Mackenzie Phillips: My family has abandoned me
February 22nd, 2011
10:29 AM ET

Mackenzie Phillips: My family has abandoned me

After detailing her 10-year sexual relationship with her father in the 2009 tell-all "High on Arrival," Mackenzie Phillips says she has been abandoned by her famous family.

Mackenzie, whose dad was rock legend John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, told the "Today" show's Meredith Vieira that she has encountered a dramatic backlash since telling her story, including being cut off by her former step-mom Michelle Phillips and her step-sisters, singer Chynna and actress Bijou.

"They've all known about it for years, so the family members that come forward and say this isn't true and she's crazy are a textbook case of the way a family reacts to incest within the family," Mackenzie said on "Today" Tuesday morning. "It's been really hard. It's been really hard to not have my sisters and my brothers and my 'wicked ex-stepmother,' with whom I've been really close over the years. But to have them basically just say, 'That's it! We're done with you…'"

Michelle, who was a member of the Mamas and the Papas and was married to John from 1962-1970, has denied Mackenzie's claims, chalking them up to her many years of drug abuse.

"After 35 years with a needle up her arm (including several months while she was pregnant) it's difficult to believe much of her story," Michelle said in a statement. "She has hurt everyone in her family tremendously and apparently feels no guilt or shame in doing it or even how she decided to deal with her… um … memories."

Mackenzie's response?

"Aww Mich. Again, maybe I'm naïve, but I'm an eternal optimist and I certainly didn't expect such vitriol from someone who's expected and thought of as such a classy woman," she told Vieira.

Despite being kept at a distance from her family, the former "One Day at a Time" star has no regrets about sharing her story of survival.

"If I had written it while he was alive, people would have said why didn't you wait until he was dead," she says of the book, which is now out in paperback. "It is my story. I went out of my way not to tell Michelle's story. Or Chynna's. Or Bijou's. Or anybody else's but my own. And now they're still trying to tell stories about me… I love my family. I sit here with open arms, hoping they'll come back into my life."

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Filed under: Celebrities • Music • television

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Katie

    My family abandoned me completely when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

    February 22, 2013 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Queeny Syreetao

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    July 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dualmoda

    you must read chanel 2011 , for special offer

    February 7, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. buytolet mortgages

    Hi I am fairly new to blogging as I am getting a little older and not so up to date with pc's but am finding it superb and I wish we had it 40 years ago

    March 30, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. BeenThere

    You go girl, tell it! Family almost always wants to deny incest, and that is why it is passed down through generations. Victims even lie about it. Too bad her Mom didn't stand by her. Peace Mack. They may never come around but you are free now.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. froggyalley

    ...and God loves Mackenzie too. How painful. Sometimes "family" isn't what we think it is.... make your own family, hon.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lynn

    If this is true, I am sorry for her. But REALLY, isn't it about time to move on. GET A LIFE! When it ended, she was a grown up. It didn't have to go on for so long. It is really difficult to swallow. Again, GET A LIFE!

    March 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mick

    Ok, it seems that the incest would explain the drug abuse. So blaming the drug abuse seems shallow. However, it is strange that she has no real solid EVIDENCE of this supposed 10 year relationship. Weren't there any suggestive notes from John, hotel registers, whatever? Just that a few people allegedly "knew" of the relationship – that's not much for such a long and significant story.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Step or Half?

    Wouldn't Chyna and Bijou be her half-sisters?

    March 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. girlym

    So sad. I support you Mack. Hopefully your family will come around.

    March 8, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. jenni

    I'm glad she spoke out. I'm glad she told her story. Her little sister Bijou comes off as a spolied jerk. She issued a statement saying she "knows" her sister is lying - when she was not even there to know or not know. Thee fact of the matter is John Phillips (who was a textbook horrible dad even if he didn't do it) is dead. Mackenzie is alive. So her family should be embracing the family member who is still here, as their time with John has been had and done. Don't shoot the messenger just because you don't like the message.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. GoodieTwoShoes

    You go, Mackenzie. You are in a good place and speaking the truth. Stick to your truth. Stay clean, and live a good life. You inspire me.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LF

    She has all the symptoms of bipolar illness. I wonder if she has ever been diagnosed?
    There are medications that will work to stabilize mood.

    March 3, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      And you have the symptoms of a wannabee psychologist who got his degree from imaginary university and who spent ZERO hours diagnosing the subject to whom your diagnosis is directed to.

      March 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mema

      I agree Rich!!

      March 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mandi

    she is like a hero to me to have went through everything she has been through and not care what anyone thinks and she tell the whole world which is like so brave and i will always be a fan if hers bc she can overcome all of that and be proud of telling the truth bc there are more people out there like that and they are 2 afraid of telling the truth and what might happen if they do and if anyone will believe them

    March 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Danny

    I'm surprised at how many trailer parks have internet. Sickos have another beer.

    March 3, 2011 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
  16. Carebear22

    Wow. How could people be so pathetic. Someone going through what she's been through deserves nothing but support from her family. No matter what. I feel so sorry for her. Yes she was a drug addict but she didn't deserve what has happened to her. Half of these posts are probably from her pathetic family. Much love!!!

    February 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  17. pink

    Seriously, what did you think would happen when you aired your family's dirty laundry in front of the whole world. Apparently the public airing of it caused your sister a nervous breakdown. Do you really think she feels that your need to PUBLICIZE this was more important than her mental health. You really worked yourself into a Catch 22 on this one. This is a serious and devastating problem that should be openly discussed, but only with your therapist and amongst your close friends and family members. Then you could have kept your close family ties because they would be supportive of you. I DID NOT WANT to know about your personal family problems/secrets the same way that you probably DON"T WANT to hear about mythe secrets in my family's closet.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carrie

      People who condemn Mack for telling her truth are full of shame themselves.

      August 5, 2013 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  18. N Jean

    Please, please, if you have not experienced this do not judge her. It is hard, it is humiliating and it takes years to understand how to forgive those that perpetrated the abuse and yourself. Judging someone else's for things you know nothing about is wrong, wrong...whether you believe her or not is not the issue. The girl needs hope on her side and I for one hope her life keeps going forward.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  19. JVM

    It is sadly true that families often turn their backs on heart goes out to Mackenzie, who has done a good thing by airing a long taboo subject. Wish her the best, same for anyone else so victimized. It's gonna get better.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  20. tracy

    First of all, none of us has the right to condemn or judge anyone. Only God has that power. Addicts become addicted to substances because they are trying to numb something painful in their past. Who are we to say who is telling the truth? Although, I do tend to believe MacKenzie's story. She came out of a very long period of numbing her feelings for some reason. She even said when she was on Celebrity Rehab how much she had wished that her father would have said something to her about it when she was at his deathbed. He didn't and it could be that they just had him too doped up to say anything being that he was in end stage liver failure. One thing I will pray for is her continuing sobriety and that her family will forgive and come back to her no matter what the situation. But, something happened for her to self medicate for so long.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  21. Ms Liz, GA

    I have to just tell y'all the truth; I don't believe PHILLIPS one bit! I never believed her and never will! She waited all these years to come up with that lie; of course it was after her father was dead and gone and couldn't defend his honor! She was in need of money and jumped on the bandwagon of incest abuse/molestation, because these days that kind of stuff draws gossipy attention from the greedy, nosey masses; thereby, pulls in big bucks for some people! She's an addict! They play on sympathy and lie!

    February 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  22. JD

    Just sad for everyone concerned.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  23. cindy

    Honestly, while I do feel bad for her, do we all really need to know what went on in the family? Why do famous people feel like they need to air their dirty laundry with the whole world? Maybe privacy means nothing to the rich and famous.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Someone With a Brain Cell

      Durrrr. They understand the power of media and push aside embarrassment to use their celebrity in a positive way. They also understand that being victimized while vulnerable could happen to us all and it's usually by someone we trust or know. If they can prevent one kid from this horrible experience then they'll do it. Why is it these people think that a recovered drug addict isn't capable of telling the truth. They might as well stay junkies if they're going to continue to be stigmatized!

      March 5, 2011 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
  24. fatgirl

    \She was 19 years old when this allegedly began. So it isn't like she was some little girl being forced by her father. If this happened, she is as sick as him.

    February 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  25. jillmarie

    They shouldn't disown her! I'm disapointed in Chynna- what happenned to "Holding on For One More Day"? lol
    I hope Mak stays sober.

    February 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  26. *--*


    February 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Bostonian

    I could have sworn that Cynna did stand by her, and said she knew about it, but wished Mackenzie had told her about the book ahead of time. Did something else happen since then? I really commended her for standing by Mackenzie. I just thought that she said it was painful that it was made public, but that it did indeed happen. I hope Mackenzie finds sobriety and happiness for herself. Sadly, when you're thrust in an adult world, surrounded by adults and drugs during your childhood and encouraged to join in, it seems that nothing but hardships can follow. I wish her all the luck in the world in her ongoing recovery. It can't be easy.

    February 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  28. c

    Little House on the Prairie, baby you are fighting your own demons, I'll pray for you too

    February 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  29. c

    So hard to know who to believe. I have heard that drug addicts have a very hard time with the truth and sometimes will convince themselves of a lie that to them becomes a reality. However, on the other hand, what a hard thing to open up about. She had everything to lose by telling this story. It make me lean toward MacKenzie. The rest of the family is just reacting to something that must be very painful. I pray for healing for all of them.

    February 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  30. kizmiaz

    I am not sure how you are supposed to believe someone like this. Probably in her mind ( or what is left of it) she has convinced herself this is what happened. but with her history of drug abuse and addiction, I don't see how any one can believe her. For most of her life, she has cared about nothing but drugs. She should be in prison for consuming drugs while she was pregnant.

    February 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  31. major

    she's hurting for money, thats why she is still pushing the lies,

    February 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      I was wondering about that, too. When was the last time she got work as an actress? Does she have any other employable skills? After so many years of drug abuse, perhaps she is unable to hold down a real job, and this book is her only way of supporting herself. Why else would she be willing to go on a national television broadcast and air the "dirty laundry"? Always follow the money . . .

      February 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Denizen Kate,
      Last I heard she had a job. Don't know if the show is still on, but she was acting in a program on Nick.

      March 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  32. old hippy

    Her family was and is ok. She should accept her problems and quit blaming them on everyone else. She is very lucky to be a part of that time and part of her incredible family. She was probably on acid and is now having false memories.

    February 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ldean40

      She isn't blaming her family. Her family didn't molest her – her father did. its sad that they are in denial; otherwise, there could be a lot of healing in that family. So why did the mother divorce the father? Cuz he was sleeping with his daughter maybe, and now mama can't face the ugliness of being married to such a sicko. probably . . . and the girls are probably skerd of mama.

      March 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • glindy

      Old Hippy-

      You are ignorant of the facts of how this type of abuse traumatizes and deeply affects the victim's ability to cope. There is no amount of fame, experience or whatever that can take the place of losing one's innocence at the hands of a family member whose responsibility it is and was to protect you....shame on are indeed a part of the problem and why this scourge is continually perpetrated. Shame on you!

      April 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Cee

    So sad. Michelle has no right to deny Mackenzie's story–she has NO way of knowing if it's true or not. And when the book first came out Chynna confirmed it, saying Mackenzie had told her years before. Sounds like her mother's been leaning on her. Sad sad sad. Stay sober, Mackenzie. You did the right thing. God bless you and I hope your family comes to their senses.

    February 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • angel6smg

      You said it all. Great comment and I totally agree with you.

      March 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • deb

      I agree with you too. Why would she make up something so awful??? The reason she was a druggie all of those years is BECAUSE of the incest with her father! Anyone would be messed up from that! Michelle is just embarrassed that she was married to a child molester! She should be supporting MacKenzie! I admire MacKenzie for finally being able to face her demons and move on.

      March 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  34. MadCityBabe sick can you be

    February 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  35. MadCityBabe're very disturbed! Even in jest

    February 22, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  36. laurab68

    Ok most of you with your comments are sick. This is not a joke and should not be treated like one. Incest or molestation is wrong on so many levels that anyone who commit it should be castrated.

    February 22, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  37. dwhat

    I wonder what doctor she wnet to that convinced her that her family was the problem and not her, and also when is that book coming out so that you can pay me!

    February 22, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  38. Jason

    I just have to say to the first three responses on this page that you are all sick, there is something very wrong with you.

    February 22, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  39. Marie

    If this is true then John is in hell. It's so sad that the family won't help her. If it isn't true than get her therapy and if it is true than get the family therapy. I'm beginning to think the family just doesn't like its dirty laundry aired in public.

    February 22, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  40. Pee

    God stil loves him.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris (Little Monster)

      Mackenzie Phillips is like my crazy Aunt Kathleen. She turns into a total drug addict in her younger years, turns her back on her family several times, then returns only to bad-mouth all of them. Then she wonders why they don't want anything to do with her? Look, I'm sorry if your Father forced you into that kind of relationship. But you can't speak out against what he did and still expect your estranged family members to support you. You can't heal those kinds of relationships by opening old wounds. That just makes everything worse. It's sad that some people can't reconcile. But at this point it looks like you'll have to accept it.

      February 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |

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