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Inside Mackenzie Phillips' Alleged Relations with Her Father John Phillips

Titi Dokubo
Nov 27, 2021
05:20 P.M.

When Mackenzie Phillips published her memoir in 2009, she made surprising revelations that angered some family members while putting the rest of her readers in shock.


She revealed that her father introduced her to drugs and had an affair with her for ten years. Her revelations came 30 years after the affair had ended.

Even though some family members did not believe her story, she believed most of them knew what was happening. Here's all you should know about Mackenzie Phillips and her secret.

Mackenzie Phillips at the signing of her book "Hopeful Healing: Essays On Managing Recovery And Surviving Addiction" on February 28, 2017, in Los Angeles (left), John Phillips circa 1981 in New York (right) | Photo: Getty Images

Mackenzie Phillips at the signing of her book "Hopeful Healing: Essays On Managing Recovery And Surviving Addiction" on February 28, 2017, in Los Angeles (left), John Phillips circa 1981 in New York (right) | Photo: Getty Images



Laura Mackenzie Phillips, known professionally as Mackenzie Phillips, was born on November 10, 1959. Her parents were John Phillips, singer in The Mamas & the Papas group, and his first wife, Susan Stuart Adams.

She is an American actress and singer best known for her roles in "American Graffiti," "One Day at a Time," "So Weird," and "Orange Is The New Black."

She attended Highland Hall Waldorf School, and at 12, she formed a band with three of her classmates. A casting agent spotted their band during one of their performances.


Mackenzie later auditioned for a role in "American Graffiti" and became a star in the 1970s. She then landed the role of Julie Cooper in "One Day at a Time."

In the show's third season, Mackenzie was arrested for cocaine possession, and when her addiction became worse, she was fired from the series in 1980.

She returned to the show in 1981 but was fired again in 1983 after she slept off during rehearsals and refused to take a drug test. This time, they wrote her character out of the series.



Mackenzie, who started dealing with addiction from a young age, revealed that she tried drugs with her father for the first time when she was 11 in her 2009 memoir "High on Arrival."

After two near-fatal overdoses, Mackenzie voluntarily went to rehab for treatment. In 1981, she completed her treatment but relapsed the following year.


In 1992 she entered a long-term drug rehab program and underwent intensive treatment for nine months. However, she was sentenced to another drug rehabilitation program in 2008 after being arrested for possession of drugs.

Besides dealing with drug addiction, she also revealed that she was in a consensual incestuous relationship with her father. Their affair was a secret she had kept for 30 years before her book was published in 2009.



John Edmund Andrew Phillips, the Mamas & the Papas group leader, was born on August 30, 1935. He was an American singer, promoter, songwriter, and guitarist frequently referred to as Papa John Phillips.

As a teenager, John formed a musical group before gaining a record contract in the early 1960s. After three albums with his first band, he formed the Mamas & the Papas group with Denny Doherty and Cass Elliot.

After their group split, John released his solo album "John, the Wolf King of L.A." in 1970. John was convicted of drug trafficking and spent one month in jail in 1981.

John Phillips performing on stage during a "live" concert appearance on November 17, 1989 | Photo: Getty Images

John Phillips performing on stage during a "live" concert appearance on November 17, 1989 | Photo: Getty Images


In 1957, John was married to Susan Adams, and they had two children, Jeffrey and Mackenzie. While married, he had an extramarital affair with teenager Holly Michelle Gilliam.


This affair caused the dissolution of his first marriage. John and Gilliam got married on December 31, 1962, and they had one child, Chynna, before being divorced in May 1969.

John Phillips performing at the Kiel Auditorium on July 21, 1967, in St. Louis | Photo: Getty Images

John Phillips performing at the Kiel Auditorium on July 21, 1967, in St. Louis | Photo: Getty Images


On January 30, 1972, he married his third wife, Geneviève Waïte. They had two children, Tamerlane and Bijou, and were divorced in 1985.

On February 3, 1995, he married his fourth wife, Artist Farnaz Arassteh. They were together until his death on March 18, 2001.

In his autobiography titled "Papa John," he talked about his lifelong battle with alcohol and drugs. He also talked about a family history of substance abuse.

Photo of "The Mamas And The Papas" circa 1970 | Photo: Getty Images

Photo of "The Mamas And The Papas" circa 1970 | Photo: Getty Images



Mackenzie's relationship with her father was not one to be desired based on her revelations. He had initially introduced her to drugs at 11 and had sexual intercourse with her when she was 19.

On the night before her first wedding to Jeffrey Sessler, her dad had checked into the same hotel where she was, and she went to see him. She admitted to having tons of pills while John had tons of everything.

After she woke up from what seemed like a blackout, she found herself having sex with John. She said she didn't remember how it started, and she was unable to stop it.


She had also wondered if it had happened before or if that was the first time it was happening. However, this was the first time she was aware of it and slid back into the blackout.

When she confronted John about what had happened, she realized that her father lived without rules. He believed that since she didn't protest, there was nothing wrong with it.

After ten years of their incestuous relationship, Mackenzie finally ended it when she allegedly got pregnant. She said she was scared the pregnancy was for her father, and he paid for her to have an abortion.


Despite what had happened, she said she didn't hate her father. She understood that he was a tortured man who abused his power, but she forgave him on his deathbed.

After her shocking revelation in her book, John's second wife, Gilliam, said she was embarrassed and mad that Mackenzie could write such.

Gilliam believed that Mackenzie was lying, but Gilliam's daughter, Chynna, believed Mackenzie was telling the truth. Mackenzie had confided in Chynna 11 years after the relationship ended.


In her interview with Oprah, Mackenzie concluded that she could have done one thing differently. She said maybe she would have gotten everyone together to prepare them better.

However, she's also glad she could forgive her father, who died of heart failure at 65. Before his death, he had suffered various ailments, including a stomach virus that affected his kidneys.



After decades of being under the influence from time to time, Mackenzie decided to stay sober. She began to work as a rehab counselor at the Pasadena Recovery Center.

Her motivation to stay sober has been her inner resilience. She has been able to find balance in her life as she still does what she loves doing by acting and having fun.

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