Ariel Winter's mom is suing an associate of her adult daughter for defamation after he claimed she was an "abusive monster" toward the Modern Family star.
Chrisoula Workman filed the defamation and false light lawsuit against Matthew Borlenghi, claiming his comment attached to a November 9 L.A. Times story.
Borlenghi is an actor who teaches at a studio operated by Shanelle Workman-Gray, Winter’s adult sister who currently has custody of the 14-year-old.
A judge temporarily stripped Winter's mother of custody amid allegations she had been physically and emotionally abusive to the Sofia the First actress.
A trial on whether Workman will be completely lose custody begins Wednesday.
Borlenghi said he had not yet seen the lawsuit, which stems from an online comment he allegedly posted on the Times website that quoted Chrisoula Workman.
The story centered on Chrisoula (who also goes by Chrystal Workman) alleging that Winter was having an improper relationship with an 18-year-old actor.
The comment attributed to Borlenghi re: that story states:
“This is a total falsehood. The mother is grasping and clawing to find a way not to lose her money-maker, and hide the fact that she is an abusive monster.”
Borlenghi later said when contacted about the case:
“All I can say is that David (Gray) and Shanelle Gray are very close friends of mine and comments that Chris has made are absolutely fabricated.”
“The negative comments she’s made about her own daughter in order to try to get custody back of Ariel Winter are truly disgusting.”
Workman’s lawsuit includes several pages of sworn declarations from tutors and other friends and associates denying she has been abusive to her daughter.
The declarations have been filed in the case and may be considered by a judge who has to determine whether to allow Gray to continue caring for her sister.
A judge said last month that investigators had evidence of emotional abuse toward Winter. Workman has denied she has been abusive toward her daughter.