Modern Family’s Ariel Winter Opens Up About Being Body Shamed By Fans While On The Show

Ariel Winter on Modern Family
(Image credit: ABC)

Over the course of 11 years, viewers witnessed Modern Family's child stars go from school-aged kids to young adults. When it specifically comes to Ariel Winter’s Alex Dunphy, she transformed from a precocious know-it-all to an intelligent career woman. While many fans loved and adored Alex, Winter didn’t always receive that love in real life. Recently, the actress and mental health advocate opened up about being fat-shamed on social media by some of the show’s fans.

Like any young woman, Ariel Winter experienced puberty in her preteen years though, unlike most others, her physical development occurred in front of an ocean of TV watchers. In some ways, fans saw her body change overnight. While a number of people showed support for her during that time, others weren’t afraid to express their disapproval. Winter revealed on Red Table Talk: The Estefans the online and media vitriol she received at an early age:

I got called a fat slut when I was 13. That was rough. Because I gained weight and my body changed, I had to wear different outfits and I wore a dress that had a cutout here. And it was like the headlines were dark. Fat slut was rough for me, and it continued. It was the fans, some of them, we have lovely, lovely fans, but some were also hard on me in the way they loved Alex Dunphy. And because I wasn't Alex Dunphy and didn't look like Alex, I didn't want to dress like Alex… I was just different in that way. I'm not my character. From them, they're like, 'How did you go from Alex Dunphy to being, like, a whore? You're trying to be sexy, you're 13, you're a horrible role model. What are you showing people? You got so fat on TV, now you look so fat.'

Going through puberty is already tough for most teenagers, but having to experience adolescence in the spotlight is a whole other thing. Unfortunately, this is something that many child stars are forced to go through. Later in the interview, the actress mentioned other issues she was experiencing in conjunction with cyberbullying. Winter also discussed how social media comments led her to constantly shift her appearance:

Having my body change so much, it also changed when I was in high school because I got on antidepressants. I gained 30 pounds. It was rough going to school, it was rough online, on my Instagram it was flooding comments, flooding comments. And so then I was like, 'They hate this about me, I need to work on it.'

Ariel Winter has been incredibly candid about her experiences with body image over the years. It’s very disheartening to hear her recall the dark times she experienced while being on one of television’s top sitcoms. She's previously spoken out about the public's fascination with her weight. In one case, Winter explained that she got numerous questions from commentators regarding a possible correlation between her weight loss and her use of antidepressants.

Despite years of cyberbullying, the actress seems to have pushed that aside and is continuing with her work and even embracing the world of TikTok. She appears to be enjoying a new era of her life, and one can only wish her the best as she continues to move forward.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).