Sitcom star reveals incest with rock-star dad

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Well, OK then. Mackenzie Phillips promised a bombshell on today's "Oprah" and ... kaboom!

She had sex with her father. A lot.

6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a591510e970b-250wi.jpgIt's the hot button issue in the "One Day at a Time" star's new memoir, High on Arrival, which hits shelves today.

In the book, Mackenzie details how it began -- on the eve of her first marriage. She's 19 and about to marry Jeff Sessler, son of a member of the Rolling Stones' entourage, and her father, John Phillips (of the Mamas & the Papas), showed up talking about stopping the wedding.

"I had tons of pills, and Dad had tons of everything too. Eventually I passed out on Dad's bed," she writes. "My father was not a man with boundaries. He was full of love, and he was sick with drugs. I woke up that night from a blackout to find myself having sex with my own father. Had this happened before? I didn't know. All I can say is it was the first time I was aware of it. For a moment I was in my body, in that horrible truth, and then I slid back into a blackout."

That was 1979. The following year, Mackenzie's drug use got her fired from the sitcom "One Day at a Time." (Here's an interesting People article from 1980 about that situation.) She and her father both went into rehab, and then out on tour with his band. They continued their sexual relationship -- and it became consensual.

"One night Dad said, 'We could just run away to a country where no one would look down on us. There are countries where this is an accepted practice. Maybe Fiji.' He was completely delusional. 'No,' I thought, 'we're going to hell for this.' "

See photos of Mackenzie, John, Chynna and Bijou Phillips and more

Mackenzie and Sessler remained married until 1981. He died in 2005. John Phillips died of heart failure in 2001.

Mackenzie's sexual affair with her father, she says, lasted ... 10 years. It ended when she became pregnant and didn't know who had fathered the child. She had an abortion, which her father paid for, and "and I never let him touch me again."

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John Phillips and MacKenzie during a taping of "The John Davidson Show" in 1981. (AP file)


In today's interview with Oprah, Mackenzie explains that her father also introduced her to the drug use that plagued her life for years to come. "My father shot me up for the first time," she said. Mackenzie was arrested as recently as October of last year, after being found at the Los Angeles airport with needles, cocaine and heroin. She was sent back to rehab.

She told Oprah that her siblings "definitely have a problem with this." Oprah also read a statement from Genevieve Waite, John Phillips' wife at the time of the alleged abuse and Mackenzie's stepmother that said he was "incapable, no matter how drunk or drugged he was, of having such a relationship with his own child."

Mackenzie's sister Chynna Phillips, 41, of the music group Wilson Phillips, tells Us Weekly today about the day she found out about the incestuous relationship. Mackenzie called her in 1997 while she was between flights at LaGuardia Airport in New York City: "She said, 'I don't know why, but I just really felt the need to call you and tell you something that I think you need to know.' And she went on to tell me that she had had an incestuous relationship with our dad for about 10 years. Somebody could have dropped a piano on my head and I probably wouldn't have felt it. But I knew it was true. I mean, who in their right mind would make such a claim if it wasn't true?"

At the end of her new book, Mackenzie writes: "It was, as I've said, a hard decision to reveal the sordid side of my relationship with my father. But these are complex, painful, heart-wrenching truths that infiltrate lives, many lives, not just mine. I can't be the only one. And I needed to tell that part of the story because I wanted to earn the right to talk about forgiveness."

Contributing: AP

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30 Comments

So like do addicts become addicted to like T.V. therapy after, like they get hooked on tele-therapy and you know like,T.V. audience support?
And like is everybody else consoling you better than consoling yourself? Like, do T.V. audiences solve your problems, or like you know should you try to figure them out for like, yourself? And like, if you have a real problem and like, write to Oprah, should you call a doctor? Like she tells you to do, like on her, you know like website, because Oprah like isn't, you know a social service agent- she's a entertainment company. And is Oprah like really cool now, or what? Is it good to dredge up problems from like 20 years ago, over and over after those are just memories and to be traumatized by past events continually? even if those events don't occur anymore. And McKenzie isn't over weight- she like, doesn't have the same molested issue as Oprah I guess. And people get like real upset about your opinions of them, but so like, then don't advertise them on T.V.
Maybe she could try Acai cleanse, like Dr.Oz didn't endorse it, but like Dr.Perricone did, so like which doctor to listen to? The one on Oprah's T.V.show or like the Dr.in her magazine?
Take Acai for incest cleansing? Sounds far fetched, let's ask a psychic if that's good advice...
Or Maybe Oprah could get one of her psychic friends to find people who are "going" to be molested before it happens, as a preventative measure- and announce on her show "this child was going to be molested, next week, but thanks to Dione Warwick's cousin, me and entire staff here at Harpo Communications have prevented that..Then, you could invite Tom Cruise from "Minority Report" on the show to explain Scientology.

since you people like to blog so much and let the whole world know how YOU'RE feeling, dont you think that she has the right to do the same thing. i think your just jealous that she is getting paid and your not.
Dont you feel better when you post a blog to get something off of your chest? Maybe writing the book is her way of talking about her feelings and a type of therapy.
i think it is great for people who are in the public eye to talk about the terrible things they have been thru in order to help other people who are in that same situation see the light. even if it only helps one person, its worth it.
i admit, she does need help, but whatever she does i hope she doesnt go to you Dr. Mary Pat Jordan. Your a duche bag.

I dont believe this stunt is anything but to get money. She portrays dishonest behavior. If she is in that much pain why not get help. All she has done is spill more poison on herself. There is no more attention from Daddy Mckensie. Hes dead! So really? What is the motive? This is NOT going to help others that have gone through this. It is going to bring it all back to life. Evil.

Wow..."Dr. Mary Pat Jordan"....what a moronic, not to mention, WEIRD thing to say. If you are, in fact, a legitimate doctor...it scares me to think that there are more in this world like you. YOU need your head examined for submitting such an irresponsible comment.

I think it's material for a therapists office, no doubt.

she was only hallucinating. she was on drugs.
do not waste your money folks. come on oprah, yu know better what is a real story.

To:
Thomas Conneron

Did you actually write this article? Or are you just reprinting someone else opinions?

If these are your opinions.........Please do a little research on incest.

There is so much brainwashing involved.

The word "consensual" is SO WRONG.

If Mackenzie Phillips did not have John Phillips for a father, she'd be getting her 25-year Wal-Mart pin right about now.

Other than to sell her book, what is the sense of publicizing this information?

Just what I needed to know. This is why I don't watch Oprah. Is my life better now that I know that Mackenzie Phillips had a 10 year sexual relationship with her Father? Did I really need to know that?
Mackenzie Phillips was made famous way before most people were born?

The only thing more demoralizing than reading this story is reading the comments from the morons on this thread.

There is just something about Mckensie Phillips story I just dont believe. If she did all these drugs, she never could have remembered EVERY incident from 40 yrs ago in such detail. Her Mother and family dont believe her and neither do I. Yes, I believe she did all the drugs, but the rest of it sounds fishy. Plus, only people 50 and over remember the Mamas and the Papas. She has been known to be a drama queen like most drug addicts. I just dont know about this. It seems too staged for me to believe it. SHE SEEMS AS IF SHE IS JUST TRYING TO MAKE MONEY BY SELLING A BOOK BASED ON OVEREXAGGERATIONS.

I don't know why she has brought this out, since she stated that he was a loving father? and don't look down on him- Hello, what do you think people are going to do, it isnt right nor will it ever be-

Is this woman looking to make a buck? Can you really believe what she is saying? Don't know and right about now I don't care, if this is truly something she was to let people know about then help those that are going thru this now instead of trying to make the almighty dollar!!!

By Dr. Mary Pat Jordan - A Dr of what - podiatry!
I can only pray that you don't have children. You are a sick individual if you think having sex with her father was o.k. just because he was good looking!!!!
May you never be in contact with real people. May you loose your clients if you have any!!!!!

I think it is very courageous for MacKenzie to speak out. I think it will certainly make people who have gone through a similar thing to stop torturing themselves for what their parents did to them. What is just as harmful are the secrets that parents keep with a justification that it will help the child when all it does is hurt the child who grows into a hurt adult. And really the parent is a liar who cannot take responsibility for their lies and mistakes. The is parents are the real sickos!

This is so sad. I believe she is telling the truth. No wonder why she has struggled so long with her addiction, probably trying to hide this shameful secret by getting high.
Lots of people think she should just keep it to herself, but if this is what it is going to take to truely REDEEM herself, then she should, but i wish she would have outed him before he died.
She should not be ashamed anymore, the people who looked the other way should be.
This probably started when she was a child for her to even continue doing it as an adult.

Thank goodness that drug use is a victimless crime.

Mackenzie should not be complaining. John Phillips was a very handsome man!

you left out the Mick Jagger part---where he jumped her bones and told her "I've been dying to do this to you since you were 10 years old"...

Any comment Mick? Where'd you learn your peophile tastes from, the Who's Pete Townsend?... I never knew Folk singers were such sicko's, Rock stars yeah, Folk singers? Wow...

I'm completely skeeved by this revelation. If she wants to go through the 12 steps towards sobriety, that's fabulous and more power to her. But for her to write of this and then go on Oprah of all things (and of course there’s Oprah salivating to air this for the ratings!! What a humanitatrian) to disclose this to the public in the name of asking forgiveness is ludicrous. The audience/public is not in a relationship with her and for her to continue to assume they are is a sign of denial. She should be disclosing this to psychiatrists, family members and close friends and then be a private person, keep to yourself and then she’ll have accomplished her steps!

Celebutards airing their dirty, vile history and profiting from it with books serves no purpose. The faux altruism, "if it helps someone..." doesn't cut it. Oprah has gone back to scraping the bottom of the barrel to gin up ratings. Note to celebutards: get help, try to heal but do be quiet and go away.

This looks like a publicity stunt. Even if it were true, it is bad form to implicate a dead father in a extremely public way; especially when he is not able to respond to the allegations. In any case, I doubt that her motives are altruistic. She wants fame and money from book sales. No doubt, many people will salivate at the voyeuristic opportunity to read a salacious story of incest.

I'm with "Trying not to vomit" -- sick, sick, sick is RIGHT!!

The chapter she left out was the 3-way with Mama Cass!

Hopefully she will receive the help she needs.
Very sad. I pray for her to recover from this abuse and the abuse of drugs.

I'd like to know how other members of her family feel about this revelation (which doesn't surprise me). Her mother was very permissive, stating in interviews that she allowed her girls have sex with boys in the family home. Remember, this was the 'anything goes' sixties.

SICK SICK SICK!!!!!

I have deep compassion for the pain anyone with a troubled life goes through. McKenzie Philips definitely had her share of pain, but I don't see the point in publicizing this. Telling a therapist and your family I could see, but using this sordid, immoral, deranged story as entertainment escapes my realm of understanding. I must admit I feel much worse absorbing the information of this story than I did before and feel no sense of enlightenment or understanding of life. If this admission is meant to help other victims, I hope it is successful as no one deserves the deep, difficult scars of such an atrocity. If there is one shred of desire for attention or monetary gain involved in this book, shame on any who have darkened their soul with such an effort.

"Uhmmmmmmmmmm......................" is all I can say.

Eeeewwww!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on September 23, 2009 10:00 AM.

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