When Parker was two years old, MacLaine sent the tot to live with her businessman father Steve in Japan – and the 56 year old claims she hardly ever saw her mother.
During an interview on U.S. news show 20/20, she says, “She was very absent. I was very lonely – very lonely. Definitely. And I still struggle with abandonment issues and loneliness.”
Parker alleges she returned home from boarding school one Christmas to find an empty house, and recalls, “I laugh now. But I have to say, at the time it was very scary and very painful. And I actually had a physical pain in my heart.”
In her later years, she asked the Downton Abbey star, 78, for $500 (£312.50) to buy a used car – but MacLaine insisted on loaning it to her with interest.
Parker adds, “My mother was, is, very old-school regarding money and tough love.”
She worked as a maid, waitress and stewardess in order to pay her university tuition fees and confesses it was always bittersweet when her mum’s films came on mid-flight.
She says, “I would look up, and the in-flight movie would be The Turning Point or another (MacLaine) movie. And it would be a moment that I would find that I could be with her. She was right there. And I would just yearn for her.”
Parker, who writes about their mother-daughter relationship in new memoir Lucky Me: My Life With – and Without – My Mom, Shirley MacLaine, last spoke to the icon in the summer of 2012 and admits she wants to patch up their relationship, adding, “I try to understand her. I find myself wanting to protect her so badly, because I so love her… And yet the pain is very deep. I would hope that she would own it and apologise. That would really, really be wonderful.”