Sisterly love! On the Monday, March 21, episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ariel Winter opened up about emancipating herself from her mother, Chrisoula Workman, and how her big sister, Shanelle Gray, has been a pillar of support throughout it all.
“She’s been the best part of my life. She really is my best friend. She’s the most important thing to me,” the Modern Family star, 18, said about her 37-year-old sibling. “She’s been there for me through absolutely everything. And I just love her so much. I count on her more than anything.”
As Us Weekly previously reported, Winter went through several years of legal battles with her mom over allegations that Chrisoula emotionally and physically abused Winter as a child. Winter’s brother, Jimmy Workman, has denied those claims on behalf of their mother.
“There is no truth to these allegations,” he told Us back in 2012. “This is a mother who does everything for her kids … Chris misses Ariel and wants her to come home.”
Winter currently resides with her sister, who acted as her temporary guardian from ages 14 to 17 until she finally emancipated herself upon turning 18 in January 2016.
Asked about the current relationship with their mom, Winter stated that neither she or her older sister speak to Chrisoula.
“Well, 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,” she explained to the talk show host, 58. “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.”
When reminded of her mother’s infamous interview on Dr. Phil in 2013 — in which Chrisoula refuted abuse allegations and claimed that Gray’s main motivation for taking in her youngest daughter was financial gain — Winter said that she has decided to take the high road by keeping the details of their sordid history private.
“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,” the teen actress added. “It just really didn’t try to fix anything with me. It just tried to make herself look better and I’m not interested in doing that. People can make their own judgments. I did what I had to do for myself.”
Can't get enough of Us? Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter packed with the latest celeb news, hot pics and more!