Soap Opera Stars Snarled in Real-Life Drama

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – “Modern Family” actress Ariel Winter’s mother claims in court that actor Matthew Borlenghi defamed her as an “abusive monster” on an L.A. Times blog posting.
     Winter’s mother, Chrisoula Workman aka Chrystal Workman, sued Borlenghi, 45, in Superior Court, alleging defamation and false light.
     She claims Borlenghi defamed her after she reported an 18-year old boy for allegedly having sex with her 14-year-old actress-daughter.
     Workman claims that Borlenghi works for her other actress-daughter, Shanelle Workman-Gray, 34, who has petitioned to become the legal guardian of Ariel Winter, her 14-year old sister.
     Neither Winter nor Workman-Gray are parties to Workman’s complaint against Borlenghi.
     Workman claims that on Nov. 6, “the Los Angeles Times Internet blog section entitled ‘L.A. NOW Southern California – This Just In’ posted the blog entry ‘Modern Family actress and boyfriend had unlawful sex, mom charges.'”
     The Times is not a party to the complaint.
     Workman says the blog stated: “Authorities are investigating an allegation by the mother of ‘Modern Family’ star Ariel Winter that her daughter’s 18-year-old boyfriend had unlawful sex with the 14-year-old actress, according to sources familiar with the investigation.”
     Workman claims that in response to the story, Borlenghi posted this comment: “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. Having spent time with her, and seeing the way she acted adoringly towards the boy, these accusations are disgusting, just as she is.”
     Borlenghi identified himself as a principal of his own firm, but still works for Shanelle Workman-Gray’s actors studio, Gray Studios L.A., Workman says in the complaint.
     Workman temporarily lost custody of her 14-year-old daughter in November, after Workman-Gray filed the petition accusing her of verbal and physical abuse, according to press reports, including USA Today.
     But in her new complaint, Workman cites statements from several friends who say they have never witnessed her verbally or physically abusing her daughter.
     Winters plays Alex Dunphy on ABC’s award-winning comedy “Modern Family,” now in its fourth season.
     Borlenghi is a former cast member of soap opera “All My Children.”
     Workman-Gray appeared on the soap “One Life to Live.”
     Workman is represented by Nick Pacheco of Mission Hills. She seeks costs and punitive damages for defamation and false light.
     Borlenghi did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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