LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Mackenzie Phillips said in a memoir published on Wednesday that she had a decade-long incestuous affair with her father John Phillips, the late singer with 1960s band The Mamas & the Papas.
In the memoir “High On Arrival”, which came out a year after she was arrested for cocaine possession, Phillips writes that she first had sex with her father at age 19, the night before her brief 1979 marriage to 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 of heart failure in 2001.
“My father was not a man with boundaries,” Phillips, 49, 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.”
One of Phillips’ four ex-wives cast doubt on her story, another said it was unfortunate that she went public, while her half-sister, pop singer Chynna Phillips, said she believed it.
“I mean, who in their right mind would make such a claim if it wasn’t true,” Chynna Phillips told US Weekly.
But Chynna’s mother Michelle Phillips, the only surviving member of the Mamas and Papas, said in a statement that “whether her relationship ... is delusional or not,” the public disclosure is “an unfortunate circumstance and very hurtful for our entire family.”
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, 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.
Late Wednesday, “High On Arrival” ranked at No. 6 on online retailer Amazon.com’s list of bestselling books.
Phillips 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.
Her marriage to Jeff Sessler, who moved in the same circles as the Rolling Stones, 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