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On the hit sitcom Modern Family, 14-year-old Ariel Winter plays Alex, the brainy middle child in a loving (and hilariously goofy) family. But in real life, Winter has been removed from her troubled home into her older sister's guardianship.
According to E! News, Winter's mother Chrisoula Workman is being accused of physical and emotional abuse in a petition for guardianship by the young actress' adult sister Shanelle Gray, who alleges Ariel was slapped, pushed, shoved and subjected to "vile name calling, personal insults about [her and her weight], attempts to 'sexualize' a minor, deprivation of food, etc. for an extended period of time."
Gray, who has had temporary guardianship since Oct. 3, claims in the court documents that it's important she be appointed her younger sister's permanent guardian because right now Workman is in charge of Winter's approximate $500,000 estate and the California-mandated Coogan account (which sets aside funds for child actors, so they don't reach adulthood bankrupt).
Workman, however, denies the abuse allegations, telling E! News, "I want to say the horrible, untrue accusations are false and ridiculous."
She added: "I have my doctor's letter that my daughter's never been abused...I have stylists' letters that she's never been abused."
TMZ reports that Winter's sister Shanelle was removed from her mother's home as a young child and was placed in foster care by the Department of Children and Family Services for more than two years. She didn't return to her mother.
Winter will remain in Gray's guardianship until a follow-up hearing on Nov. 20 and Workman has been ordered to refrain from contacting her daughter in the meantime.