Mackenzie Phillips sent shockwaves through the entertainment world when she released her book, “High On Arrival,” in September 2009, in which she claimed she had carried on a 10-year sexual relationship with father, John Phillips. Now, Mackenzie’s back with a paperback version of her memoir, which includes a new chapter revealing the fallout she’s faced since opening up about the family’s alleged dysfunction.
“I was watching Elizabeth Edwards on TV and she said that so much had changed since the hardcover version of [her book] ‘Resilience’ had come out,” Mackenzie told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover of what inspired her to add an additional chapter, in an interview on Access Hollywood Live on Wednesday. “She had decided to add a new chapter updating people on what had happened since the publication of her book she decided to add a new chapter to the paperback. I thought, ‘High On Arrival’ is a perfect example of when updating is even called for.”
The former “One Day at a Time” star said she faced a stinging backlash from members of her biological family following her book’s release and confessional appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” — including a statement from her ex-stepmother, Michelle Phillips, that denied Mackenzie’s claims and referenced Mackenzie’s past drug use, and a statement from her half-sister, “Big Love” actress Bijou Phillips saying, “I do not believe my sister.”
“Are you OK with the potential of this family, these relationships, never healing?” Billy asked.
“I have to be. I love my family and I’m sorry that they’re so angry at me and I feel terrible about it,” Mackenzie answered. “But I really feel like the ‘angry’ should be laid at the feet of the person in our family who created this dysfunction in the family to begin with and it certainly wasn’t me — that was my father.”
As for her relationship with her famous Whilson Phillips singer half-sister, Chynna Phillips — who told Oprah she was “proud” of her half-sister’s courage in speaking out in a September 2009 visit to “The Oprah Winfrey Show” — Mackenzie said not much has changed with their relationship since she chose to go public with her story.
“Chynna and I weren’t particularly close before she came forward to go on [‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’],” Mackenzie told Billy and Kit. “After she came forward, [our relationship] reverted back to not being close any more. We’ve never been that close.”
While sensitive to Mackenzie’s alleged horrifying ordeal, Billy asked how the 51-year-old actress felt towards people who would say it’s not appropriate to air the family’s dirty laundry in public.
“If you don’t want to see it, turn the TV off,” Mackenzie responded. “It’s the same thing with sex and violence on television… So many people who are survivors of incest feel alone. There’s no one for them to look at and go, ‘Hey, if she can talk about this, I can talk about this.’ I can help affect a change.”