Mackenzie Phillips is looking back on her complicated relationship with father John Phillips.
Phillips, who opened up about her incestuous relationship with John in her memoir “High on Arrival,” reflected on her father’s “dark side” in a sit-down interview with sister and Wilson Phillips singer Chynna Phillips published Wednesday.
“Obviously, he’s an amazing songwriter and, you know I loved his laugh, and yet there was this whole other side to dad that was, I mean, kind of, like a monster,” Chynna told Phillips. “He was so dark, and you just didn’t know who you were going to get. It was very unpredictable.”
Released in 2009, Phillip’s “High on Arrival” told the story of Phillips’ “bizarre” childhood as the privileged daughter of rock star John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas and a life full of excess, drugs and few rules. Phillips’ revelation of an incestuous relationship with her father was a lightning rod, drawing major media attention and backlash.
“Dad was something else,” Phillips told her sister. “And I get a lot of criticism and a lot of trolling online for having forgiveness in my heart. Forgiveness, because forgiving is for me, not for the other person. And forgiving doesn’t mean I cosign or agree with what I’m forgiving him for.”
She added: “It’s very, very complicated. And yet, I am at peace.”
In a 2016 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Phillips said she didn’t anticipate losing the support of her family after revealing her father’s sexual abuse. “I felt like they would love me no matter what,” Phillips said.
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During their sit-down, Chynna praised Phillips for having the courage to speak about her trauma, despite the turmoil it may have caused.
“I want you to know that when I stood by you, I meant it with all my heart. I really did,” Chynna said. “I believed you, and I want you to know that I was proud of you for coming out even though it was painful for everybody.”
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, RAINN offers support through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE & online.rainn.org).
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Contributing: Bill Keveney, USA TODAY