September 23, 2009 / 6:11 PM / 9 years ago

Mackenzie Phillips claims incestuous affair with rock icon

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Mackenzie Phillips said in a memoir published on Wednesday that she had an incestuous affair for years with her father John Phillips, the late singer with 1960s band The Mamas & the Papas.

Actress Mackenzie Phillips, one of the stars of the film "The Jacket", arrives for the screening of the film at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 23, 2005. REUTERS/Fred Prouser FSP/CN

In the memoir “High On Arrival”, which was published a year after she was arrested for cocaine possession, Phillips writes that she had sex with her father at age 19, the night before her 1979 marriage to Jeff Sessler, a member of the Rolling Stones’ entourage.

The former star of TV sitcom “One Day at a Time” said she and her father used drugs that night. John Phillips died in 2001.

“My father was not a man with boundaries,” Phillips writes. “He was full of love, and he was sick with drugs. I woke up that night to find myself having sex with my own father.”

Phillips’ half-sister, Chynna Phillips, told US Weekly magazine she believed Mackenzie’s story. Chynna said Mackenzie told her in a 1997 phone call about the incest and that it lasted for 10 years.

“Somebody could have dropped a piano on my head and I probably wouldn’t have felt it,” Chynna Phillips told US Weekly. “But I knew it was true. I mean, who in their right mind would make such a claim if it wasn’t true.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Mackenzie Phillips’ “High On Arrival” was the 13th highest selling book at online retailer

In an interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey that aired on Wednesday, Mackenzie Phillips said that late in her relationship with her father, she became pregnant and suspected that he might be the unborn baby’s dad.

“I had an abortion, and I never let him touch me again,” she told Winfrey.

Winfrey on her show read a statement from Genevieve Waite, who was married to John Phillips during the time Mackenzie says she was having sex with him and cast doubts on her account.

“John was a good man who had the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction,” Waite said in the statement. “He was incapable, no matter how drunk or drugged he was, of having such a relationship with his own child.”

On Winfrey’s show, Mackenzie Phillips also said she first tried cocaine at age 11, and that her father injected the drug into her arm for the first time when she was 16 or 17.

Mackenzie Phillips, 49, starred in “One Day at a Time” from 1975 to 1983 and has a long history of drug abuse. She was fired from the show at one point after undergoing drug rehabilitation but then relapsing.

In August 2008, she was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport with drugs hidden in balloons and plastic bags. She pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and was sent back to drug rehabilitation.

Her marriage to Sessler ended in 1981. She has married twice since then, and has appeared sparingly in TV dramas in recent years.

The Mamas & The Papas were one of the most popular bands of the 1960s, with hit songs such as “California Dreamin’” and “Monday, Monday.”

Editing by Jill Serjeant

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