Attending the 2017 Emmy Awards meant more to Sarah Hyland than anyone could imagine.
The Modern Family star arrived at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday evening with something to prove. Not only to herself, but to the many fans that have watched the now 26-year-old actress grow up right before their eyes on the beloved ABC sitcom.
She's endured a particularly tough year, first pulling out of the 2017 SAG Awards for undisclosed "health reasons." It marked the first SAG ceremony in seven years Hyland skipped, her absence assumedly linked to a long battle with kidney dysplasia. (In 2012, Sarah received a kidney transplant from her father.)
But then four months later, Hyland addressed the ongoing speculation that she suffers from an eating disorder with a powerfully candid message about her private health struggles.
"I haven't had the greatest year," Sarah penned to social media. "Maybe one day I'll talk about it but for now, I'd like my privacy. I will say this year has brought a lot of changes and with that, physical changes."
Hyland went on to reveal that under doctor's orders, the celebrity was put on bed rest and prohibited from working out. As a result, Sarah said she lost muscle mass and was no longer in a position to control her physical appearance.
"Strength is everything," she added. "Being strong has gotten me where I am. Both mentally and physically. I am not a fan of 'being skinny' which many of you have told me that I am too much of... I write this because I've been accused of promoting anorexia in, ironically enough, an anti-bullying post. And I want young girls to know that's not my intention."
At least publicly, everything went back to normal for Hyland, who continued making public appearances and connecting with her followers on social media.
That is until mid-August, when it was revealed that Sarah and Dominic Sherwood had called it quits after more than two years of dating. "It's genuinely mutual and amicable and they truly remain friends," a source told E! News at the time.
She's yet to comment publicly on the split, but Sherwood took to Instagram in defense of his former girlfriend when some accused Hyland of taking a dig at his female Shadowhunter's co-star Alisha Wainwright. He wrote in part, "Any cruel or mean comments in relation to her or any of my cast mates are unwelcome and have no place in a world that needs but love and support..."
As for Hyland, she's appeared to get her groove back thanks to quality time with gal pals, a hair makeover from blond to brunette and most recently, some meaningful ink. She revealed the minimalist, geographic design on Instagram, which she explained was inspired by her favorite Robert Frost quote.
"The best way out is always through," the actress wrote.
Perhaps the best way for Sarah to overcome those hardships was to dive headfirst into what she loves most. And last night that meant slipping into a gorgeous Zac Posen number, stepping out support her onscreen family and having an incredible time.
In Sarah's words (which we could all learn a thing or two from), "There's no need to worry. I've been down before and I'll probably be down again in my lifetime but I'm steadfast and solid and will conquer my obstacles."