'Modern Family' Star Ariel Winter Is Officially Emancipated At 17

Posted: May 16 2015, 6:54pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Celebrity News


'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter is Officially Emancipated at 17
Credit: Getty Images
  • Turns 18 in January.
  • Free from parental control.

Ariel Winter of Modern Family and Sofia the First fame is legally declared emancipated after a 5 year custody battle. Releasing the information via Twitter, the young star thanks those who believed in and helped her.

On Friday, May 15, Ariel Winter announced her official emancipation on Twitter with a shout out to those who helped along the way.  "I'm really lucky I have an amazing support system and lovely people in my life who have given me the support and guidance to have been given this wonderful opportunity."

"Most importantly I want to thank Shanelle Gray and my father for their special support regarding this matter," said the 17-year-old. "I really couldn't have done it without them."

On Mother's Day last Sunday, she also thanked Gray. Posting on Instagram, she captioned the shot, "I love you more than words can even describe and I'm so lucky to have you as my sister. You're an amazing mother, an amazing sister, and an amazing wife, among many other things."

Compared to legal problems found throughout the star's life, being near her sister seems to remain very important.

"It's incredible to me how you can be such a successful business woman, such an amazing mother to your kids, and also be my best friend. You are my inspiration. I'm so thankful for everything you've done for me and for everything you've helped me accomplish."

The case for permanent parental separation began after a 2012 investigation where the Department of Family and Child Services removed the star from her mother Chrisoula 'Chrystal' Workman's custody and placed her with Gray. The agency claimed allegations of emotional and physical abuse, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Still speaking of Gray's abilities as a mentor and mother, Ariel proclaimed, "without your love and support I wouldn't have become the person I am today." In a moment of bonding, she added, "I love you to the moon."

During Winter's early career, her mother was responsible for finances. However, after an agreement in December 2012, Mr. Workman took over the role until Ariel turns 18. Last year, Gray was named permanent guardian while the emancipation proceeded.

Playing Alex Dunphy on ABC's highly successful comedy Modern Family means a steady paycheck and endorsement deals. While her father and sister were responsible for all major decision making, the teenager now holds majority of the power.

Every decision will be backed by her opinion, including where and how to live, employment, and decisions most Americans do not face until graduating high school. Turning 18 in January means the emancipation places an early start to putting life in the order she wants.

Speaking to E! on Friday afternoon, Ariel’s attorney, Amir Pitchvai, stated the Sofia the First actress is a “capable and responsible adult” and “very happy” to end the family drama. When the settlement was reached last year, Gray and their mother sent out a press release, declaring “the family has moved beyond the conflict."

After the court case was closed in 2014, People pointed out that a second judge found the accusations of physical abuse to be unsubstantiated. Mrs. Workman found the allegations to be entirely untrue, even telling the court “I have never abused my daughter.”

A photo posted by Ariel Winter (@arielwinter) on

At the time, her brother Jimmy Workman (Addams Family) cried alongside his sisters when a family montage video played in the court room. In 2012, the actor told press that the court had ordered family therapy. He also added that the family had been estranged with neither Shanelle nor Ariel speaking to himself or Chrystal.

A year later, TMZ reported Jimmy attempted to file custody papers for his younger sister, claiming Gray used Ariel's fame and connections for business benefits. The disagreed and granted full custody to Shanelle.

While Gray’s attorneys wanted the matter sealed, Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy denied the request. After the court hearing, Gray announced any attempts to speak to their mother was at the sole discretion of the actress.

Even after such a stressful and ongoing situation, Ariel Winter continues to remain grateful, pointing out that so many people are "making my life so special."

"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."

Hopefully there’ll be more comedic moments than dramatic ones for the beginning of the star’s new journey.


Sources: E!, Instagram The Los Angeles Times, People, Twitter

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