Ariel Winter Emancipated: ‘Modern Family’ Star Wins Battle

Ariel Winter is officially emancipated.

After a very long, public battle, the 17-year-old Modern Family star has won the custody case against her mother, Chrystal Workman.

Winter took to Twitter to announce the exciting news to her 340,000 followers on May 15.

“Most importantly I want to thank @shanelle_gray and my father for their special support regarding this matter, I really couldn’t have done it without them,” she added. “Thank you to all of my family, friends, and fans who have supported me through all of my endeavors in life, and have encouraged me. Thank you for making my life so special! I can’t wait to embark on my new adventures.”

The quite messy legal ordeal dates back to 2012 when Ariel’s sister, Shanelle Gray, applied for custody of Winter, claiming her mother was both physically and emotionally abusive. The judge granted Gray custody of Ariel, and ordered her mother to stay at least 100 yards from her.

“Per her guardianship petition, Ariel’s sister, Shanelle Gray, alleges that Workman has slapped, hit and pushed Ariel, as well as abused her in the form of vile name calling, personal insults about [her and her weight], attempts to ‘sexualize’ minor, deprivation of food, etc. for an extended period of time,'” Uproxx reported.

“Gray’s petition concludes that it’s imperative she be appointed Ariel’s personal guardian and head of her estimated $500,000 estate, both for the teen’s physical safety and because Workman is currently receiving the checks from her daughter’s TV work and is in charge of her Coogan account (money that by California law is set aside for child actors for when they reach adulthood).”

On May 5, 2014, Gray received permanent guardianship of Winter. Following the judge’s decision, the sisters issued a statement saying that “the family has moved beyond the conflict,” according to the Pocono Record.

Winter, who plays the brainy teen Alex Dunphy on the ABC sitcom, first rose to fame when she landed a role in a Cool Whip commercial at age six. Ariel, along with the rest of the Modern Family cast, won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2011, and then again in 2012.

[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]