Mackenzie Phillips: After the Bombshell
Since Mackenzie Phillips came out with her tell-all book and appeared on Oprah to reveal that she had a sexual relationship with her father, High on Arrival has become a national bestseller placing her famous family in the center of a media firestorm. But for Mackenzie, revealing the darkness that began more than 35 years ago was a necessary personal step and one that she hopes will help others.
"I don't have regrets," Mackenzie tells Rachael, "because this has opened the door for a national dialogue about incest and sexual abuse. It's like the last taboo subject."
As other women reach out to Mackenzie with stories of incest and abuse, she is struck by their similarities. "The incidence of addiction - food addiction, sex addiction, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, cutting - is so prevalent in the survivor community. I would say 98 percent of women that I've heard from, now we're talking thousands of women that have contacted me, have histories of all the drugs, alcohol ... living in silence," says Mackenzie. She is now clean, but first tried drugs at age 10, before she became a star on the hit '70s sitcom One Day at a Time. It's taken decades for Mackenzie to reveal her past and she hopes her honesty will comfort others who are scared about how their families will react to such an admission. "The fear of coming out and talking about it! Because people say, 'She's lying. She's crazy.'"
Mackenzie tried to broach the subject about her father's treatment eight years ago with her father, John Phillips of the 60's pop group The Mamas and the Papas, but was unsuccessful before he died that year. "He couldn't talk about it. He leaned his head and he looked up at me, and he sighed, and then I held his hand as he left his body," she recalls. "Then after, I went back up to sit with his body and then I was able to talk to him about it." Even though he was unable to speak, it was a turning point for Mackenzie. "I needed that moment, and I said to him, 'I wouldn't be the woman that I am had I not been your daughter - good, bad, indifferent - I love who I am,'" she recounts. "Although I had a relapse, I think that if I hadn't had that moment with him in intensive care that I may not have made it to this moment."
As she approaches her 50th birthday next month, Mackenzie is committed to helping other survivors, even in the face of backlash from those who question her revelations. "I am stronger than the accusations that are coming out against me; I'm not backing down," she says. And she is confident she will remain on the right path in her recovery from drug addiction. "There's always more ... as long as there's a spark of life there's hope!"
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- Inside Rachael's Prep Kitchen with Amy Roloff
- Matt & Amy Roloff: 3 Things You Don't Know About Us
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