Busy Philipps asked The Pope for forgiveness after her abortion


When Busy Philipps first announced she’d written a memoir, I was skeptical that should would have much to say in it. I was wrong. Unfortunately, much of what has come out of This Will Only Hurt a Little so far has been gutting to read. Busy shared the story of her sexual assault at the age of 14 and being knocked to the ground by James Franco when she was 20. In the latest except, Busy discusses getting an abortion when she was 15 despite being harangued by her boyfriend’s mother not to. But Busy also said she found some peace when she asked Pope John Paul II for forgiveness and he gave it to her.

In “This Will Only Hurt a Little,” Philipps writes that after becoming pregnant with her first serious boyfriend’s child, his mother got involved, telling her, “You’re being selfish . . . You’re going to murder a baby.”

Philipps says her parents found out from her diary and her mother stood up for her.
“My mother is who you want in your corner,” she writes, saying she “just supported and loved me.”

After the procedure, Philipps recalls, she went on a trip with her school to the Vatican, when Pope John Paul II spoke to her in Italian and made the sign of the cross.

“I never told this story publicly . . . I haven’t even told people I’m very close with,” she says. “It doesn’t work for me without getting the absolution I needed. And from the only person in the world who could give it to me: the Pope in Rome.”

The date, she writes, “was my due date.”

[From Page Six]

This is such a deeply personal experience. I assume from this story that Busy is Catholic and that is why she felt the Pope was the only person who could absolve her. If that’s the case, I’m happy she had that resolution as it must have brought her some peace. I don’t think an abortion is an easy decision at any age, but I can’t imagine what it must have been like trying to decide what to do at 15 with your boyfriend’s mother accusing you of murder. Thank goodness her mother was in her corner as was, I guess, the Pope. That fact that she was granted absolution on her due date pings my heart the most.

I am a fan of Busy’s but like many others, I got a bit oversaturated with her last year. Learning how much she’s survived and at such a young age, though, I think her ‘live out loud’ personality may be a coping mechanism. I’m happy she is finally able to talk about these things that she’s kept bottled up. This Will Only Hurt a Little will be released next Tuesday and her talk show, Busy Tonight, will air on E! on the 28th.



I still covet this suit!

Photo credit: WENN Photos

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54 Responses to “Busy Philipps asked The Pope for forgiveness after her abortion”

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  1. TaniaOG says:

    Sorry but that “man”–the guy who hasn’t done nearly enough to protect the little children that ARE here, being abused by HIS priests. Yeah no, he doesn’t need to absolve anything. Not to mention he said the other day that abortion was the equivalent of hiring a hitman. Nope nope nope.

    • Laura says:

      THANK you.

      This. All of this. If they cared about kids in the world as much as they do zygotes in the womb, the world would be a much better place.

    • Mgsota says:

      Well, it’s something that comforted her…so there is that.

    • Cay says:

      Exactly. Thanks for stating that.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Different Pope

      • ByTheSea says:

        Any pope, really. All of them covered for the sins of the priests against existing children. They covered and covered until it could no longer be covered.

    • JeanGrey says:

      Wrong pope. She was talking about John Paul the 2nd who died years ago. The current Pope is Francis.

      Either way, it’s something that she needed spiritually and it comforted her. I’m not gonna disparage her for it.

      • gemcat says:

        right JG..I mean how and why are people offended by this? It was her experience and hers alone. Interestingly I dreamt that my unborn child was blessed by John Paul II when I visited the Vatican in 2004, and I am not Catholic *nor Christian* whatsoever…still I was all ‘oh that’s sweet, I’ll totally take it’ even though it’s just a dream, ha! I mean blessings, just as forgiveness, come from a good place. And sure you can debate Catholicism till the cows come home, but this story was positive for her so why not just see it as that?

    • Mina says:

      You really don’t know much about how the Catholic Church works, do you? I do understand your sentiment though, but you have to understand that for someone at that age and with that faith to have that weight lifted of her shoulders, it meant a lot. Can you respect that?

  2. SJhere says:

    The Pope has sold out.
    The Catholic Church is and has been losing parishioners in huge numbers for decades.
    I’m a fallen away Catholic myself. I think the only place they are still holding their parishioners is 3rd world countries.

    I have zero want or need to know Busy Phillips private life information.
    Whatever she said to any priest/counselor is private.
    Can no one keep their private life private anymore?

    • Original Jenns says:

      People can keep whatever they want private. But if others want to share, and it helps others with similar personal situations know they are not alone, I’m all for it.

      I’m a lapsed Catholic and have many issues with the Church as well as other organized religions. However, I absolutely understand what she means when she said she received some peace from that. It’s weird but I found peace in her story. So there’s that.

    • Linda says:

      You do realize that the term “3rd world countries “ is offensive right?

      • Laura says:

        Third World. The nonaligned nations — which are often developing nations — of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. They are in a “third” group of nations because they were allied neither with the United States nor with the former Soviet Union.

    • ms says:

      Because when you talk about things that are attached to shame and stigma, you reduce the shame and stigma for everyone, not just yourself.

  3. Marianne says:

    I’m very glad she sought and received absolution. It is now possible for priests in parishes to provide it. I really enjoy Busy and this makes me curious about her book, something I would likely never have otherwise gone out of my way to read. It sounds like it is very heartfelt.

  4. Betsy says:

    I think this is one of the most toxic facets of anti choicism. Women feeling terrible guilt over their decisions, even though their decision was clearly the correct one for them.

    • Maum says:

      Interesting that men fully participate in making those babies and yet women are always the ones left dealing with the emotional and physical consequences.

      Why is it ‘wrong’ for a woman to terminate a pregnancy but it’s not for the men involved?

      • BengalCat😻 says:

        I remind myself of that when I think about my abortion 20+ years ago. It was HIS choice too (although he didn’t help out at all). I was lucky to have a support system of women who are still in my life today. I’ve never felt shame over my choice but feel terrible for women who do.
        I like Busy a lot. I’m glad she was able to find peace.

    • Jess says:

      Yep. I hate that she felt the need to be forgiven. There’s nothing wrong with making a choice about your own life and future, absolutely nothing.

    • Original T.C. says:

      Exactly, what absolution does one need for making a medical decision? Her choosing not to have a baby doesn’t stop the world from getting having babies birthed by other women. I really wish science would evolve where men can have uteruses and be able to give birth. Let’s see how scared getting an abortio would be then. I mean do men seek absolution for cheating on their wives, abandoning their children?

      How about the Catholicchurch seek absolution from God for allowing children to be raped??

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree. I’ve never been in that situation myself, but know some women who have had terrible guilt over it, and others who did not.
      I’m glad she made the best choice for herself and dealt with the personal repercussions as best suited her.

    • Americano says:

      She’s allowed to feel how she wants about her abortion. People can feel sad, mad, guilty, relieved, happy, etc. Who are we to say? Pro choice doesn’t mean we need all women to behave or feel a specific way after choosing to have the abortion. Perhaps it was the correct decision for her at the time, but it doesn’t mean she can’t be sad or guilty about it.

      • Jess says:

        Oh I agree with you Americano, it just makes me sad she felt the need to be forgiven. That probably came from her boyfriends mother telling her she’s a murderer, and the millions of other people who constantly say the same. I didn’t mean to imply she shouldn’t be allowed to feel any certain way, but sad that she did.

    • Mina says:

      I understand what you mean, but if we don’t feel guilty over things that conflict with our morals, then we are psychopaths. Maybe to you there’s nothing to feel guilty about, but people have the right to not be so certain about something as fundamental and final as an abortion. And it’s about their personal experience, not every other woman’s.

  5. Anatha. A says:

    Are we talking about the same pope that publicly said that “abortion is like hiring a hitman to solve a problem” just earlier this week?

    • Lightpurple says:

      Different Pope. It says which Pope it was right there in the story and he has been dead for 13 years

      • Anatha. A says:

        Ah sorry, must have missed that while reading the article. Thank you.

      • Carrie says:

        Personally I didn’t notice so thanks for clarifying. I’m not catholic and the only thing I care about re: the Popes, is how many more until the end times. There’s a number… I can’t remember it tho. Men wrote the bible anyway so who really knows.

        I’ll be sipping coffee and reading as the world ends. That’s fine.
        Anyway, I’m happy Busy is doing well and got lots of support through all her life. It’s crucial and many girls don’t have that. And if the pope helped her personally, well ok then. Whatever works.

      • CairinaCat says:

        If you want to fall down that rabbit hole, it actually looks like the current pope is the last one 😀

  6. Rapunzel says:

    Pregnancy is a potentially life ending condition. People forget this. Nobody should be forced to endure it, and nobody should be told how to treat it. It’s a medical decision. Why people put the unborn baby above the living mother is beyond me….it’s absolutely misogynistic.

  7. jay says:

    This story makes me happy and sad. Happy for her, of course, to be forgiven and make sense of the trauma of her experience. At the same time, I can’t help but feel sad for the millions of people who carry the shame of their “sins” their whole lives because they will never have an audience with the Pope. Normal people just don’t get that kind of access, which they crave and need just as strongly as her.

    It hurts my heart a bit when she says he was the only one in the world who could forgive her; how many people feel this way and can never be free? She can only speak to her own experience, and it’s not her job to take care of others…I guess I was hoping for something like “I know not everybody has the resources to do this” or “the most important thing is finding a support system”. What she describes is an impossible standard of forgiveness. Idk. Nothing against her.

    • perplexed says:

      I think she met the Pope when she was 15. So, I don’t think she met him when he was a celebrity. Nonetheless, I understand your overall point.

    • ms says:

      She didn’t meet him because she was famous. She was on a school trip.

  8. Jenni says:

    This story is one big eye roll. Asking forgiveness from a man who protects pedophiles. Pass.

  9. Harryg says:

    Yeah we should all ask the old guy how to live our lives and apologize for this and that all the time.
    I’m so sick of all religions.

  10. Electric Tuba says:

    She’s toxic, the church is toxic. Her message is toxic and foolish. The things you do to promote your “brand” in Hollywood are disturbing.

    • MissKittles says:

      She’s toxic? How so?

    • Nancy says:

      I think she truly feels bad about the abortion. But to use as a promo for her memoir and E tv show is a bit overboard. Try the confessional, or get on your knees if you’re a Christian and beg for forgiveness if you feel so guilty. I just had memories of that other women talking about her kid’s pin worms. They will stop at nothing to get a headline.

  11. Ladykeller says:

    I’m not a big fan of the culture of oversharing. But I’m glad she found peace, and I’m glad that she is brave enough to talk about a subject that is so stigmatized. I hope there are women out there who read this and find their own peace.

    Abortion is so complicated and nothing about it is good but in my mind it is a necessary evil. We need to talk about it. We need to address the factors that drive women to have them. And most of all we women need to learn to forgive ourselves.

    • MarDelSur says:

      I’m sorry but there are definitely things about abortion that are good. Like the fact that, should an unplanned pregnancy happen, you’re not automatically forced into carrying full-term, into childbirth, and into motherhood. I would call all those very good things indeed.

      Not all of us are religious, not all of us think life begins at conception, and not all of us feel guilty about feeling this way. The narrative that abortion is always a difficult choice laden with rivers of sadness is false. I know several women who felt nothing but relief.

  12. Jenni says:

    I was at Mass at a Catholics Church a few weeks ago & loudly scoffed a few times at how time-deaf the church has become. The priest spoke about how hard it is to be a priest these days (seriously?), how hard it is to be a woman (due to the lack of honorable men!), & how hard it is for women who have had an abortion because they feel so guilty… I had an abortion in college & I feel no guilt, I was in no place to support a child financially & emotionally, & I made the right decision for myself.
    I would be far more impressed if the church took ownership for its mistakes & moved into the 21st century & showed concern for children outside the womb. Right now it feels so archaic & backwards, I told my husband I have no intention of going back, I used to be able to ignore the backwards teachings, but now it feels complicit.

  13. Pandy says:

    I don’t think she “asked” the Pope for forgiveness. These types of trips, the Pope comes out and blesses all of the kids, not just walking up to individuals and blessing only them. It was a general blessing that made her feel she was absolved.

  14. Christo says:

    Sick of this attention wh-re. Her petulant face reminds of what the worst possible qualities of Natalie Maines (of the Dixie Chicks) and Reese Witherspoon would look like if they somehow fell into my Vitamix. She is soooooo thirsty. First, it was calling out body shamers on her instagram account months ago, sexual assault a few weeks ago, being forgiven for abortion this week. What else? Is there an ice bucket-worthy challenge that she will enlighten us with tomorrow? Have all of her acting opportunities dried up or is she auditioning to become the next “bare-it-all….can’t you relate to me?” version of Chrissy Tiegan? I can’t wait for her to show her stretch marks and calloused feet so she she can seem “down to earth” and “chill” with the masses.

    • Ms. Turtle says:

      She’s actually been pretty upfront about how her acting opportunities haven’t been what she’d like them to be and has made more money from instagram than acting lately. I get why you don’t like her, but she’s pretty open on instagram. She’s an actress who obvioulsy wants to act, likes the limelight. But she also keeps it pretty real and connects with her viewers.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      It’s one thing to find someone thirsty, but someone talking about abuse doesn’t really belong on a list of ‘reasons why this person is an attention-whore’.

  15. Jared says:

    I think the Pope should start an online absolution program. Maybe like an iPhone App or something? Travelling all the way to the Vatican seems like a lot of trouble? I don’t mean to minimize her pain and the resolution she needed, but it’s sad that she felt she needed the ‘ok’ from some old white bigot in order to move on. Just for the record, I’m not anti-Catholic, I despise all religions equally.

  16. skipper says:

    I see a lot of commentators here getting very upset about Busy’s oversharing. Here’s the thing: She wrote and is promoting a memoir. I would suggest just skipping over any articles posted about her in the near future to avoid being so upset about what she has to say.

  17. Mina says:

    This story isn’t about whether abortion is right or not. It’s about one woman’s personal experience with her own sentiments and beliefs and how she dealt with a traumatic experience. There’s no need to start discussing whether what she felt was “right” (because it was TO HER) or what you may or may not think about the institutions of Catholicism.

    • skipper says:


    • otaku fairy... says:

      Every woman has a right to her feelings about her own abortion- whether their feelings are like hers, Martha Plimpton’s, or somewhere in between. But she also opened up a conversation about the Catholic church, religion, and some of the outside pressures and messages women face when it comes to their choices with their bodies in the way she chose to share her story, so of course people are going to share their takes on religion and patriarchy. People have the right to criticize religion.

  18. Beer&Crumpets says:

    I think it sucks that anyone would feel like they need absolution for terminating a pregnancy. I understand that there can be a lot of shit wrapped up in making that decision, and I think that fact pretty much just blows. Nobody should feel guilty about getting their appendix out, or their tonsils or their gallbladder- and nobody should have to feel bad about having an abortion. LOTS of people act shitty every day with impunity and totally shamelessly- that’s way worse than terminating a pregnancy. I’d rather a person have 35 abortions than saddle herself with one kid she doesn’t want.

    That being said, we all gotta do what we gotta do to get by, and if Busy Phillips felt better after being absolved by the Pope then so be it. It doesn’t legitimize the Pope or the Catholic church, and I dont think it has any bearing on any other issues. I think everyone can agree that the Catholic Church’s handling of their pedophile priests is problematic- to say the *very* least. But I’m not going to criticize someone for finding a little bit of peace, whatever they find it. Life is hard enough, take your comfort where you find it.