Ariel Winter Says She Hasn't Spoken to Her Estranged Mother in Over 3 Years: 'She Most Definitely Was' a Stage Mom

03/01/2016 AT 09:55 AM EST

Ariel Winter gained fame as a kid on one of TV's most popular comedies. But the Modern Family's real home life was anything but a Hollywood fairytale.

Winter, 18, became an emancipated minor last year after a long court battle during which the Department of Children and Family Services found evidence of her mom Chrisoula Workman emotionally abusing her.

"I think that when I was born, it was kind of already decided what I was expected to be, and so I was kind of pushed into the industry," she said Monday on Good Morning America. "That's not to say I don't love it and it's not my passion now, I do love it. I don't know if I'd had my own run to be able to decide what i wanted to do, If i would have [chosen acting]."



As Winter told PEOPLE in January, she's applied to over a dozen colleges and hopes to become a social justice lawyer.

Asked by Amy Robach on Tuesday if Workman was a "stage mom," Winter responded, "She most definitely was."

"This is what she wanted me to do, and she pushed very hard for that and kind of put that in the forefront of her mind instead of what I wanted and what I needed," she said. "And that was definitely hard, but I don't think that was the only issue."

Winter, whose older sister Shanelle Gray became her guardian during the custody fight, said she hasn't spoken to her mother in three and a half years.

"It's really hard to have that kind of drama in your life and to be going through that tough situation and have an open court case and have everyone look at it, because it's already hard enough for abuse victims, but it's harder in the public eye when everybody has an opinion," she explained.

The child star also faced scrutiny after undergoing a breast reduction last summer – and again at this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards for wearing a dress that exposed the surgery's scars.

"It really astounded me," she said of the criticism. " I just think that's so ridiculous considering they're a part of me. ... Scars are cool! We have stories from them."

Modern Family airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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