in another field. College isn't the college experience for me. I'm not going to be in a sorority, I'm not going to network, I'm not even really going to make my lifelong friends."0comments
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