Mackenzie Phillips’ family rejected her after incest confession

Mackenzie and John PhillipsMackenzie Phillips is still facing backlash over an incestuous relationship with her father. What’s even more surprising is the resentment comes from her own family.

The 57-year-old One Day at a Time star first exposed her secret via her 2009 memoir, High on Arrival. She opened up about being raped by her dad John Phillips, of The Mamas & The Papas fame, when she was 19 and while both were under the influence of drugs. She also admitted it was the beginning of a 10-year-long affair.

In Mackenzie’s newly published book, Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction, she reveals certain family members hold her responsible and adds that as a result of her revelation, she is no longer welcome at family functions such as birthday parties.

According to a story published by PEOPLE, Mackenzie wrote, “Another family member was angered that I might attend [a birthday party], and I was told she was just not willing to forgive me yet. She wouldn’t forgive me! For abuses perpetrated against me as a child, or for exposing those abuses perhaps.”

At the time of her bombshell confession, select members of her family accused her of lying. Others were displeased she held on to the truth until her father was dead and incapable of defending himself.

Mackenzie’s dad John died at age 65 in March 2001.

Despite the hurtful response from her blood relatives, Mackenzie has found support beyond her familial circle.

She shares, “I’ve come to understand that some in my family have chosen to hold on to the pain and anger they felt when I came out with the truth about my dad. I understand that they’re still caught in a textbook response of devaluing the victim and holding up the perpetrator.”

The drug addict-turned-Breathe Life Healing Center drug counselor adds, “I’ve also had to accept that, of course, I’d be the target of negative reactions and feelings because I’m the one who wrote the book and told a truth no one wanted to hear. If you’re trying to maintain some sort of façade so you can avoid pain, the last thing you want is for the façade to be demolished.”

If you’re interested in reading more about Mackenzie, her book, Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction, released yesterday (Feb. 7) and is available online and in bookstores.

What do you think of Mackenzie’s family barring her from birthday parties? Should old wounds be healed by now? ~Matthew Pariselli

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Pat G • February 9, 2017 @ 11:01 AM

    This is so very sad. My heart goes out for her.

  2. mike • February 9, 2017 @ 1:35 PM

    hes dead well to late to shoot him so I guess deal with it no one listens that’s very familiar and stupid of humans to do but hey we are only humans right worse than animals that is

  3. Ellabella • February 9, 2017 @ 1:37 PM

    People who make excuses for the abuser and shame the victim are equally as guilty of abuse. It may be emotional or psychological abuse, but it’s still abuse and it’s devastating for victims.

  4. D. Dancer • February 9, 2017 @ 2:02 PM

    I feel bad for Mackenzie. Her family members might have had a hard time dealing with this but first and foremost this happened to Mckenzie not them. If the family still can not get over this by now Mckenzie made the best choice to search for outside help. Let Mckenzie finally get on with her life and the heck with her family. What an awful family it is. Who needs those kind of people in their lives? I hope Mckenzie recovers fully.

  5. Riley • February 9, 2017 @ 4:03 PM

    People are so awful. How could they blame her for what happened?! And her own family?!?! It’s all so baffling. Maybe she should disown THEM!

  6. R D • February 9, 2017 @ 8:00 PM

    John was one odd duck, for sure, but this goes beyond the pale. A child molester…and no, he can’t escape that rap because she was not old enough to consent to it and it was incest. As an adult, it was incumbent upon him to know better, he has zero excuse. Also, he had a dying liver and was on the list for a transplant…somehow, he was rocketed well ahead of others who were also waiting, got the transplant and went right back to drinking like a fish, they caught him on hidden camera. He got outed on national TV and he denied it all. Oh, well, he died anyway, he didn’t deserve a thing. All that good stuff in life and he pissed it all away. What a loser.

  7. Alex • February 9, 2017 @ 10:25 PM

    High On Arrival was a phenomenal read. Quite the life, she’s lived til this point. I’ll be reading her latest work. Talented in so many ways, turning her world around has got to be her biggest success.

  8. TeeDee • February 10, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

    The family members who flat out accused her of lying are not worth even a seconds worth of consideration–they are as bad as the abuser. The ones who are upset because Mackenzie waited till her father’s death may have a legitimate complaint and should be heard, but to disown a family member over this is cruel beyond measure. As some others have said, she’s better off without them and made the right decision to find a ‘family’ outside of that toxic circle. Let them continue to have their family gatherings without her and live in their delusional bubble. They need help as much as Mackenzie did for her addictions. I wish her all the best.

  9. Tiny Dancer • February 10, 2017 @ 12:04 PM

    Unbelievable. Is there no 0ne out there that can fault Mackenzie in any way? Sure John was not much of a father or much of a man, for that matter. Drugs or no drugs, Mackenzie carried on this incestuous affair for another 10 yrs, to age 29. That certainly would make her an accomplice after 10 years and a long ways from a “child”. John is dead, so that is over with. That continuing 10 yrs. could be the cause of the rift in the family.
    Forgiveness is a hard thing to come by these days. Both sides need to forgive, not forget, but forgive. Mackenzie deserves another chance at life with, or without her family. So do they. I wish them all a long and happy life.

  10. OPR • February 10, 2017 @ 1:01 PM

    I do agree with you Tiny Dancer. She is just as at fault for letting this mess continue for way too long. Even at 19, she was already old enough to know better. While I am sure drugs had a lot to do with this, MacKenzie cant blame her father for everything. She continued to do drugs & lost a good acting job because of it. She could have changed things around, but did absolutely nothing for herself . Is she now deciding to write a book because she needs the money? I didnt have a great upbringing either… but I worked hard to become more useful than that!

  11. Ruby • February 13, 2017 @ 4:14 PM

    This is extremely sad for Mackenzie as I assume she was close with her family to that point. Why are they angry, because she said it out loud for all to hear, put shame into the family, or is it because they have been abused themselves and are not willing to talk openly about their own past. Just an observation and something to think about.
    I say, good for you Mackenzie, not many are able to do what she did. The rest live in silence.

    I got rid of the people in my life who brought me negativity. As a result, I have many wonderful friends in my life now. It will be better for her even if it is separating from family. Sometimes family can hold you back.

  12. J • August 3, 2017 @ 12:43 AM

    I always liked Mack, sexy girl, classic late 70’s cool chick kind of look. Her old sitcom has not aged well to say the least, but was dumb fun tv back in the day. As far as her old man, drugs and decadence screwed him up BAD and he passed it on to his daughter. Mackenzie was brave to address it publicly.

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