A lack of privacy at a young age compelled Ariel Winter to go in search of a more normal life.
That’s the reason she gave for leaving Los Angeles when she recently sat down with on-screen mom Julie Bowen and her Quitters podcast co-host Chad Sanders to talk about it.
“Part of the reason I always hated LA is because I have been followed by paparazzi for a very long portion of my life,” the 24-year-old Modern Family actress said. “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. Fame and all that is not something I’m interested in. I just want to live as normal a life as I can.”
Having a normal life in LA was something she “never really felt like I could do,” she said. “Everywhere I went, someone’s taking my picture.”
Winter traced the start of the negative paparazzi and tabloid attention to 2012, when her mother and then-manager, Chrisoula Workman, initially lost custody of her over allegations she had been abusive. The personal saga played out for years with Winter’s sister, Shanelle Gray, becoming her guardian before she became emancipated.
She called it “really traumatic” that 30 paparazzi followed her on a daily basis starting at age 14, shouting things and hoping to provoke a response for their photos.
She did not reveal where she’s living now.
“People have always been like, ‘You don’t like LA, why don’t you just move’… and then I just randomly looked and decided why not,” she recalled. “We sold our cars, got an Escalade to fit all the dogs for the drive, put my house on the market and sold my house. Everything normal that I would do, it’s not going to stay normal. It’s really just about the feeling of not being comfortable to do normal things.”
As for her new home, Winter says things are working out well.
“It feels like a different thing here,” she said. “I’m going to get to live some of the young adult [life] I haven’t been able to live.