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‘American Graffiti’s Mackenzie Phillips Opens Up About Incestuous 10-Year Relationship With Her Dad

‘American Graffiti’s Mackenzie Phillips Opens Up About Incestuous 10-Year Relationship With Her Dad

American Graffiti star Mackenzie Phillips got candid about her decade-long incestuous relationship with her late father, John Phillips.

Phillips first spoke out about the incestuous relationship in her 2009 memoir High on Arrival. The 64-year-old actress then delved into her “dark” past in a recent video on her half-sister Chynna Phillips Baldwin’s YouTube channel. While the sisters agreed that their father, the Mamas & the Papas frontman John Phillips, was a “genius,” he also had a “very, very dark side.”

“Dad was something else,” Mackenzie said. “And I get a lot of criticism and a lot of trolling online for having forgiveness in my heart. Forgiveness because forgiving is for me, not for the other person.”

A lifetime of substance abuse struggles left Mackenzie Phillips “in rehab 10 or 11 times over a 30-year period.” And though she says she now forgives her father, “forgiving doesn’t mean I co-sign or agree with what I’m forgiving you for — or him for.”

“It’s very complicated. It’s very, very complicated,” Phillips added. “And yet, I am at peace.”

The shocking admission initially caused tension between the siblings. In the years since the release of her memoir, however, the siblings have mended fences. “It took a long time, but we came back together as a family,” Mackenzie Phillips recalled, admitting that she always feels “guilty” when discussing “the conditions of [their] childhoods.”

Chynna Phillips Baldwin, a member of iconic pop group Wilson Phillips, reassured her sister, assuaging the guilt felt for their past. “When I stood by you, I meant it with all my heart, you know? I really did,” Chynna said. “And I believed you. And I want you to know that I was proud of you for coming out [with your story] … Even though it was painful for everybody.”

Mackenzie Phillips’ Dark Childhood Came to Light With Bombshell Memoir

Mackenzie Phillips’ 2009 memoir, High on Arrival, provides a candid look into her tumultuous life in the spotlight and her struggles with addiction. Like many celebrity memoirs, Phillips recounts her journey through fame, substance abuse, and the impact of family dysfunction. High on Arrival provides a raw and unflinching look at the challenges she faced, ultimately leading to her path to recovery.

Perhaps the most shocking element of the book, however, is Phillips’ revelations about her incestuous relationship with her famous father, John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas.

In the book, Mackenzie Phillips explains that at the age of 19, the night before her first wedding in 1979, she “woke up that night from a blackout to find myself having sex with my own father.”

Months later, she confronted John Phillips, accusing him of rape. Phillips, Mackenzie claims, replied, “Raped you? Don’t you mean we made love?”

The incident turned into a “consensual” sexual relationship with her father spanning a decade. Mackenzie attributes the relationship to a “sort of Stockholm syndrome, where you begin to love your captor.” She clarified, however, that “no matter what kind of incest, it is an abuse of power … a betrayal of trust.”