Chynna Phillips on how she heard about her sister’s relationship with their dad

Chynna Phillips
Since “One Day at a Time” star Mackenzie Phillips dropped a bombshell revelation in her new memoir, “High on Arrival” about an incestuous, drug-addled sexual relationship with father John Phillips, there’s been a lot of suspicion about the timing of the announcement. Some are reluctant to believe it happened at all. One person who believes the twisted relationship happened is her half sister, Chynna Phillips. Chynna was approached for comment by US Magazine, and the former Wilson-Phillips singer confirmed that she knew about the incest.

In her new memoir High on Arrival, actress Mackenzie Phillips reveals how she had a 10-year affair with her father, musician John Phillips of the ’60s band the Mamas and the Papas.

And in the new issue of Us Weekly (on newsstands now), her half-sister Chynna Phillips of the hit 90s group Wilson Phillips shares her side of the sad story.

Chynna, 41, tells Us Weekly she remembers getting the call from Mackenzie, 49, in 1997 — 11 years after the affair had ended — while she was between flights at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

“She said, ‘I don’t know why, but I just really felt the need to call you and tell you something that I think you need to know,'” Chynna tells Us Weekly. “And she went on to tell me that she had had an incestuous relationship with our dad for about 10 years.”

When the affair began, John was married to his third wife, model Genevieve ­Waïte. Chynna’s reaction, naturally, was complete shock.

“Somebody could have dropped a piano on my head and I probably wouldn’t have felt it,” the singer tells Us Weekly. “But I knew it was true. I mean, who in their right mind would make such a claim if it wasn’t true?”

She says the news sent her into “a deep, deep sadness and depression for about 10 days. A part of me died when I found out.”

In her book, Mackenzie — who, in 2008, pleaded guilty to one count of felony cocaine possession and agreed to enter an 18-month drug deferment program — also claims she and her father did drugs together. (She even tells Oprah Winfrey in an interview Wednesday, “My father shot me up for the first time.”)

Chynna confirms to Us Weekly, “They were both doing drugs together.

“After long nights of heroin use, she’s claiming that she once woke up and that my father was on top of her having sex with her,” Chynna tells Us Weekly. “Was he actually raping her? I don’t know. Do I believe that they had an incestuous relationship and that it went on for 10 years? Yes.”

[From Us Weekly]

The article also goes on to say that Chynna was at first “disgusted” with her sister and distanced herself from McKenzie, but later realized that she needed to support her instead.

From various accounts I’ve read about both John and Michelle Phillips – Chynna’s mother and John’s second wife, whom he started dating when she was only 17 – there were an amazing amount of drugs being taken round the clock while Mackenzie and Chynna were growing up. John Phillips did admit before his death in his memoir, “Papa John,” that he did drugs with Mackenzie when she was just a teenager. Mackenzie has said before in interviews that her father was the first person to inject her with heroin- an addiction that derailed her promising acting career and has gotten her in trouble with the law. Whether the sex was consensual or not, this story is truly disturbing. I always thought this family was messed up – but few people knew the full extent of it.

A lot of people are still questioning why Mackenzie is coming out with this information now, after her father is no longer here to speak on it. I tend to think that’s exactly why she waited. I’m sure the entire family would have been rocked by this while John was alive. Maybe she is hoping she can help someone else who is going through this same thing, but is afraid to speak up. Statistically, incestuous relationships like this are a little more common than most people realize – and very, very wrong.

Chynna Phillips and her husband Billy Baldwin are shown on 9/23/07. Credit:

Chynna Phillips is shown in the header on 2/24/08. Credit: PRPhotos. She is shown below with husband of 14 years Billy Baldwin on 9/23/07. Credit:


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42 Responses to “Chynna Phillips on how she heard about her sister’s relationship with their dad”

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  1. Firestarter says:

    Well, there was never a doubt that Phillips was a creep.

    Any parent who does any drug with their children is disgraceful. It isn’t cool or liberal, it is sick! Kids are not your friends, they are your kids!

    I am so grateful that I grew up in a family of nerds, who not only didn’t do drugs, but didn’t drink as well (no, they aren’t religious freaks either). My mother, who grew up in the 1960’s was never into that culture. She is a control freak and said that the prospect of being out of control scared her and hence she avoided drugs completely.

    Me, on the other hand, I found out about drugs all on my own. Wish I hadn’t but live and learn.

  2. Ron says:

    What a nightmare. I am glad her sister is supporting her and not angry.

  3. Birdie says:

    Very very sad story, but it is nice that her sister is willing to support Mackenzie and corroborate on the story. Maybe now people will stop calling her a liar, or saying she came out with this story as an excuse for her drug addictions. Addiction is a disease people, and its a family disease. Everyone in the family suffers and everyone needs recovery and support. I can’t help but feel for Mackenzie as a little girl growing up in such a bewildering and dysfunctional environment. I hope she finds peace.

  4. mollyb says:

    Jezebel has an interesting article today about whether or not a sexual relationship between a parent and a child (even an adult child) can ever be considered truly “consensual”. I’m not sure if it is a question with a “correct” answer but it certainly is something to think about.

  5. The Domestic Goddess says:

    I would have far more respect for Mckenzie had she exposed this in a private group/function etc, to raise awareness and money for abused women/children. Why do these stars feel that by exposing this muck to the entire world, they will somehow be healed? Or profit? I don’t mean hide what happened, but I do mean be responsible and selective about where and whom you reveal information such as this to. I am sorry that she was exposed to the madness that was, but do I really need to hear about it from a wanna be again star? No.

  6. Dan says:

    I really feel for Mackenzie. How do you deal with any of that. God bless her.

  7. Tia C says:

    I don’t think Mackenzie Phillips is coming out with this now for any reason other than that she is ready to do so. It is a healthy move for her to let it out. I admire her bravery. She has had a most F’ed up life. For some reason I’ve always liked her. Maybe because she seems like a real person, working and living in the very un-real business of entertainment. Those who are uncomfortable with the subject matter might think about taking a look in the mirror at their own issues.

  8. DD says:

    regardless of her motives for coming out, it is such a horrid senseless thing to do to a son or daughter. She’s strong for still being alive today… a lot of people wouldn’t be able to survive that.

  9. Firestarter says:

    Who is uncomfortable with the subject? Yes, maybe she is ready to come out and discuss it, but does it have to be timed with a book to sell? Could she maybe have come out with this now and written the book later or pushed the book release to another time. Seems like she is taking advantage of the furor and scandal over this in order to profit.

    Yes, it is her story and if she wants to make money off of it, that is her business, but it would be nice, as Domestic Goddess said, if she had done this a little more low key, in front of people who are currently going through this or in a group to give awareness to the problem. Let’s hope her revelations DO help others and give others the strength to come forward and get help.

  10. barneslr says:

    This poor girl; your parents are supposed to protect you from the evils of the world, not visit them upon you.

    It’s amazing to me that she’s still alive. Maybe now that she’s finally talking about it she can get herself together and have a better life.

  11. barneslr says:

    “I would have far more respect for Mckenzie had she exposed this in a private group/function etc, to raise awareness and money for abused women/children.”

    Considering the hell she’s been through, do you really think it’s appropriate to judge how she decides to finally come out with this info? I mean just the fact that she is able to open up about something so horrible is amazing on it’s own. Criticizing the way she chose to do so is petty and mean. It might not be the best forum, but at least she’s doing it now and maybe can get some genuine help and improve her life now.

  12. Fallible Human says:

    I think it’s great she’s come out with the info regardless of the timing of a book sell. It is a terrible story but one that should be talked about. With all the people in this big world, there are bound to be others who’ve had similar experiences. We should applaud someone who has the guts to talk about it. Anyone who has been through what she has should be allowed to tell their story in their own way and time. If you can’t deal with it, don’t read it.

  13. nikki says:

    their dad was disturbing! they’re right to speak and i don’t believe it was consensual :incest is a rape

  14. N.D. says:

    With all respect and compassion to those who really were and are victims of sexual abuse I can not help but wonder if Mackenzie is really one of them. Judging by these quotes her sister is in the same boat as the rest of the world. She had no suspicion beforehand, she doesn’t say that she now remembers some facts that confirm this story, she only heard about it from her sister and her only argument pro is “no one in their right mind will make something like this up”. But Mackenzie is known junkie, how can we be sure about the extend of her sanity? I’d rather it was properly investigated by police before I’d start with “poor girl” canticle.

  15. Firestarter says:

    Actually, I plan to watch the Oprah interview in the next 45min. Should be very interesting to hear the entire story and hear why she is discussing it now, how she is doing and where she goes from here.

  16. wif says:

    N.D. I know two victims of incest (not a similar story to Phillips, neither case ever turned consentual) and I can tell you that the families had no idea at the time. And even after, when the molester has admitted to the family what he did, the family continues to persist in a “it-never-happened” state of being. The stakes in this kind of situation are just so high. It’s hard to see your loved one as a villain. So don’t think that just because no one else ever suspected, that that means it isn’t true.

  17. N.D. says:

    I didn’t say it isn’t true, how can I know? It’s just bothers me that all we have now is her words, nothing more. And as she seems to be seriously f*d up person in so many ways, her words can not be taken as truth without some proper investigation.

    BTW there is another thing that seems really weird to me – her sister says she found out in 1997, was shocked but believed her and what? Did nothing? Their father was alive back then, wasn’t he?

  18. Rosalee says:

    I know of a situation very similar to McKenzie Phillips’ story. Ugly, painful and a monstrous experience to visit upon a child. They never recover. Shame on those who believe she should have remained silent and shame on those who believe she made up a story just to sell books. McKenzie is a brave, courageous woman, I wish her peace.

  19. ! says:

    Birdie, stfu. Addiction is not a disease. I say that both as a person with a REAL disease and a person with former addiction issues.

  20. Harmony says:

    that is SO beyond distrubing. Chynna is very strong for being able to overcome such disgust and trauma to be there for her sister.

  21. tooey says:

    N.D. @ #17, “all we have now are her words”; that’s the power of every abuser, “no one will ever believe you”. That’s why so many victims keep the secret, the shame and the guilt.

  22. cassandra says:

    As a survivor of incest that started when I was 18 months old, I can tell you that frequently abusers tell victims that they are responsible for the abuse. Part of the reason I was abused is because earlier victims were convinced it was their own fault and failed to keep children away from the abuser. They spoke to an adult family member and were not believed.
    How do you know that Ms. Phillips hasn’t already shared and processed this information with a support group, or that she doesn’t work with other survivors?

  23. Alex Esparza says:

    Wow #19. You are pretty hostile. Why are you so angry about whether or not addiction is called a disease?

  24. N.D. says:

    2 tooey: I hear you and I understand. I really do. But people lying about being sexually or otherwise abused is not something unheard of. In this case there is strong motive for her to lie – money for the upcoming book – and very fortunate situation with her father now being dead and unable to clear himself. We can not possibly know who really is a victim there. Just because she came forward and said that’s her does not in my opinion give enough ground to make a judgment otherwise we wouldn’t need a police and courts. She wasn’t raised in a proper way (even without throwing incest in the mix) but that is although true about her siblings who managed to do rather well.

  25. Firestarter says:

    I watched the Oprah interview (first time I have watched Oprah in YEARS!), the sisters, both Bijou AND Chynna, are NOT happy with this coming out. Chynna, while it seems like,is in support, actually said that she was TOLD this by her sister. Does she believe it, well only because, as she put it, “No one in their right mind would lie like that!” But on Oprah, it was said that the family was very upset by this book and with Mackenzie talking about it. Her step-mother, John’s last wife, categorically denies that this happened and attributes this to Mackensie having a troubled past, etc.

    To be honest, I do hope that this woman is telling the truth, but we will never know for certain, as the other party is now dead. Oprah asked Mackensie if she would have come out with this had her father still been alive and she said I would like to think yes, but probably not. IMO, she seemed way too casual about the affair/incestuous relationship with her father, but then again, I am not sure how someone in that position would act. I felt that there was something off in the whole thing, but cannot say I do not believe her, but am not convinced it is truth either.

    Am I a bad person for being skeptical? Maybe, but I feel that allegations of that sort are so terrible and it would have been better had this come out while John was still alive. Even if he lied and said he was not guilty, at least we would have had both sides of a story.

    I do believe the drug stories, because others have verified those, but even Oprah said that there wold probably be people who called her a liar.

    Either way, very interesting interview.

    Valerie Bertinelli made an appearance and I thought it was very nice. She seems like a genuinely caring person.

  26. Firestarter says:

    Also, another bomb shell was dropped. She said that during the time she was with her son’s father and her own father, in sexual relationships with both, she became pregnant. Her father gave her money to have an abortion and that was when she stopped having sex with her father.

  27. Birdie says:

    @ #19

    I’m sorry to hear about your problems. You are not the only one who has suffered. I come from a family that has struggled with addiction, and yes it is a disease. It is a physical, emotional, and mental disease and if you let it, addiction can control your whole life. Addiction shows symptoms and it can kill you. Unlike some other diseases, addiction is with you for life. You can be in recovery and still have a relapse into old habits.

    It is also a family disease. My parents were both alcoholics and used to get into terrible abusive fights. I witnessed things as a kid that I should never have. Their disease was passed on to me, I was co-dependent, self-destructive, I was attracted to addicts who I thought I could “save” , and I had serious control issues, among all the other symptoms I displayed. The thing is these symptoms are evident across the board in family’s that have dealt with addiction. Symptoms of the disease and how it affects the family. I have spent years in program to find peace with myself and still sometimes the demons that haunted my childhood come back.

    I mean this in the nicest way possible: You should really consider going to some 12 step meetings/ entering therapy and get help for your obvious anger issues.

  28. Ellie says:

    This would not have been better if it had come out while her dad was alive. Mackenzie knew this kind of bombshell would rip apart her family and she probably didn’t want to disturb her father’s and step mother’s relationship. As you can see, her step mother is in denial about it. I don’t believe she is lying, you don’t mess around with this kind of stuff. And she obviously has spoken about it with family members if her sister is acknowledging she was told about it 10 years ago.

    Not to mention her father would probably have denied it strenuously, this was not something he ever wanted anyone finding out since he took it to the grave.

  29. N.D. says:

    “Mackenzie knew this kind of bombshell would rip apart her family”

    Why would it? She already told at least some of them over 10 years ago, when her father was alive and it didn’t seem to disturb their family like at all even so some believed her.

  30. Iggles says:

    For those who question her motives with coming out with this now — this is a bombshell story that completely changes the way you view John Philips. Given that this was his dirtiest secret he’d probably prefer not to deal with the fallout. Regardless, Mackenzie was the victim and acknowledging what happened empowers victims to overcome the pain and secret shame.

  31. Dirty Martini says:

    I believe it. I’m shocked and disturbed, but I believe it. If the man would shoot up his own daughter with heroin, then yes–he’d have sex with her too.

    And it is impossible for this to be consensual ever. It is rape. The father will always have a disproportionate allocation of power in the relatinship regardless of the age of the offspring.

    Utterly despicable.

  32. nj says:

    I believe her. Why the hell would she say all of that? That it happened over years and she sort if let it keep happening? If she just wanted salacious detail she could have left it at it happened once. John Phillips was a sick and immoral piece of filth and to those who knock Mackenzie-not fair, people. She never really had a chance. When you are raised in that manner, you really do not. Drug abuse, Writing a book, talk shows, revealing all the details- let her get it out. She can do what she wants. I will not stand in judgement of her. I had 2 loving parents and a stable home. I cannot and will not pass judgement on her. I only hope she finds peace.

  33. Taya says:

    I believe Mackenzie. If you are willing to shoot your child up with heroin, then you ar very willing to rape them. She is a victim, no matter the age in which it happened.

  34. Brandy M says:

    So that is whats wrong with bijou phillips?

  35. trichster says:

    Thought provoking thread on soo many levels.

    @ ND- so with you. Here’s the thing I didn’t see anyone else address– TEN YEARS!?! Ok incest/ rape … But this started in a drug induced haze- and then went on TEN YEARS in other word til she was almost 30? It sounds to me more like a massive “addiction” – she had screwed up (totally) ideas of what “love” was- someone “loved” her- he also had srugs for her– etc etc– and she chose to let it continue 10 years. Sure there’s all kinds of grossness and wrongness and illegal aspects with the adult/parent/child aspect BUT we are also talking about a woman who had the opportunity for a decade to pull away from it. There’s a lot more here going on- and probably a true “love” she had in return.

    @ Birdie. Simply stated. A beautiful and eloquent reply.

    @ ! I really understand how you feel. That’s me A LOT. To the point I sometimes feel like I HATE. Turns out I also have Lyme Disease… Crazy non-sequetor, but it might help to check. My anger was so intense it almost cost me my job, marriage and a lot more. Fuck!ng ticks…

    Hugs to you all.

  36. Misty_ says:

    Although I feel very guilty to say this, because I’m a woman and abuse is something very scary but possible for women of all ages (and I hate to judge people, but sometimes you just can’t help it), I’m somehow skeptical with Mackenzie. Maybe some things she said really happened, but I also think that she may be stretching the truth in some points to make the book she’s promoting more juicy.

    Let’s face it: Mackenzie hasn’t worked in years and she probably needs money. And we all know how much the average Joe loves to read about the tragedies in the lives of the “beautiful people” born with silver spoons in their mouths.

    Shit like “My mom killed my dad”, “I had sex with my dog” or “I slept with my brother” in the cover of tabloids sell and put people back on the map. Why would anyone bother to read Mackenzie’s memoir if it wasn’t for this kind of thing? It’s all very convenient. John is dead and the people who were close to him are either dead or just don’t care. Sorry if I’m saying is cruel, but I try to give some deeper thought to the things I hear instead of immediately believing in everything people tell me.

    In fact, Bill Robinson, in this amazing article of 2006 explains this uncomfortable phenomenon of the pop culture confession (and what Oprah has got to do with it) better than I do
    And you’ve got to consider that Mackenzie was a hardcore drug addict for her whole life. Her memory isn’t that reliable. Drugs mess up with the brain.

    I just want to make clear that I’m not, by any means, defending John, because although I didn’t know him personally, he had the reputation of being completely fucked up on drugs/alcohol and perverse with his “loved” ones. I’m just trying to point out that Mackenzie is hardly the most credible source in the world. Her motivation behind those “confessions” seems shady sometimes. People should think more about it, instead of jumping so quickly to conclusions.

  37. Ro says:

    What I found interesting is that she still doesn’t understand her father’s motives for starting her on drugs in the first place. It was obviously to promote inappropriate behavior. I think that shows she is still not dealing with it totally yet. I remember a long time ago when she used to tell this story about having sex with some celebrity when she was just a teenager and her father was in the other room.
    I don’t think I ever heard him deny it. She still sees him as her father so she is making excuses but if she just looks at him as a predator she will get the whole picture.

  38. NayNay says:

    I really hope that she didn’t lie about being raped by her father. That is a god awful thing, if it did happen, and even more awful if it didn’t happen. That is, to make up such a horrible thing like that.

  39. eternalcanadian says:

    Okay, first of all John Phillips had five children. Mackenzie, Chynna, Bijou, Jeffrey, and Tamerlane. How is it only Mackenzie is the one whacked out and claiming incest? He was also married four times. How is it Mackenzie didn’t tell her mum or stepmums what was going on? I could understand if this started when Mackenzie was 9, it would have been a power thing, and being only 9 she wouldn’t have known any better. But to claim this started when she was 19, an adult, with knowledge of right and wrong, she let her father shag her. There’s something really fishy and not quite right about the story. The guy is dead, he can’t confirm or deny. Look, incest is wrong, but when you’re 19 years old you are not exactly a helpless 9 year old child, and to let it go on for ten years until you are 30 years old, drugged up or not, it is really difficult to give Mackenzie credibility.

  40. Island Lady says:

    I believe Mackenzie. I can relate to her because I had a brother 10 yrs. older than me who introduced me to pot when I was 13 yrs. old and then had a very inapropriate conversations with me about his feelings for me. They were not brotherly! I was so innocent and I loved him because he was my brother. It was so confusing, I knew what he was saying was wrong but I thought he needed someone to be nice to him so he could get on the right track. Nothing physical ever happened but it was sexual and emotional abuse just the same, I can’t imagine what she has gone through and is still going through. I never told anyone because I knew they wouldn’t want to hear it and I certainly did’nt want to talk about it. It’s not an ordinary problem and people do blame the victim or say they are weird or lying. I hope she finds true peace and realizes that her father was a predator with his own child and she is blameless. There is a special place in Hell for people like him.

  41. elvisgrace says:

    {“Yes, maybe she is ready to come out and discuss it, but does it have to be timed with a book to sell? Could she maybe have come out with this now and written the book later or pushed the book release to another time. Seems like she is taking advantage of the furor and scandal over this in order to profit.”}

    The book she’s promoting is her memoir. Where you talk about the events in your life? This being one of the events in her life? One of her life events that is in her memoir? The book she’s “promoting”? It isn’t about profit, it’s about how she wrote about her life, in this book, and now people want to interview her about what she wrote in this book? See?
    September 24th, 2009 at 9:27 am

    {“Okay, first of all John Phillips had five children. Mackenzie, Chynna, Bijou, Jeffrey, and Tamerlane. How is it only Mackenzie is the one whacked out and claiming incest? He was also married four times. How is it Mackenzie didn’t tell her mum or stepmums what was going on? I could understand if this started when Mackenzie was 9, it would have been a power thing, and being only 9 she wouldn’t have known any better. But to claim this started when she was 19, an adult, with knowledge of right and wrong, she let her father shag her. There’s something really fishy and not quite right about the story. The guy is dead, he can’t confirm or deny. Look, incest is wrong, but when you’re 19 years old you are not exactly a helpless 9 year old child, and to let it go on for ten years until you are 30 years old, drugged up or not, it is really difficult to give Mackenzie credibility. “}

    The incest thing – it is very common for abusive parents to single out one child for abuse, and treat the other children normally. Also, maybe we haven’t heard about additional molestation YET. Just because she was the first to discuss it, doesn’t mean she’s the only one who was abused. Tamerlane was sent off to boarding school.Not he’s off his nut in some cult. Bijou and Chyna have both had substance abuse problems. Bijou has been in rehab, and she stabbed someone a while back. She was also taken away from the Phillips, and placed in foster care until she was in third grade. Bijou is a major scientologist, and Chyna is a devout born again christian, and again with Tamerlane and his cult. In a recent interview he referred to his family as a bowl of dog urine. I’d say there’s a pretty strong fact pattern to indicate that all these children have undergone one form of abuse or another. Mackenzie channeled her pain into drugs, and it seems her siblings channel that into intense religion.