Modern Family star Ariel Winter posted a sweet message for her family on Christmas Day.
The 15-year-old actress shared a collage of photos of her sister, brother-in-law, and young nieces on Instagram and wrote that she was “so lucky to be part of this amazing family.” Winter, who has been living with Shanelle Gray for about a year and a half, called her older sister her “best friend” and said she could only “pray to have a family like the one she has created” and to be “even half of the incredible person she is.” She also called Gray’s husband, David Barry Gray, the “best father figure you could ever ask for.”
Shanelle Gray was appointed Ariel Winter’s guardian amid allegations of abuse by their mother, Chrisoula Workman, who has denied the claims. It was initially reported that 35-year-old Gray was removed from Workman’s home 20 years ago under similar abuse allegations, but Workman said her daughter ran away when she was 15 with a boy she was seeing and didn’t want to come home.
The Department of Children and Family Services got involved, but the mother of the boy Gray was seeing “assisted Shanelle to make false accusations against” Workman and Gray’s father, according to Chrisoula Workman.
Since moving in with her sister, Winter told Teen Vogue that she has adjusted to a new lifestyle with new household rules.
“I’ve never had a curfew before. My life is definitely more normal—and that’ll help me grow up like I’m supposed to. Like, I always wanted to be a dancer, and now I’m taking dance classes,” Winter told the magazine.
“And I didn’t have many friends. It was all about work. Nowadays, my sister’s like, ‘You’re supposed to have friends. You’re supposed to go out on Friday and Saturday nights.'”
In addition to Modern Family, Ariel Winter provides the voice of Princess Sofia in Disney’s Sofia the First, which premiered on January 11, 2013. Disney renewed the series for a 26-episode second season on March 5.