Mackenzie Phillips details drug use and incest in new memoir

High-on-Arrival_lHigh on Arrival, a memoir from actress Mackenzie Phillips, hits stores today, the same day that Phillips will make the requisite trip to Oprah’s couch to bare all. Oprah’s website has been touting the interview all week: “Mackenzie Phillips speaks out on the heroin and cocaine bust, Mick Jagger and the explosive family secret she says she’s kept for 31 years.”

And just what is that secret? Phillips is best known as a TV star (One Day at a Time) and as the daughter of John Phillips (founding member of the Mamas & the Papas). But she is also an addict, and hers is a book not about celebrity life, but about the frantic, unremitting scramble to get high. She did her best to obliterate a miserable childhood by shooting, snorting, and swallowing every drug possible. She says she was raped at 14 by a stranger and at 19 by her own father, then continued a pattern of using and detoxing until an August 2008 drug arrest at LAX forced her, she says, to embrace sobriety once and for all. Though Phillips’ incest revelations will make the headlines, the rest of the book — a raw glimpse into the mind of a junkie — is equally dispiriting. “It was, as I’ve said, a hard decision to reveal the sordid side of my relationship with my father,” she writes in the book’s afterword. “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.”

What do you think? Is this a book you’ll read?

For more on Mackenzie Phillips: Clark Collis’ article in The Music Mix

Comments (282 total) Add your comment
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  • Jill

    Why does she think we all need to hear about the incest going on? If she could keep it a secret for 30 years, she could keep it for another 30.

    • Lin

      Jill, it is people like you that allow incest to continue. This is a societal problem that needs to be discussed to be stopped. It is very courageous of any incest survivor to tell their story and let other survivors know they are not alone. Incest and all abuse thrives when it is kept secret. Shame on you.

      • Daddy

        Might help, might not. Might just be nasty, prurient interest. Anyone here have ‘thoughts’ about their daddy?

      • Mary

        You jumped in before I could, Lin. Sure, Mackenzie Phillips’ story may be very dark and difficult to hear, but incest is still a terrible tragedy that continues to occur today. Whether you want to hear it or not, she is trying to raise awareness through her story.

      • Dana

        Lin, you honestly think she is talking about this now after so many years, and after her father is dead and not here to defend himself in order to help others and to put an end to incest? If that were the case she would not be trying to capitalize on it. She wrote a tell-all book spoke to people magazine and is now going on Oprah. The proper way to deal with it would have been to seek therapy, not write a tell-all book and then go on various talk shows to promote that book. Plus she states that she willingly engaged in the incestuous relationship as an adult not as a child taken advantage of by her father. Yes incest is horrible, but in this instance she is as much to blame as her father if it is all even true. Keep in mind she was a severe drug abuser.

      • Will

        No, it’s about making a buck off of drama. I’m not a proponent of the activity but to bring up these latent allegations is just the ticket for the TV couch set. She’ll be on The View Next and possibly Wendy Williams. It’s all about the publicity to sell the books, that’s all not about the criminal or sociopathic behaviors that she dealt in for years.

      • Roger

        Lin, your statement that incest continues because of people like Jill…someone who gives an opinion on the internet…that’s a little strong. Very strong as a matter of fact. Most incest victims don’t have the luxury of selling a book and going on Oprah to announce it. It probably serves a purpose to those who can’t speak out, but it more so serves a purpose of feeding the gossipy nature that we have and to sell a book. But accusing Jill for this is ridiculous. Shame on you.

      • confidential

        Roger: Although Lin’s words were harsh, it is true that people to commit this crimes use the shame of never discussing it as a shield to continue what their doing. It’s no surprise that this book will make Ms. Phillips money but it will also hopefully encourage other victims to speak out. The secretive aspect of molestation is what keeps it alive.

      • Dontblamejill

        No, Lyn, it’s not people like Jill that make incest continue; it’s the slime ball pedophiles committing it that make it continue. Jill’s point is well-taken; why mention it 30 years later. Mackenzie could have helped herself and others by mentioning it when it happened.

      • den

        i dont understand why ther’s a problem, when ther is NO problem== 10 YRS.,,,

      • April

        Were you also aware that she had a consensual sexual relationship with her father? She wasn’t a victim, she was sick.

      • den

        lin why do u say PROBLEM?

      • den

        SURVIVOR, ??????

      • K. Henderson

        Thanks 4 Putting Jill in her place about Mckenzie Phillips.

    • ann

      I agree with you… she should have said it when he was alive to face her accusations. Now it just seems questionable.

      • mamapapababy

        Right and if he were alive, he would have denied it and put Ms. Phillips in a severe tailspin. I think what she is doing is brave and hopefully it will help others to stop. Maybe she found her voice after all these years. Don’t knock it until you’ve been there and hopefully you or a loved one will never be there.

      • nicolas

        Blame the victim. Look for ulterior motives. Walk a mile in her shoees. Walk 10 feet in her shoes.

      • den

        aNN — what ACCUSATIONS?

      • den

        ann she had NOTHING to say…..whats to ‘say’?????time to talk now—-$$$$$$$$$…i dont understand all these posts=== VICTIM====ABUSE ETCETERA ETCETERA ETCETERA…i left out some

      • den

        ANN , WHAT accusations?????? im in a quanderry

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      I think it’s less about what she thinks we want to hear, and what she thinks will help her recovery. I’m not saying she doesn’t want to earn some income in the process, but she is obviously scarred very badly from years of self-abuse and abuse at the hands of the people that were supposed to protect her most. And maybe, when you consider the fact that all the time she’s held this secret in, she hasn’t been able to overcome her addictions and love herself, it’s probably a good idea to come clean. Metaphorically, and physically.

    • Connie

      Amen Jill!

      • XSE Drake

        I’m sad for both of you. Enjoy your rose-tinted oblivion.


      I have an adoptive son that went through this and we are in therapy trying to work through what happened. It is good for people to know they are not alone in this. So Jill, I want her to talk about it. I want everyone to know what happens every day to thousands of children, who are helpless at the hands of adults. I want it sung from the rafters. Sweeping it under the rug helps absolutely NO ONE!!!!!!

      • den

        rainey, stay in therapy, even if it takes a llllloonnnnnnnnggggg time…thanks for your post….den

      • K. Henderson

        You’re abosoluty right Rainy Girl. Things like this have happened since the beginning of time but people are afraid to talk about it and may even blot it out of their minds, then one day, it’s horrible ugly head comes rearin out.

    • TC

      There mere fact she kept it secret for 30 years explains her constant drug abuse and failure to maintain sobriety. Exposure and knowledge ALWAYS sets free….for whomever is free is free indeed.

      • den

        do any of you spacers ever think she liked it?..Abuse, victim,, way over used words,,, gimmee a break..

      • den

        shes doin drugs 30 yrs later cuz she banged her dad??????Pleeeezzzzzz…whattaruon tc?

    • den

      jILL– $ == U KNO THAT.. jAGGER doesnt scope out 10 yr old’s ,,i hope..

    • DiMi

      Lin is absolutely right. I hope no child ever comes to Jill to tell her she/he has been touched inappropriately because Jill will tell that child to just shut up, bear it, and not make a scene.

      I think M. Phillips waited until her father was dead in order to protect him.

      I think she explained perfectly well that she wanted to publish this so that other people would know that they were not alone as incest survivors. She is right.

      Can you imagine anybody making these accusations if they weren’t true? What else could a parent do to make a child make such an accusation? I believe her.

    • Bev

      What’s the matter, Jill, does hearing about such things upset your “small” little perfect world?

    • K. Henderson

      Im with Lin on this one. I think Jill was very brave to come open with her dark past. Maybe if you opened up about some bad things that happened in your life, you might get the priveledge of being half the woman she is, that is, if you’re lucky.

    • K. Henderson

      THe comment that I posted was about you reply to mckenzie phillips’ New book. Oh yeah! GROW UP!!!

    • Mike H

      It’s not that we need to hear it, it’s that she needs to say it. Child/young adult star becomes loser, the 70’s come back, every obscure loser who was someone crawls out of the woodwork….hmmmm how do I get back my fifteen minutes of fame. I know! Daddy did me! That’ll wow ‘em and sell books…er, I mean raise awarenes….yeah, that’s it.

    • Terri

      I wonder how you would feel if it was your daughter or loved one, Jill? Be careful, karma can be a doozy!

  • Jim

    Do people really care about this??
    This is news?
    She was on one show way back when and has made headlines for being an addict since. Ridiculous journalism.

    • Jackie

      Jim, your commenting on EW, and questioning news value? Are you a complete idiot or what?

      • TeeHee

        Thanks for the laugh, Jackie. It’s always amusing when people who don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re” question the intelligence of others.

      • fender

        Conversely, it’s never amusing when schoolmarm types take it upon themselves to correct grammar in online posts…

      • Lisa/Family Jewels Antiques

        Regarding grammar: I believe “your” was a possessive as in “Jackie’s” commenting. Teehee, perhaps you owe Jackie a little apology. She was asking a question, not making a statement.

      • TeeHee

        I’m an editor type, actually. And you’re incorrect, Lisa. Anyway, I corrected Jackie to make a point. Jim’s comment was valid, and she called him an idiot for no apparent reason. The fact that she did so while misspelling one of the words we all learn in first grade made me giggle. I enjoy things like that. So sue me. *raps Fender’s knuckles with ruler*

    • Cleo2u

      She must have spent her way through the money she made way back when. Some people will do or say anything to make a buck nowdays…
      These “stars” are getting old…and so are their “poor me” sob stories. Life happens…go see a shrink and deal with it privately.

  • badself

    She writes a “tell all” book every five years, and does the weepy talk-show tour every times she gets busted. How many years has she been making a career out of getting clean?

    • Jeff

      Gee. I don’t know.
      How long would your personal problems last if you were molested by your own father? This latest problem seems to explain the others. Check to see if you left your humanity under the sofa, when you get home tonight.

      • Jeffsabully

        Forget to take your valium today, Jeff. A bit harsh, I’d say. Having humanity does not mean that we need to sympathize with every druggie who makes a living out of tell-all books. She was an adult (19) when her father molested her; she was complicit with his treatment of her if she didn’t report him or stop it.
        She was not a helpless child. She probably went along with it, because he was her drug source. Gee, I feel so sorry for the poor little junkie…

      • den

        yur on my ‘list’ Jeff
        How does one get MOLESTED FOR FOR A LLLLLONNNGGGGG TIME??????
        dont work that way bubba…

    • malina

      Yeah, and I kind of wonder how she can be so sure she’s “embraced sobriety once and for all” when her last bust was a year ago. Doesn’t she always say that? If she wants to get sober it sounds like she needs to STOP writing books and get OUT of the public eye

    • den

      i hope he took that sick hat off

  • bunec

    who cares??

    • den

      why are u followin this ‘buns’

  • jul

    Nice “blame the victim” mentality, Jill. Why should she keep it a secret any longer? That’s what victimizers want: anonymity to perform under. Shame on you for condemning her. She was born into depravity, it’s no wonder her whole life reflects that upbringing. From whom would she have learned to lead a normal, healthy life?

    • Roborob

      She did not condemn her nor blame the victim at all Jul. Why don’t you create a real argument instead of an ad hominem and straw man.

    • Elle

      She wasn’t the victim after the first time. She admittedly chose to continue the relationship, Jul.

      • den

        how abolutely BRILLIANT….

      • den

        th sick hat guy is th victim..

        is ther any reason th dumb hat guy is not a VICTIM?//

    • den

      jul==guess you missed th Haight…..

  • Yasmin

    Okay, EW. That’s “ewwwww, how gah-nasty!” as well as “really, EW? Really?? You’re reporting this?”

  • Peggy

    Im not sure if this is real or a way to get back into the lime light. revealing “secrets” is one of the fastest ways to get your name noticed again and as a former drug abuser i know that details get mixed up in a clouded haze so sometimes(our)truth is not always the real truth.

    • nzs

      Excellent point, Peggy.

  • Lou

    It is crap made up to promote her book, make money and enable her to buy more drugs I believe.

    • den


  • The Rodentman

    Another book? Guess she ran out of money. Drugs are really expensive, no?

    • den

      rodemtman==finally saw a post (i don ussually look at this crapola) that made me LAFF====THANKS, & HATS OFF TO whatever her name is……everyone need to LEAVE HER ALONE ===VICTIM HOHOHOHOHOHOHOH..

  • Jack

    Your Dad must be proud of your ability to keep a secret, Jill.

    • Jeanie

      Jack…THAT is funny.

    • crysjumar

      Jack…Nailed it!

    • den

      jill why should it be a secret? and if i may, have you ever heard of ‘The Kiss”,, Katherine Harrison, Bio?

    • K. Henderson

      Althoug your comment to jill was slightly harsh, may I commend you on “tellin it like it (prpbably) is.

  • Jay

    Only goes to show the absolute valuelessness of Oprah. Amazing that she can get so many accolades. She is a BILLIONAIRE…okay? She does stuff or the purpose of making herself look good, and feathering her own nest, stuff like having Mackenzie Phillips on. Who cares about either of them?

    • Cherish Lang

      Im not a big Oprah fan personally but i am aware that she has a history of sexual abuse. It seems more likely that her airing this story is more in line with her attempts to show perseverance and hope following abuse than she is glorifying or sensationalizing the events.

      • K. Henderson

        Cherish Lang, Yes Oprah has been throug some abuse. in a situation like this Mckenzie may be helping Oprah deal with her past just as much as Oprah’s helping her.

    • den

      Jay– i care about thfunny hat guy’s daughter because i wish i could hav been Papa John……

  • am_underground

    If true, her and dad, It’s sad but to come out now, with dad dead, doesn’t do much for her credibility.

    • Melinda

      How does waiting until after his death to reveal undermine her credibility? In her place, I wouldn’t have had the courage to speak out ever, let alone when he was still around to call me a liar. Good for MacKenzie. I hope she’s healing.

      • K.

        Well, he no longer has a chance to defend himself. If she had merely waited before revealing it, maybe you would have an argument. But the fact that she waited until the week she had a book coming out does call her credibility into question. I’m not saying that she told the truth or that she made it all up–but you can’t simply take everything at face value.

    • den

      dontcha think th sad part is , he’s gone away…..noone’s gettin fat, ‘cept th book store….i still love mackenzie….

  • tulip

    ’tis not right, to make these statements when the acused are not around to defend themselves or to deny these terrible charges. a junkie,addict,or a spoil sib. will do anything for attention ormoney!!

    • den

      she had no fun???????….i love these words====victim & on/on/on/yeddada infinitum…..

  • Carol

    No one but Ms Phillips can judge if telling her story was right or wrong. Being born into and raised in the lifestyle she was, I applaud her for being alive and trying to live a better life, whether its the first try or the hundredth.

    • wheel

      I can’t believe that this is getting all the attention just because it is MacKenzie Phillips, Just goes to show how shallow this nation has become. This goes on everyday in every community, that is what needs the attention, not one person who is trying to sell a book. But you are right about one thing Carol, she does need applauded for admitting she has a problem and trying to solve it, doesn’t matter how many attempts it takes.

    • den

      tulip==what do u mean = WRONG?

  • Leslie

    I wonder if these celebs give any thought to their children when they throw up all over the page like this. It may be healing to her to have the world know all this, but perhaps for her children and other innocent family members — not so much.

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