‘Modern Family’ Star Ariel Winter’s Mother Sues Actor for Defamation

"Modern Family" star Ariel Winter's mother, who's currently engaged in a custody battle for her daughter, claims actor defamed her by calling her abusive

The family drama revolving around "Modern Family" actress Ariel Winter and her mother has just taken another twist.

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Winter's mother, Chrisoula "Chrystal" Workman, filed a defamation lawsuit against actor Matthew Borlenghi, claiming that he inaccurately painted her as abusive to her daughter.

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The suit has its root in a comment allegedly posted by Borlenghi — an acting teacher at Gray Studios L.A., run by Winter's sister, Shanelle Workman Gray — in response to an L.A. Times blog story about the upheaval surrounding Winter and her family. The story involved an allegation by Workman that Winter's 18-year-old boyfriend had engaged in unlawful sex with the 14-year-old Winter, who plays Alex Dunphy on the hit ABC comedy.

"This is a total falsehood," Borlenghi posted in response, according to the suit, which was filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. "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. Having spent time with her, and seeing the way she acted adoringly towards the boy, these accusations are disgusting, just as she is."

Borlenghi's credits include the film "Nightmare on Elm Street 5" and TBS's "Police Academy" series.

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Workman contends that the allegation of abuse is false, and includes testimonials from a number of associates to bolster her case.

Winter is currently in the custody of her older sister Gray; a judge temporarily placed Winter in Gray's custody after allegations of abuse emerged.

A trial to determine whether Workman will permanently lose custody of her daughter is scheduled to begin Wednesday, according to USA Today.

Workman is seeking unspecified damages, plus suit costs, in her complaint.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.