Ariel Winter: Settlement Reached in Guardianship Case of Modern Family Star
The agreement was reached just before a trial was set to begin on who would care for the 16-year-old actress.
The Modern Family star’s mother Chrisoula Workman agreed to drop her objections to the guardianship if her daughter could watch a video montage of family photos before court adjourned.
Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy agreed, and Winter and her sister Shanelle Gray sat in court and dabbed their eyes with a tissues as photos of their childhood played. Winter left court without speaking, but Murphy said it would be up to her to decide whether she would visit with her mother.
Winter has been living with Gray since 2012, when a temporary guardianship was established amid allegations that Workman was subjecting her daughter to physical and emotional abuse.
Another judge previously said an initial report by child protective services found evidence of emotional abuse, but claims of physical abuse were deemed inconclusive. Subsequent reports have not been described in court.
“I have never abused my daughter,” Workman reiterated Monday.
Winter’s father will have control of the actress’s finances and will have to make reports to the court. Murphy said he would retain jurisdiction over the actress and her care until she turns 18.
After the proceedings, Gray and Workman issued a joint statement saying, “The family has moved beyond the conflict.”
The statement said they were working toward reconciliation and thanked well-wishers.
Several supporters of Workman who attended the proceedings applauded the settlement announcement.
Winter, who has been acting since age 7, plays Alex Dunphy on the popular and critically acclaimed ABC series Modern Family. She also has appeared in movies such as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Winter’s brother, actor Jimmy Workman, had asked that the courtroom be closed while the video montage was played, but Murphy refused. Jimmy, who played Pugsley Addams in The Addams Family films, excused himself from the courtroom at one point and wept after Murphy formally granted Gray guardianship of his sister.
Guardianship cases in California are public record. Gray’s attorneys requested the case and its proceedings be sealed, but a judge has refused. The case was filed under Winter’s birth name, Ariel Workman.