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Interview With Mackenzie Phillips

Aired October 3, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Mackenzie Phillips -- you may think you know her story...


MACKENZIE PHILLIPS, ACTRESS AND AUTHOR OF "HIGH ON ARRIVAL": If I'm not going to tell the whole story, what's the point?


KING: The rock and roll childhood, the teen stardom.


PHILLIPS: Not old Carol. (INAUDIBLE) and I'm not hitting the rack until I get a little (INAUDIBLE).


KING: The drug abuse, arrests and rehab.


PHILLIPS: How did this happen?

How did I end up here?


KING: But she's kept a dark secret until now -- incest with her superstar father, Mamas & The Papas.


PHILLIPS: You raped me. And he said, "Raped you? Don't you mean when we made love."


KING: Mackenzie Phillips surviving and sober and telling is straight, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

What a pleasure to welcome to Larry King LIVE tonight, the author of an extraordinary -- the book. The book is "High on Arrival" and the author is the well-known actress, Mackenzie Phillips, known to millions for her role as Julie Cooper on the TV series "One Day at a Time," daughter of the last singer-songwriter John Phillips, the founder of The Mamas & The Papas, whose struggles with drug abuse have been widely reported. She tells the story and often more, added shocking stories in a new memoir that we mentioned, "High on Arrival."

Why -- why did you write this?

PHILLIPS: That's a very -- that's a really good question. And I've been asked it before. And, you know, when I first -- I've been asked to write my story since I was 25 years old. I never felt ready to do it. Several years ago, I sat down and started to do it with a wonderful writer. I wasn't ready.

And then, this time, I got to the point where I was sitting down with my writer -- my co-writer, my co-author, Hilary Liftin -- and I realized that I was about to put out another sanitized version of my life.

KING: Which you'd done before?

PHILLIPS: Which I had done before with the "E! Truly Hollywood Story" and all these different media outlets that have covered my struggles.

And I thought to myself, what's the point?

If I'm not going to tell the whole story, what's the point?

And then I got to the point where I thought to myself, I can't be the only one that this has happened to. I can't be the only one that has struggled, because people who live through these kind of things end up self-destructing, cutting -- I never did that -- but cutting, using drugs...

KING: You think there have been a lot of stories like this?

PHILLIPS: In this world?


KING: Of incest with her own father?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely.

KING: We'll get to that. OK.

Now, the title, "High on Arrival" means?

PHILLIPS: Well, in -- in the book, right after the title page, there are lyrics to a song my father wrote about my called "She's Just 14." And it says, "She's just 14, a little movie star queen. There isn't much she hasn't seen." And it goes on and it says, "but she's always too nice to the driver. She says, 'James, have you had your supper?' She's always too high on arrival. And she runs on her high platform heels, falls flat on her face and she knows how life feels, but she's just 14." That's where I got the title.

KING: A beautiful piece of writing. PHILLIPS: It's a beautiful song.

KING: Are you sure about memory, with all the drugs you've gone through, when you relive your life, do you know what happened happened?

PHILLIPS: I absolutely know what happened happened.

KING: There's no doubt in your mind?

Because sometimes, you know, we can imagine things and we've told it so much to ourselves, it didn't happen.

PHILLIPS: We can imagine things, but this has been a part of my consciousness and a part of my life for 31 years. I know what happened. I'm -- I'm a very present, bright human being who has lived a difficult life, but is here to tell the story and you know...

KING: All right. Now, you knew, being smart, that once you reveal this and go on a program like this, your world changes. People don't look at you the same way.

You realize that?

PHILLIPS: Yes, I do realize that, but this isn't about me. This really has become about the thousands and possibly millions of people who are trying to live through -- live through this, live through whatever it is they're trying to live through. And there's no one representing this part of the population. We -- we, this community of survivors, if you want to call it that, is -- is incredibly underrepresented as a group of human beings.

KING: How do you know they're out there?

PHILLIPS: How can they not be?

The stories are rampant.

KING: You've run into others?

PHILLIPS: Since -- since Oprah Winfrey aired and the book came out -- I have a large fan base on Facebook. And I have had -- I wish I had brought some of these printouts. Incest survivors have been writing me all day long -- "your courage," "now I half feel like I can actually go on with my life;" "now I feel like I'm not alone and I felt so alone and nobody ever talks about this." And there's very little in this world that is taboo today, but this subject is still, like shove it under the carpet, sweep it away, protect the abuser, deny the reality and let that person -- you're just, you're on you own, kid. You know, so...

KING: All right, let's go back...


KING: It's 1979, right? You're 19 years old...

PHILLIPS: That's right.

KING: This is when this first happened, the night before you're supposed to marry Jeff Sessler, who is a member of the entourage of the Rolling Stones, right?


KING: Was this an -- your engagement, you're about to get married, you were very happy?

PHILLIPS: Yes, we were very happy. We were engaged and it -- but, you know, I mean, we were both heavily into drugs, as well.

KING: But you didn't marry that day?

PHILLIPS: No, I did not.

KING: What happened that day?

PHILLIPS: The night before, my father came to Florida with the intention to stop the union. Nobody wanted me to marry Jeff. And I went over to my father's hotel room and we -- he had a lot of drugs, I had a lot of drugs, we took a lot of drugs. And all I remember is arriving in the room, getting high and then I remember sort of -- yes. He kind of -- I don't know if you know this. You probably don't know this. If you're in a blackout and you're not in your body and then you come to in your body, I was in the act of having sex with my father and I...

KING: What did you think?

PHILLIPS: What did I think?

KING: Yes.

PHILLIPS: I thought, how did this happen?

How did I end up here?

And plus which, I was on drugs.

So, I mean, there's that element of is this really real?

KING: And he was on drugs?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely.

KING: And what did he say?

PHILLIPS: He didn't say anything at that time. I was probably cognizant for less than a minute, slid back into a blackout and woke up in my own hotel room the next day.

KING: You don't remember anything from that time on?


KING: When was the next time you saw him?

PHILLIPS: Probably the next day.

KING: What did he say?

PHILLIPS: It wasn't -- we didn't speak about it until I brought it up to him several months later. And I said to him...

KING: What were the circumstances then?

PHILLIPS: The -- we were in New York and he was living off of Houston and he was sitting on a rocking chair. And I remember the lighting was sort of, you know, low. And I had gone over there to talk to him because I was very disturbed by this reality. And I said, you know, dad, we really...

KING: Were you still taking drugs?


KING: Yes. OK.

PHILLIPS: I said we really need to talk about what happened in Florida. We need to talk about how -- and I used the word 'rape' for want of a better word -- how you raped me.

And he said, "Raped you? Don't you mean when we made love?"

And I thought to myself, wow, I'm so screwed. I -- I -- I sort of closed my mind to it and put it in a little emotional mental box and took it out and looked at it every once in a while, but I never really -- what do you do?

What do you do?

KING: Where was your mother?

PHILLIPS: My mother and I weren't really in contact that much then, but I -- I was with my mother a couple of days ago and I laid it all out for her. I told her about it. I told my Aunt Rosy about it. And they -- and I said, you know, what -- what should we do?

This is wrong. I've been -- I've been violated, you know. And they said, you know, you're really risking a lot if you go after him. And I said, well, I don't want his life. I don't want bad things to happen to him, but I also don't want bad things to happen to me as a result of this. And I was convinced to let it lie.

KING: Mackenzie Phillips is the guest.

I would say this is a must read.

The book is "High on Arrival."

We'll be right back.


KING: We're with Mackenzie Phillips. Her book is "High on Arrival" -- an extraordinary memoir. You are not likely to read anything like it in some time.

All right. You said you were raped earlier in your life, right?

PHILLIPS: Yes, I was...

KING: In your early teens.

PHILLIPS: ...I was 14.

KING: What were the circumstances then?

PHILLIPS: I was hanging out with some friends at a club on Sunset called Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco. And I was allowed to hitchhike at that age. My father allowed me to hitchhike back and forth from the Sunset Strip to our home in Bel Air.

And we were hitchhiking home, my friends, Billy, Jody and I.

And a gentleman -- a gentleman. Someone I thought I knew. We thought we knew this man. We got in the car and he turned off of Sunset. And I said this -- this isn't the way to my house. And he asked Billy and Jody to get out. He said the gas cap was loose. And I was in the front seat. And I thought it was very odd that he asked the kids in the back seat to get out.

And he said, can you go check it?

And they went to check it and that's when I saw -- and it was very dark, but there were street lights. I saw a glint of metal in his hand. And I thought wow, this is -- this is bad. And -- and I went to try and get out of the car and he grabbed me around the neck and held a knife to my neck.

KING: And what happened to the girls in the back of the car?

PHILLIPS: They came running around and one had my arm and he had me here and he took off and he hit the gas. And I was sort of dragged in between the car and the door for just a moment. And then I -- centrifugal force threw the door closed and I fell back into the car. And he took me up into the hills and raped me. And he told me he was going to kill me.

KING: Did you bring charges?

PHILLIPS: We never found him. You know...

KING: What do you mean you never -- you went to the police right away, I assume? PHILLIPS: I was let out of the car on the street above Sunset. He shoved me out of the car. I ran back down to the club. The police were there. Billy and Jody were there. Rodney was out front of his club. Everyone was crying. And I was taken and done a rape kit on. I was clearly raped.

KING: And they never found him and you never identified -- you couldn't identify the car, a driver's license?

PHILLIPS: I told them everything, you know, everything I knew. I was a 14-year-old girl.

KING: What did your father say?

PHILLIPS: My father was very upset. And this is all documented in the E! "True Hollywood Story." And he talks about it in his book, as well.

KING: Before he passed on, right?

PHILLIPS: Yes, before he passed away on March 18th of 2001 at 8:05 a.m., I might recall. I loved my father very much. I miss him. It sounds weird, but that's the truth. He...

KING: He was upset.

PHILLIPS: He was very upset. And the night before, a friend of his headline been sitting in Ben Franks on Sunset Boulevard and overheard someone saying that they knew the guy who raped Papa Jones' daughter the night before. And this was Jolie Jones, Quincy Jones' daughter, who overheard this. My dad was friends with Quincy. And Quincy called my father and my father left the house with a shotgun.



KING: But they never found the guy?

PHILLIPS: Never found the guy.

KING: Now, you write: "Sex with my father was like a runaway train. I felt like I had no part in doing anything about it."

And you say it was consensual.

How soon after the first time did it occur again?

PHILLIPS: The way it occurred after the first time, nothing occurred for -- I was 18, 19 years old. Nothing occurred for probably three or four years. Then I went on the road with the New Mamas & The Papas. And I was with my dad on a daily basis. And there were lots and lots of drugs involved.

KING: And your stepmother was there, too?

PHILLIPS: No, she was at home with the kids.


PHILLIPS: The younger kids -- I have younger brothers and sisters, quite a lot younger than I am. And we would take drugs and do the show and, you know, all that kind of insanity. And I started waking up in my father's hotel room bed with -- I wore a lot of leggings, you know those tight black legging pants back in the '80's, because it was, you know, really big then.

And I would wake up with them down around my ankles. And I would think, how did this -- where am I?

How did this happen?

And I look over and I'm in my father's bed and he's sleeping next to me. And this happened -- it didn't happen, as I've said, it didn't happen every day. It didn't happen every week. It occurred.

KING: Did he have any guilt?

PHILLIPS: Look, my father lived in a world of his own creation. He was a great man. There's a fine line between genius and insanity, as we all know. He tried very hard to live a life of his choosing. And I think -- and this is only my point of view. I think that -- that, to him, if sex happen between a father and a daughter and nobody protested, where's the problem?

I don't -- I can't speak for what he thought.

KING: Did you talk to anyone about this?

PHILLIPS: I talked only -- this, look, this isn't the kind of thing where you call up your friend and say, hey guess what?

KING: So who did you tell, no one?

PHILLIPS: I -- there are people who have known for many, many years. And people who are coming out of the woodwork. I got a call today from a woman who was -- I worked with on the road with my dad and she said I remember you telling me about this in '91. I told boyfriends about it in the '90s and it -- several of them promptly broke up with me the following day.

KING: Were you high most of the time?

PHILLIPS: Not most. Not most, a fair amount of the time, sure.

KING: Mackenzie's stepmother, Michelle Phillips, says that she's lying. Ahead, we'll tell you what she said.

We'll be back in 60 seconds.


KING: Welcome back. Our guest is Mackenzie Phillips.

As we've mentioned, the title of Mackenzie's Memoir is a lyric from she's just four -- when "She Was Just 14," written by her father. We have John Phillips' rendition of that song with photos from Mackenzie's life.




KING: That was Mick Jagger with him?

PHILLIPS: Um-hmm. It's a duet between my dad and Mick Jagger.

KING: What was the appeal of drugs to Mackenzie?

We'll find out when we come back.



KING: The book is "High on Arrival"

You have a son, Shane.

When and what did you tell him about the relationship with your dad?

PHILLIPS: Shane has known about the initial incident that I would like to call molestation for a long time. Shane's 22. And about, I don't know, I guess a month ago, I sat him down and I said, you know, this is going to be a widely disseminated subject. People are going to be talking about this and I need to prepare you. And his best friend, Blaze, who I help raise -- he's one of my -- my son's very best friends. And these kids, they're just great. And they all love me and they've all supported me.

I sat with Shane and Blaze and I went over step by step what I've told you. And I said, son, you know, you need to...

KING: What did you say?

PHILLIPS: He said -- he put his head on my shoulder and he said, "Mama, I'm sorry that happened to you." And then he looked at me and he said, "You better tell dad."

KING: How many times would you guess you were with your father, sexually?

PHILLIPS: I wouldn't be able to hazard a guess. I would...

KING: Would you say a lot? PHILLIPS: At least -- more than a dozen.

KING: When did it end?

PHILLIPS: It ended when I became pregnant.

KING: Was it his baby?

PHILLIPS: I don't know. I...

KING: Were you sleeping with someone else?

PHILLIPS: My son's father.

KING: So it could have been his baby, too?

PHILLIPS: It could very well have. But the implications of such were so mind-bogglingly disturbing to me. And in that moment I thought to myself, I'm -- I'm screwed in more ways than one.

KING: Did you have an abortion?

PHILLIPS: Yes, I did.

KING: Did you tell your father?

PHILLIPS: He paid for it and I never ever let him touch me again.

KING: Did he think it was his?

PHILLIPS: He didn't know. Neither of us knew.

KING: Did he ever, before he died, as you said -- you know the date and time and hour.

PHILLIPS: I was there holding his hand.

KING: Did he ever talk about it to you?



PHILLIPS: No. My -- if...

KING: Did you ever say why?

PHILLIPS: Yes, I did. I once called him. I was on the road with "Grease," the Broadway tour of the musical "Grease." And I called him. I was alone in a hotel and I was straight -- clean, sober, had been for several years at that point. And I called him and I said, "I feel so alone, pops -- Popsicle," I called him that sometimes, too. And I said, "You know, I -- I feel very alone on this planet and I need you to tell me why this happened.

Why am I the way I am?

Why would you choose me to --why would you visit this upon me?"

And he said, "Max," -- he called me Max. He said, "I don't -- I don't have those answers for you, kid. But I love you and I've got to go."

My father was a man who, he couldn't face -- I mean and, look, you know, I saw something today about how I claimed that my father shot me up with drugs for the first time. Those people that said that that is my claim should go out and buy his memoir, "Papa John: A Music Legend's Shattering Journey through Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll." It's out of print, but it's available on You'll be able to find out a lot about why my father was the way he was and he chronicles that in his book.

KING: But he never admitted to this?


KING: Why do you think he did it?

PHILLIPS: I think that my father didn't know how -- look, now I have family members who have had very different experiences with him. Both of my sisters -- my sisters have never been touched inappropriately by him, as far as I know, and I believe them.

I think that he, like I said, in his book, he had a very, very difficult childhood. Look, you take a man who has this hedonistic view of life and he is the king of all he sees. And he's a genius and he's a musical genius -- charismatic, bright, smart, funny. And you take a little girl who's always tugging, daddy, daddy, pay attention to me, I'm over here.

Then the little girl gets just as famous as the father. Then you add in the workplace. Then you add in huge amounts of drugs -- this desperate need for connection. It can -- I don't expect people to say, of course, that's exactly what would happen. But I would like your audience to understand how it could happen.

KING: Why are you not angry at him?

PHILLIPS: That's a really good question. I've always turned my anger inwards towards self-destruction.

KING: You blame yourself?

PHILLIPS: I've taken a lot of accountability for this, as you can see. I'm not blaming my father. I could have stopped it. I didn't. I didn't stop it until I was scared with eternal damnation, Larry.

KING: This is a weird question.

Did you enjoy it? PHILLIPS: It's very difficult for me to say, but yes, of course, at times, it was enjoyable. And at other times, it was absolutely horrifying. When I was able to actually take stock and say where are you right now and what are you doing, when you do that and you realize where you are and what you're doing...

KING: It would seem you'd want to tell some people. You know, this kind of thing to live with it, you'd want to tell someone -- someone real close to you, a tight friend.

PHILLIPS: I have told tight friends. I mean...

KING: At the time.

PHILLIPS: Yes. I mean there -- it's not -- look, my job isn't to out the people in my life in this book that I've told. That's their story. Now, it's possible that people may come forward now. I don't know. But I do know that there are people that I've told, but it's not my place to say I told so and so, call them up.

KING: I've got you.

When we come back, we'll talk about her stepmother and how much money she might have spent on drugs in her life.

Don't go away.



CHYNNA PHILLIPS: I'm part of my sister. You know, am I exceedingly joyful that my family secret that I told maybe my therapist, my husband and my very best friend in the world know now it's a platform for everybody to know?

It's very upsetting.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: So you've known for a while?

C. PHILLIPS: I've known for a long time.


KING: We're back with Mackenzie Phillips. The book is "High on Arrival."

According to "The Hollywood Reporter," your former stepmother, Michelle Phillips, who I know pretty well. She's quite a lady.

PHILLIPS: I love Mich.

KING: Whom you write about very warmly in your memoirs. She says that she had every reason to believe your allegation of incest is untrue. She's quoted as saying that in 1997, you told her you'd had a sexual relationship with your father, then called her back and said you were joking.

What's your response to that statement?

PHILLIPS: My response to that statement is that Michelle has known about this, in one form, for many years. It's not my place to tell Michelle's story, but I believe that this family is having -- and Drew will be able to speak to this -- a classic text...

KING: That's Dr. Drew. He'll be with us later.

PHILLIPS: Yes. A classic textbook reaction. I can't ex -- I can't tell their story, like I've been saying, but I understand that she's protecting something important to her. And maybe she can tell you...

KING: But that something is gone.

PHILLIPS: I can't, you know, you can't -- I -- I can't explain why there are members of my family who aren't supporting me.

KING: All right. She also told "The Hollywood Reporter" that you have a lot of mental illness and are jealous of your siblings.

PHILLIPS: If you can find one person that can tell you that I have ever been mentally ill in my life, I will give you $500. I've never had a problem with mental illness. And I...

KING: Why do you think she said that?

PHILLIPS: I think, as I said, that Michelle is trying to protect something, and I think it's probably the Mamas and Papas brand.

KING: Chynna Phillips, Michelle's daughter, your half sister, tells US Weekly that you called her in 1997, confessed to a 10-year incestuous relationship with your dad. She's quoted as saying, "I knew it was true. I mean, who in their right mind would make such a claim if it wasn't true." Chynna backs you up.

PHILLIPS: Chynna and I sat down several months ago and had a beautiful dinner together, and I told her the story that I've told you. And Chynna's known about this, in one form or another, for a long time as well. And I can't tell you -- Chynna has a Christian album coming out, which is absolutely brilliant. She's an amazing artist, and I can't tell you how much her support means to me.

KING: How old were you when you started on drugs?

PHILLIPS: I was 11.

KING: How did you start? What were the circumstances?

PHILLIPS: Well, my father and one of my stepmothers had left a large bowl of cocaine in plain view. My brother and I saw them put it under the TV cabinet, and they went into the other room to take a nap, which is unusual after doing large amounts of cocaine, to take a nap. And my brother and I went in there and pulled it out, and did what they did.

KING: Did they know you were doing it?

PHILLIPS: They didn't know right away, but by the time I was 13, they were sharing their drugs with me.

KING: Were you addicted at 11?

PHILLIPS: No, no, sir.

KING: When were you addicted?

PHILLIPS: Well, that's interesting, because cocaine isn't physically addicting. It's more of a psychological addiction.

KING: The body doesn't need it.

PHILLIPS: That's right, but your brain believes, your emotions believe that you can't function without it. I became addicted to pain killers about three years ago for a severe pain condition that miraculously disappeared and no longer exists. I believe the mind can trick the body in order to justify drug use. And I think that's what happened to me. And I think we're seeing so much of that now in the press with the prescribing practices of so many doctors. And I was under that.

KING: Were you a drug user during the television show?

PHILLIPS: Yes, sir.

KING: Why didn't you write this book while your dad was alive?

PHILLIPS: I, first of all, wasn't ready to talk about it when my dad was alive. And you're only ready when you're ready.

KING: How were you able to work while taking cocaine?

PHILLIPS: Most of my drug career, if you will, was spent with a rampant cocaine habit. Cocaine users are constantly moving. They're not in a state of like, you know, that kind of high. It's not that at all. You're well, what's going on? How are you doing?

You want to talk, you want to do, you want to clean, you want to do this. And so when you -- when -- that -- that speaks to my memory, because cocaine won't necessarily cloud your memory, but certainly lots of other drugs will.

I became a -- I became addicted to pain pills about three years ago and heroin about two-and-a-half years ago.

KING: How did you lick it?

PHILLIPS: Well, they may have stepped in -- my friends -- and I was arrested at LAX for possession. And I have since publicly thanked the Los Angeles Police Department for saving my life.

KING: It happened during, what, a security exam?

PHILLIPS: That's right. I was on my way to New York to do a reunion of the -- the "One Day At A Time" on the "Rachel Ray Show." And then my -- one of my sisters put me directly into a Narcanon in Louisiana, which is a program in Louisiana which is a very, very amazing drug rehab where I spent three-and-a-half months. And now I'm on 18 months informal probation. I'll be at a year on Halloween and then I'll have six months more to go and my record will be expunged.

KING: If you go back, what happens to you?

PHILLIPS: I will die. I guarantee it.

KING: What happens to you criminally?

PHILLIPS: I will go to jail and have my -- have my Constitutional rights stripped from me for the rest of my life.

KING: More right after this.

Don't go away.


KING: Did you ever think, Mackenzie, how much money you've spent on drugs? Did you ever run an estimate in your head?

PHILLIPS: It's funny you should say that, though, because my father and I were on the cover of "People" magazine when he was arrested for trafficking in narcotics. He was facing 45 years in prison and he asked me to help him. And it said "John and Mackenzie Phillips' Drug Habit" and that they spend over a million dollars a year. I don't where they got that number.

I'm sure I've spent -- I mean it's not just the drugs. It's the lifestyle. It's the --

KING: Did you sleep around a lot?

PHILLIPS: No, sir.


PHILLIPS: No, sir.

KING: Why not? I thought that's part of the lifestyle, too, with drugs?

PHILLIPS: Contrary to what people may be thinking about me right now, I held that very close for a very long time. I'm a -- I'm a -- I was a good wife. I'm a very good daughter.

KING: Married now?

PHILLIPS: No, I'm single now. KING: How many children, one?

PHILLIPS: I have one son, Shane.

KING: You ever overdose?

PHILLIPS: Yes, sir.

KING: What happened then?

PHILLIPS: I -- I mean since we're just going off the wall here, I woke up on the floor with a table on top of me and my dog licking me, trying to wake me up. I -- I've overdosed several times. I'm really lucky to be alive. And I -- I want to make a point here, that my story doesn't say to people who are out there using drugs at this moment, go out and use all the drugs you want -- or any kids who might be watching, because one day you'll be able to get clean.

The truth is that -- that most people like me, most of us die. Most of us either end up in a jail or in an institution or dead. And so if this is anything, I would call it a cautionary tale.

KING: Have you used alcohol?

PHILLIPS: In my life?


KING: Well, was alcohol a part of this scene or not?

PHILLIPS: No. I never really was a -- an alcohol -- I mean, you know, it's really hard to separate alcoholism and drug addiction, but I don't believe that I -- I have that -- that thing.

KING: Didn't "One Day At A Time" fire you?


KING: They took you back?

PHILLIPS: Yes, sir.

KING: How did you get back if they knew you had this -- this scene?

How could they rely on you?

PHILLIPS: They put their faith in me and I sorely disappointed them. KING: Do you miss it?

PHILLIPS: I missed it so much.

KING: How did they write you out of the script?

PHILLIPS: I ran away and left my children. KING: That's the way they wrote it in, in a comedy?


KING: Well, that had to be tough for you to take.

PHILLIPS: It was really hard. Valerie came to surprise me on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." She never knew any of this. And I've seen you interview Valerie and she's a lovely woman.

KING: Yes.

PHILLIPS: And she -- her support has just meant a great deal to me.

KING: There is an irony. One of your early acting jobs was the 1973 TV movie "Go Ask Alice," about a teenaged girl who gets caught up in drugs and sex.

PHILLIPS: Yes, I played the baby hooker in the park. That was the name of my character, Baby Hooker.

KING: You also write that you abused drugs while pregnant with Shane.


KING: Didn't you realize the risk?

PHILLIPS: I've got to tell you that addiction isn't about realizing the risks. Consequences mean nothing when you're in that world. You don't know how to stop. You don't know where to go. You just think I am so screwed on a daily basis and keep doing what you know because that's all you know.

KING: How old are you?

PHILLIPS: I am 49 years old. I'll be 50 November 10th.

KING: Where are you now in life?

I mean what -- are you an actress?

Are you working?

PHILLIPS: I just finished a small independent film called "Peach, Plum, Pear." You know, I -- you know, look -- look, this book has put me at a great personal risk, in a way. I mean this isn't the kind -- this is not a resume builder. This isn't the kind of thing that's going to get me a series. You know, that's not my purpose here. That's not my goal --

KING: No, but it will financially secure you.

PHILLIPS: That remains to be seen.

KING: Well, it was obviously going to be a best-seller, don't you think?

In fact, there might be some people watching saying, you know, she's concocting this --

PHILLIPS: That's their --

KING: You know that, don't you?

PHILLIPS: I understand that. I understand that. This is a very difficult story to hear.

KING: You even rehabbed with your dad, right?

PHILLIPS: Yes, sir, I did.

KING: Don't keep saying sir.

PHILLIPS: I'm so sorry. I have such respect for you, it's very difficult for me.

KING: I'm just Larry.


KING: What was that like, to go in rehab with your father?

PHILLIPS: You know, it was really weird because my dad was like -- I said what do you mean you're putting me in rehab, you should be in rehab, too. You have to come in. So then he had me pee in a cup for him because I was clean, and hide it in the woods on the grounds of the rehab. And he'd got out there and sneak it and put it in as his urine, because he had drugs hidden all in the woods.

My dad was such a trip. I've got to tell you, though, he was the most charming man -- actually, I'm sorry. I almost said he could charm the pants off of you. I'm sorry. That's really not funny.

KING: How old was he when he died?

PHILLIPS: He was almost 65 years old.

KING: What did he die of?

PHILLIPS: He basically died of -- of a lifetime of alcoholism and addiction.

KING: She mentioned her costar. Here was -- hear what Valerie Bertinelli had to say.

And we'll be back in 60 seconds.


KING: We're back.

The book is "High On Arrival," available everywhere now. As you know, Valerie Bertinelli played Mackenzie's younger sister on "One Day At A Time." She shared some of her painful secrets in a memoir published last year. She was a guest on this show in February of 2008, about six months before Mackenzie's drug bust at LAX.

And here's what she had to say about Mackenzie.


KING: Tell me about Mackenzie Phillips, your costar. You're seen as the wild child, but she --

VALERIE BERTINELLI, ACTRESS: She -- yeah, she was really given a -- an unfair rap, as far as I'm concerned. She was going through a lot of stuff but in front of, you know, a lot of people that really was her fault -- were not -- her problems were deeper and -- but she's an amazing woman. And she --

KING: You did drugs with her, though.

BERTINELLI: Yes. Yes. But she's the one that got caught doing it. And I had a lot of guilt about that, too, that, you know, here it is, I'm doing it with her and, you know, she's the one being fired.

KING: What's your relationship with her now?

BERTINELLI: When we see each other, it's like we -- you know, we just saw each other last week, but we don't see each other a lot. She's got her life, I have mine. The same with everybody. I mean I run into them. We all go to basically the same hair salon that we've been going to for 30 years. So we run into each other once in a while.


KING: When we come back, Dr. Drew Pinsky will join us. He's been working with Mackenzie on "Celebrity Rehab." He'll tell us if he thanks Mackenzie will stay sober, next.



KING: We're back.

Mackenzie Phillips is here with us in New York. Her book is "High on Arrival."

Joining us in Los Angeles, our friend, Dr. Drew Pinsky, the host of VH1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," addiction and recovery expert and author of a great book, "The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing A Member."

Mackenzie, by the way, is a cast member for the upcoming season of "Celebrity Rehab".

What's your overview of this story, Dr. Drew?

DREW PINSKY, HOST, "CELEBRITY REHAB," ADDICTION EXPERT: Well, Larry, two things. You asked before the break whether Mackenzie would stay sober. And you know this is a cunning, treacherous disease. Mackenzie will tell you herself, she has a bad addiction. If the GJM story taught us nothing but how -- how cunning this thing can be. It can take the most sober people and kill them readily. I know Mac has to struggle with this on a daily basis.

I believe she's sober. I know she's rigorously honest. I have ever reason to believe everything she's saying is, in fact, as rigorously honest as she can be. I've known her to be that.

We've treated her. She did very well in treatment, in fact, so well that some of the patients actually kind of mistreated her for being sort of too good of a student.

But this story in and of itself is not unusual in the sense that if patients have bad enough addiction that they need to see me, there's almost always some story of boundary violation in the family system, abuse, neglect and, often, sexual abuse. It's exceedingly common.


PINSKY: And so for me, I really commend Mackenzie for opening up this conversation, because this is a common problem in families today in this country.

KING: Is there any down side to writing a book wherein you admit incest?

PINSKY: Well the down side, really, is other family members. And Mackenzie has talked about this already. She's very fearful that this could hurt other people and other family members. But this is her story. This is her life and she needs to tell it.

And yet I think it's clear from talking to her, isn't it, how -- how sincere she is about this. And it's not as though she's conflicted about what this is doing. This is -- for me, this is her making her story her own.

KING: Now, Mackenzie, you write in the book about Dr. Feel Goods and Rock Docs -- doctors who enable you and other celebrities in drug abuse.

What are your thoughts about this?

PHILLIPS: You know, I think that -- that this is really starting to come to the fore here with Michael Jackson and the new things about Anna Nicole. I know that -- that I was told that I would probably end up in a wheelchair and that I would be on opiates for the rest of my life.

I was diagnosed with lupus, carpal tunnel and brain vasculitis. I lived in an agonizingly painful world. I walked with a cane.

And all it took for me was to -- to get clean and get honest with myself and I had no physical pain anymore.

KING: Dr. Drew, do you believe there are lots of victims of incest?

PINSKY: Oh, there's just simply no doubt that there are. I mean, the -- the data -- it's -- it's really hard to collect, but it goes from as low as five percent to as high as 30 percent.

KING: Come on.

PINSKY: I mean there's data that suggests --

KING: Oh, come on.

PINSKY: -- this is unfortunate -- yes, I agree with you. I think that data is outrageous, too. But -- but the fact is it is a relatively common. And I can only tell you, again, I'll repeat what I said, which is if you have a bad enough addiction that you need to see me, these kinds of trauma are almost, without exception, there.

PHILLIPS: And, Drew, what I've found is that so many people who have lived through something like this end up like a person like me. You end up trying to medicate this pain and this shame by -- I mean, I know people cut themselves. They take drugs.


PHILLIPS: They behave inappropriately. These things -- sexually inappropriately. These things happened. And this is -- this is what you --

PINSKY: Absolutely. Sexual addiction -- sexual addiction is becoming increasingly common now. Cutting, which is increasingly common. Eating disorders are very common. They're often the concomitants associated with this kind of a condition. And that, of course, it is the inciting rocket fuel for people with a genetic history of addiction.

KING: All right --


PINSKY: It really brings out that addiction.

KING: Dr. Drew, what does incest do to its victim?

PINSKY: Well, the way I think of it is it really shatters them internally, because, on one hand, this is dad. This is somebody you actually love. And this is what Mackenzie speaks about so clearly. This is how I -- how you can know she's really on in her sobriety, because she doesn't say I hate him, or doesn't idealize him as somebody who knew what was good for her. She has these very, very conflicted feelings. And it's -- it really ruptures her internally. And she keeps saying it, I'm screwed, I'm screwed; there's something wrong with me and I have parts of myself walled off from other parts.

How do I bring this all together?

And, indeed, you never can, but you have to speak about all the different nuanced feelings honestly.

KING: What's the idea, Mackenzie, of the Feel No Evil Monkey?

PHILLIPS: My mother went to a school called The Club of the Three Wise Monkeys. And my grandmother, my father's mother, had a gold charm for her made with the speak no, see no, hear no evil monkeys. And I was fascinated by that charm. I'd sit in my mother's lap and play with it all the time.

And I became fascinated with the concept of speak no, see no, hear no evil. And -- and the actual depiction of three wise monkeys. And I began collecting it over the years. And I kind of figured that I might be the -- the fourth monkey, the feel no evil monkey.

KING: Yes.

We'll ask Mackenzie before she leaves us and say good night to Dr. Drew. He'll be back in a minute. We'll ask her to read something from the book.

We'll be right back.


KING: Our remaining moments with Mackenzie Phillips and in Los Angeles, Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Mackenzie will read a little from her memoir.

PHILLIPS: "It was, as I've said, a hard decision to reveal the sordid side of my relationship with my father -- father, but these are the 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.

"That moment I had in the hospital at my father's deathbed, the moment when I forgave him, was one of the most important moments of my life. Although I went on to relapse, I firmly believe that if I hadn't had that opportunity, I might not have made it.

"Fathers die, usually before their children. It can be hard to forgive because along with sexual abuse come other abuses -- physical, emotional. Sometimes stuff can't be forgiven. "But what I've found was that without forgiveness, you end up in the same cage you were in when you were suffering the abuse. I did not forgive my father for his benefit, although I know it brought him comfort. I did it because it was genuine. But I also did it because he was dying and if we had never spoken of it again, it would have been almost impossible for me to put it to rest.

"That is what I want to say to those who relate to my experience. Forgiveness is not to give the other person peace. Forgiveness is for you. Take that opportunity."

KING: Dr. Drew, what does she have to be careful about?

PINSKY: She has to be careful about doing drugs.


PINSKY: She has --


PINSKY: Every day of her life she --


PINSKY: Well, that if sobriety loses its priority and the work that she does on a daily basis starts to slip away and other things take -- take her attention, she will use. I mean she'll -- Mackenzie, you've got a bad addiction, right?

PHILLIPS: I have it bad, Dr. Drew. But I mean the fascinating thing is that I don't wake up every day thinking how am I going to get through the day without getting high, which has really been a gift for me.

PINSKY: Well, that's -- that's wonderful, which is -- which is nice. But you have to still practice the sobriety and as long as that's happening and the rigorous honesty, these things that you do and talk about, there's no doubt in my mind you'll stay sober.


KING: During this period, doctor, could she work in a TV series?

PINSKY: If she wanted to. There's no reason not. There's absolutely no reason why not.

KING: Would you hire her if you were doing one?


PHILLIPS: Oh, Drew, you're so sweet.

KING: Because the scars have to remain from the incest. Say this is -- forget the drugs. PINSKY: Well, but, Larry, you've got to understand something. I mean this is what "The Mirror Effect" was about, the book I wrote, was that celebrities and people that we watch in the media very frequently have these kinds of histories. I can't tell you how frequently I've closed the door and talked to a patient who's a celebrity and you hear these amazing histories of trauma.

And when people have, you know, personal difficulties and behavioral problems, it's usually these kinds of -- not specifically this story, but these kinds of traumas that -- that are in people's past. And Mackenzie has it well in hand in terms of her treatment.

PHILLIPS: But it doesn't make you broken. It doesn't make it so that you can't go on and be -- once you deal with honestly and realistically what you've been through, it doesn't mean that you can't be counted on or you can't be well enough to be a part of the world.

KING: Do you consider yourself now someone who has beaten it or are you an addict in withdrawal?

PHILLIPS: I don't feel as though I'm an addict in withdrawal.

PINSKY: In recovery.

KING: Or recovery?

PHILLIPS: Well, yes, of course I'm a person in recovery. I mean, the -- you know, you -- I don't think you can ever really completely beat it. I don't think that anyone who has any experience with addiction and recovery will tell you exactly that. I know Drew will say that.

It's -- it's a daily -- it's a daily thing.

KING: Is she a good patient, Drew?

PINSKY: It's a chronic illness that requires daily treatment.

She was great, I tell you, absolutely.

But let me reiterate what Mackenzie said. An addiction is more like diabetes than pneumonia. It's a chronic, lifelong condition that requires daily management. And just like taking insulin everyday and controlling your blood sugar, if you do the treatment, the treatment works. If you don't do the treatment, if you're a diabetic, your blood sugar goes out of control. If you're an addict, you use.

KING: Let's hope the public understands it, as well.

Thank you so much, Mackenzie.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

KING: Thank you, Dr. Drew.

PHILLIPS: Thank you, Drew. PINSKY: Thank you, Larry.

Thank you, Mac.

KING: The book is "High On Anxiety." Mackenzie --

PHILLIPS: "High On Arrival" not anxiety.


PHILLIPS: High anxiety.

KING: That was a good movie.

PHILLIPS: Ooh, "High Anxiety."

KING: Anxiety, Mel Brooks. What a good way to end it, on a little laugh.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

KING: "High On Arrival," Mackenzie Phillips.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" right now.