Phillips' new book sheds light on life of fame, incest

By Tracey Amick  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Mackenzie Phillips has played many roles in her life, an actress on "One Day at a Time," the daughter of John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, and now the survivor of incest. She says for the last 30 years she's tried to forget the sexual abuse she endured by her own father.

"I would see it in my mind and I would cringe and put it in the box, disassociate myself," Phillips said.

To help herself heal, she wrote a memoir of her life, called High on Arrival,about her 50 years of experiences from music, and television, to drugs and incest.

"I awakened from a drug-induced stupor to find my father on top of me having sex with me, and one of his closest friends on the other bed watching us," Phillips said.

Phillips says her sister Chynna and her son have stood by her side, but most of her family has attacked her for writing the book. "I think it has to do with protecting the Mamas and the Papas brand and I understand that, but I think people will realize there's a thin line between genius and insanity," Phillips said.

She says they know it's true but don't want to be embarrassed and neither would her father. Phillips says her father would call her out as a liar, even.

But she says this is much more important than the feelings of one family. "Talking about this publicly can save families all over the world," Phillips said.

Since her book was released, she says the response has been overwhelming from thousands all over the world. "It's important because it gives other people the courage to come forward," Phillips said.

Phillips says she tried to talk to her father and confront him as a teenager. "I said, 'Look we have to talk about how you raped me,' and he said, "Raped you? You mean when we made love,'" she said.

She didn't broach the subject with him again until he was on his death bed.

"I said, "We've been through a lot horrifying, fun, exciting, crazy, but through it all I don't think I'd be the woman I am today had I not been your daughter so I forgive you, I forgive you and I love you.' He looked up at me and didn't say anything but it was an unspoken moment where he said, 'Thanks kid,'" Phillips said.

She says the forgiveness wasn't for him. "Forgiveness is not to give the other person peace its for you, take that opportunity," she said.

Phillips is the 2009 Voice of Courage award recipient for Darkness to Light, a group that aims to educate adults to spot the signs of abuse, so they can end sexual abuse.

©2009 WCSC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.