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Mother: 'Modern Family' star abuse claims stem from desire to see boyfriend

By the CNN Wire Staff
November 13, 2012 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
  • Young actress on "Modern Family" is under temporary guardianship
  • Ariel Winter, 14, is in the care of her older sister
  • Petition alleges she was the victim of physical abuse, insults and deprivation of food
  • Mother denies claims of abuse, says teen wants to continue to see her 18-year-old boyfriend

(CNN) -- The mother of "Modern Family" star Ariel Winter denied allegations that she abused the 14-year-old actress and said the allegations stem from the young actress wanting to continue to date an 18-year-old man.

"Since I have asked Ariel to end her relationship ... she has been bad-mouthing me and spreading rumors and lies about me to substantiate this Guardianship proceeding," the mother said in documents filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court. "Ariel is young and does not understand the severity of the consequences of her actions."

Winter, whose real name is Ariel W. Workman, stars as Alex Dunphy in the ABC comedy series.

Last month, a Los Angeles judge ordered the young actress to be placed in temporary guardianship of her older sister, Shanelle Gray.

'Modern Family' child star abused?

A lawyer filed a petition on behalf of Gray on October 3, alleging Winter was the victim of ongoing physical abuse, insults about her weight, deprivation of food and attempts to "sexualize" the minor. Guardianship with Gray was necessary to protect Winter from further abuse, lawyer Michael Kretzmer said in the document.

The mother, Chris Workman, vehemently denied those allegations. She said she never hit her daughter or put her down for her weight.

The dispute stems from a relationship with an older teen, the mother alleged.

"Ariel is upset and is using her sister's vulnerabilities to her advantage so she can see her boyfriend," Workman said in the court documents. "I caught Ariel and (the teen) engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior, which is when I became adamant that she end her relationship with him. Out of concern for Ariel, I notified the police since Ariel is a minor."

A judge has previously ruled that Workman have no contact with Winter until a November 20 hearing on the matter.

CNN's Jane Caffrey and Selin Darkalstanian contributed to this report.