Ariel Winter is opening up about how the Pritchett-Dunphy family will deal with a major tragedy on a highly anticipated episode of Modern Family.
Last month, co-creator Christopher Lloyd told Entertainment Weekly that a “significant character in the series” will die in season 10, affecting the characters across multiple episodes. ET spoke with the 20-year-old actress at the Girl Hero Awards luncheon on Sunday, where she talked about how the beloved comedy will handle such a serious topic.
"It's a character that we'll all be sad to see go, but it's probably not an older character that you think is going to go," Winter teased to ET. "We haven't ever really had a death on the show. It definitely impacts the family, as I think it impacts any family. You know, some people have never dealt with death or if it's a person close to them, they're having to deal with them because it's a tragedy, and you follow people's stories on how they do that and I think some people obviously take it better than others."
"It doesn't hit people right away and it's gonna be an episode that's pretty relevant to how people deal with it, and some people's struggles with the person that passed, and I think it's a pretty real episode," she continues. "And we try to do everything lightheartedly and it's a show that people can enjoy, but also incorporate some real-life occurrences."
Sunday's awards luncheon was hosted by the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up initiative, which supports UN programs promoting the health, safety, education and leadership of girls in developing countries. Winter talked to ET about still learning how to deal with social media trolls in today's world, and she offered up a few wise words.
"You know what, it's a hard journey to move forward and not say anything and take the high road and knowing that regardless of everything they say, it's untrue," she says. "People don't know you, and they only know what they see on the internet -- which is a very small version of everybody -- and they think it's the whole picture. I, for a while, was doing fantastic and I wouldn't respond to negative comments, but then, of course, you fall off the wagon. And because you get upset and, of course, in the current climate ... you share your opinion and everybody takes it in a certain way, and then they bash you for it and you feel like crap and then you're, like, well, don't do that and why am I responding to this?"
"Hate responds to hate responds to hate responds to hate," she continues. "If someone says something hateful and you respond back to hate, you're just gonna get more hate because it fuels them because that's the answer that they're getting. So, it's a hard thing to learn that it doesn't matter what other people say who are not in front of you. The people that support you and they love you and they love your work, the things you stand up for, those are the people that you really need to focus on, and the other people, they have no idea. They must be going through something else in their lives that's making them say these terrible comments to people, and then it doesn't matter, you know? It's hard -- you gotta learn to not do anything about that, and it's difficult, but I'm working on it."
These days, she says confidence is key.
"Don't be afraid to be yourself," she says when asked about what the most important lesson she would teach her younger self. "Don't be afraid to say what you believe in, and don't listen to people who want to bring you down. It's hard because when you hear people say things about you sometimes, if they say it repeatedly, it sinks in and you're like, 'Wait, is that true? Am I this terrible person? Am I ugly? Am I stupid?' And you think all of these things and it sinks in, but I think these days, we just have to teach our daughters and our sons and everybody to be able to have their own voice, be secure in themselves, and it's hard, but to know that other people's opinions are so unimportant in who you are."
Last month, ET spoke to Winter's Modern Family co-star, Ty Burrell, who said that the show's team is starting to talk about the final season.