Ariel Winter Opens Up About Body-Shaming as a Teen


| LAST UPDATE 12/12/2021

By Georgina White
ariel winter puberty bullying
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Alex and the rest of the Dunphy gang may have been a comedic staple throughout Modern Family's 11 seasons, but it wasn't all smiles and laughs for the young star, Ariel Winter.

ariel winter red table talk
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Ariel joined the cast at the age of 11, played the family's studious and sarcastic bookworm, and was an immediate hit with audiences. But all that changed as the young actress entered puberty, and suddenly she found herself the target of vicious hate and trolling. "My body fully changed. I was curvy; I had boobs," Winter explained on her recent appearance on Red Table Talk: The Estefans. "I got called a 'fat slut' when I was 13. That was rough." Still a young child, Ariel had no idea what to do as the bullying continued to dominate the headlines.

"Because I gained weight and my body changed, I had to wear different outfits, and I wore a dress that had a cutout here [points to chest] - and the headlines were dark. 'Fat slut' was rough for me, and it continued," the 23-year-old actress confessed. And to her surprise, a fair share of the hate came from supporters of Modern Family. "It was the fans, some of them - we have lovely, lovely fans, but some of them were also hard on me in the way that they loved Alex Dunphy," Ariel confessed. "And because I wasn't Alex Dunphy and I didn't look like Alex - I was just different. I'm not my character."

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Winter added, "For them, they're like, 'How did you go from Alex Dunphy to being 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." Whether it was commentators from the show or kids at her school, the television icon couldn't escape the bullying she faced for gaining 30 pounds throughout puberty. And while Ariel admitted to spiraling in search of praise and trying numerous diets and wardrobe changes, she eventually understood that she had to live to make herself happy, not the haters.

"I'm definitely still on a journey," the 23-year-old explained about her road to self-love - and we couldn't be more proud of her! Check out the full segment here.