'Modern Family' Star's Family Drama Now Includes a Rape Charge -- Yikes!

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Ariel WinterAs if the whole Elmo story isn't upsetting enough, here comes more news about poor Ariel Winter's mama drama. You may have heard that the 14-year-old Modern Family star has been embroiled in a nasty dispute with her mother recently; her mom lost custody rights when Ariel asked to be put under the care of her older sister. Ariel has accused her mother of abuse, saying she was subjected to “slapping, hitting, pushing” and “vile name-calling and personal insults” for an extended period of time.

Well, the story has taken a sordid and unhappy twist in recent days, since Ariel's mom Chrisoula Workman has now accused Ariel's ex-boyfriend, 18-year-old actor Cameron Palatas, of statutory rape. Not only is Workman saying that Ariel's charges of abuse are revengeful fiction in response to her mother's attempts to end the love affair with Palatas, she's saying she caught the teens in bed together.

And apparently she wants him to go to jail for it.

Workman’s oldest daughter, 34-year-old ex-soap actress Shanelle Gray, won temporary custody of Ariel last month when this whole thing started to blow up. Ariel's mom has since accused Gray of “coming out of the woodwork” thanks to Ariel's recent Modern Family pay raise -- but there's some ugly background between that mother-daughter duo as well. Gray has been reportedly been estranged from Workman for around 20 years after LA officials removed her from Workman’s custody. She was placed in foster care (some are reporting it was actually her grandmother) amidst abuse allegations, and never returned home.

So ... yeah, it's hard to know what the real story is here, but it's obvious this family has had dysfunctional issues for many years. And it's all made even murkier by Ariel's money: Gray is currently asking that Ariel's paychecks be deposited into a new bank account that their mother won't have access to.

There's also a brother involved in this with his own story to tell. Jimmy Workman, who starred as Puggsley Adams in the movie remake of The Addams Family, denies all accusations of abuse, past and present, against their mom.

Their allegations are not true. This is stemming over a boy that is overage, dating my little sister, and my family had no idea about until the end part of it. (...) I was there 20 years ago. I'm almost 32. That stuff didn't happen.

Ariel's boyfriend -- or ex-boyfriend, as multiple reports are saying they are no longer together -- is also an actor, having starred in the Disney series A.N.T. Farm and appeared in cameos in TV series like iCarly. He's now facing charges of statutory rape, thanks to the legal action taken against him by Ariel's mother. According to Workman, this is why Ariel reacted with the abuse allegations:

My 14-year-old daughter has been dating an 18-and-a-half-year-old man, and when I caught them engaging in behavior that I feel my daughter is too young mentally and physically to understand and fully grasp I put a stop to it immediately. Being a teenager ‘in love’ I thought (Ariel) would cry and sulk and eventually her broken heart would heal. I would have never of dreamed, that she would take it to this level.

What. A. Disaster. I have no idea who to believe, but it's unbelievably tragic for Ariel Winter that this is all playing out in the tabloids. I feel like it's particularly awful that her mom is publicly accusing her of having sex, because even if it's true, for god's sake, she's only 14. Maybe her mom truly feels like this is the only course of action that she could take ... but isn't there a privacy law that should be protecting Ariel from having these details end up in the news?

At any rate, it certainly goes to show that being famous at a young age is no guarantee that life will be a cakewalk. I hope for Ariel's sake this all gets resolved quickly.

What's your take on this whole mess with Ariel Winter and her family? Who do you believe?


Image via MingleMediaTVNetwork/Flickr

celebrity, television