Ariel Winter Recalls Being Fat Shamed by Fans While on 'Modern Family' (Exclusive)

In ET's exclusive 'Red Table Talk: The Estefans' clip, the actress recalls being bullied for her appearance when she was 13 years old.

Growing up in the spotlight was tough for Ariel Winter.

The 23-year-old actress is best known for her role as the smart and mature Alex Dunphy on Modern Family. While the show was praised by many, the comments toward her as she began to grow up weren't as positive. In ET's exclusive clip of the upcoming Red Table Talk: The Estefans episode, Winter recalls being fat shamed by fans while on the hit ABC sitcom.

"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," she shared with Lauren Jauregui and hosts Gloria, Emily and Lili Estefan. "And 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 of them 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,'" she recalled.

Winter added that her body also changed so much in high school because she was 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," she said. "And so then I was like, 'They hate this about me, I need to work on it.'"

The episode, titled "Shamed and Bullied Online," also features the former Fifth Harmony singer sharing how being publicly outed online robbed her of the chance to come out on her own terms. Additionally, a mother shares a warning after the tragic bullycide of her teen daughter.

ET spoke with Winter earlier this year, where she shared that she was "doing quite well" amid the pandemic. Winter started trauma therapy within the past year, something she said had "been really difficult" but would have a "positive" impact in time.

"The pandemic was hard. For some, harder than others," she said. "It's devastating to see the effect it's had on a lot of people, especially mental healthwise. For me, I'm very fortunate. I've been in therapy twice a week for eight years. It's the best part of my week."

"I'm on medication. I think it's important to fully normalize mental health and the use of mental health medications," she added. "So, I've tried to share that with my followers. I don't particularly like the fame aspect of the industry. I don't like getting my picture taken when I didn't consent to get my picture taken. I like to have a bit of a private life, so I try to keep that, as well. But, I do want people to know that life is difficult for everyone in general."

See more in the video below. The new Red Table Talk: The Estefans episode drops Thursday.