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Ariel Winter and Sarah Hyland on growing up on ‘Modern Family’: People love to attack women

"Modern Family" stars Nolan Gould, left, Ariel Winter, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen and Sarah Hyland, seen here in 2018, discussed the hit sitcom's 11th and final season Wednesday at the Television Critics Association. (Photo: Robert Ashcroft, ABC)

PASADENA, Calif. – There are so many great things about being on ABC’s “Modern Family,” wrapping up April 8, but growing up on camera isn’t one of them.

The four actors who have represented the show’ younger generation over 11 seasons – Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland, Rico Rodriguez and Ariel Winter – expressed appreciation for being part of the Emmy-winning sitcom with fellow cast members Wednesday to reporters at a farewell Television Critics Association panel, but said there have been awkward moments.

“There’s definitely one season for me when I hit puberty right when we went on break, and then we came back and I had changed but not quite enough,” said Gould, who plays Luke Dunphy, imitating a boy’s erratic maturing voice. “It’s strange having those years broadcast to millions of people. It’s like your home movies, but for everyone to see. I think we were pretty lucky we had such a great fan base that was very supportive of us.”

Not everyone has been supportive, unfortunately, said Winter, who plays Luke’s sister, Alex. Winter, Gould and Rico Rodriguez, who plays their “uncle,” Manny Delgado, are 21, and Sarah Hyland, who plays the eldest Dunphy child, Haley, is 29.

"Modern Family" stars Rico Rodriguez, left, Ariel Winter, Sarah Hyland and Nolan Gould, seen here during Season 3 in 2011, have spent much of their lives on camera. (Photo: Peter "Hopper" Stone, ABC)

Winter remembered some harsh responses during a year when she got braces and matured physically, and said the transition and public commentary tends to be rougher for young women than young men.

“Rico, Nolan and I changed a lot over 11 years. … The year I had braces was an awful year for me. I went through puberty over the summer. I had other things,” she said. “It was an awful year for me.”

Growing up on TV: Ariel Winter talks spending half her life working on ‘Modern Family,’ growing up on set

Both Winter and Hyland have endured substantial online judgment and even abuse from internet trolls. 

Winter explained: “It’s really difficult to grow up in front of millions of people how have an opinion (and) say whatever they want. … Yeah, people love the internet.” 

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