Celebs From Matthew McConaughey To James Van Der Beek Have Left Hollywood. Why Modern Family's Ariel Winter Continued The Trend

It used to be common for major actors to live in Hollywood or its sister acting city New York, but over the past several years a slew of celebrities have shifted away from that mindset, leaving Tinseltown. The list of celebrities no longer calling Los Angeles home is varied, from Marvel stars like Chris Hemsworth to a-listers like Matthew McConaughey and even famous TV personalities like James Van Der Beek. Now, Modern Family star Ariel Winter has explained why she’s also continued the trend. 

Ariel Winter has lived in Los Angeles for most of her life, unlike the myriad transplants and actor hopefuls who head there every year. However, she recently revealed on her Modern Family co-star Julie Bowen’s podcast Quitters that during the pandemic she’d really been thinking about what would lie ahead if she moved. She noted people always asked her “where would I go?”

I just don’t know, what would I do? I just randomly looked and decided, ‘why not?’ so I decided within a week and a half to move. We sold our cars, got an Escalade to fit all the dogs on the drive. I put my house on the market, sold my house–we just went back and got the rest of our stuff. It was hard for me to decide that, just because I’m leaving everyone I know in California.

Ariel Winter and her boyfriend Luke Benward moved from California to Virginia, where Winter was originally born before starting work in Hollywood at a young age. The actress notes she still has family in the area, and while the move was a momentous decision, she just told herself, “If I don’t like it somewhere I can leave.” 

It might seem like a huge jump to exit the place you’ve lived for the majority of your life and take a car across the country to move to the opposite coast, but Ariel Winter says the move really made sense for herself and her partner. She says, in fact, that she never enjoyed living in LA. 

Part of the reason I always hated LA was because I have been followed by paparazzi for a very long portion of my life. And I really, really dislike having my space invaded. I don’t like pictures of me when I haven’t signed up for pictures of me. I don’t like feeling watched. I’ve always just wanted to live a very, very normal life, just have a normal existence. And I never really felt like I could do that in LA.

The Modern Family star is active on social media and from her comments to Julie Bowen and co. seems to want to be able to control her own narrative, which was difficult to do in sunny California. She went on to say “fame” is not something she’s ever “really had an interest in,” though she has moved to a place where a few other “industry” people have already relocated. Interestingly, her comments mirror those Matthew McConaughey’s wife Camila Alves made several months ago. In the case of the McConaughey family, they moved from Hollywood to Texas so their kids could have a more “private” way to grow up. 

He’s not the only one to move away from the spotlight, as Jason Segel moved to a “small farm town” to get out of the limelight, similar to what Ariel Winter is saying here. And Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky also left LA so they wouldn’t be in “the eye of the storm” and could recharge in Australia. 

Winter’s been out of California for a few months now, but she’ll still likely spend a considerable amount of time there as acting gigs take her back and forth between the two coasts, as she’s been busy since Modern Family wrapped. In fact, she recently was greenlighted for a brand new TV pilot, Hungry, from Hot In Cleveland creator Suzanne Martin. For now, though, she seems to be settling in for a new life that involves way few paparazzi photos. Given the brouhaha surrounding Ariel Winter’s changing body as an actress on the ABC sitcom, I can’t really blame her. 

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.