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Mackenzie Phillips: ‘Dad didn’t mean to hurt me’

The troubled star tells all about her decade-long sexual relationship with her dad in new memoir High On Arrival, describing how a sexual assault on the eve of her wedding to Jeff Sessler in 1979 turned into a perverse consensual act, which ended when she became pregnant.

The former child star appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s TV talk show on Wednesday (23Sep09) to open up further about the incestuous affair, but now she’s keen to make sure her shocking revelations don’t taint her dad’s musical legacy.

She tells America’s Today Show, “My father was not a bad man, he was a very sick man. If anybody out there can separate his body of work from his personal demons, I think that would be the honourable thing to do.

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“He did not set out to hurt me, he did the best with what he had. He was a damaged guy.”

And she is keen to set the record straight about reports their relationship was consensual for a decade.

She says, “People say for 10 years I had this relationship, but, at 18, I was molested, then maybe three years later, I started waking up with my pants around my ankles, and then maybe two years later, it became consensual, so to call it a 10-year affair or a 10-year relationship is not correct.

“This is not something that happens like that (immediately); this is a warped event that occurred over time and what it started out as, which was an act of molestation, and what it became are two entirely different things.

“I had no accountability for the initial event. I believe I have some accountability for what went down afterwards, although I believe that incest of any kind is a betrayal; it’s an abuse of power, so to characterise it as an incestuous 10-year affair is not well informed.”

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