Millions of Americans watch the award-winning comedy "Modern Family" each week. Both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney said the program is a favorite in their respective households, and the show is near the top of the ratings every week. However, some real-life drama now threatens to get in the way of the funny business in the form of a child custody dispute involving one of the show's young stars, 14-year-old Ariel Winter.
A judge last month placed the young actress under the care of her adult sister after allegations of abuse surfaced surrounding Winter's mother. According to reports, Ariel's mother Chris Workman was ordered to stay away from her daughter after it was alleged she subjected her to physical and emotional abuse. Chris Workman says the allegations are false and that she has a letter from a doctor backing her up.
In any case, Ariel's sister now has guardianship of the young actress at least until a hearing in the case takes place just before Thanksgiving. Her publicist declined to comment on the situation, but the actress has moved out of her mother's house.
Normally custody battles and allegations of abuse are not played out in public, but the fact that a teenage actress whose TV character has a blissful fictional family is in turmoil regarding her real family serves as a reminder domestic disputes such as this can happen in any walk of life.
Allegations of abuse are serious, and the judge may have had little choice in the matter but to err on the side of caution in case they are true. In any case, perhaps continuing to appear in the successful series can at least provide a distraction for the talented actress -- who, despite her onscreen poise, is much too young to have to deal with such a stressful situation.
Source: Reuters, "Mom of 'Modern Family' actress denies abuse claims," Eric Kelsey, Nov. 7, 2012