Billie Lourd has opened up about the sudden loss of her mother, Carrie Fisher, and grandmother, Debbie Reynolds, for Town & Country's new cover story. In conversation with her American Horror Story: Cult costar Sarah Paulson, the actress spoke about moving forward and becoming her own person in the wake of their deaths.
“I’ve always kind of lived in their shadows, and now is the first time in my life when I get to own my life and stand on my own,” Billie, 25, said. “I love being my mother’s daughter, and it’s something I always will be, but now I get to be just Billie.”
She continued: “It’s a lot of pressure, because she had such an incredible legacy, and now I have to uphold that and make it evolve in my own way.”
Billie, who has already begun to carve out a career of her own with roles in Scream Queens and the upcoming season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, revealed that it was her mom who encouraged her to pursue acting after they worked together on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“[On set] my mother would pull me aside and be like, ‘It’s weird that you’re so comfortable here. This is the most uncomfortable environment in the world. If you’re comfortable here, you should do this,'” she said.
She also said maintaining her mother's sense of humor allowed her to cope with the devastating losses.
“If life’s not funny, then it’s just true — and that would be unacceptable,” she said. “Even when she [Fisher] died, that was what got me through that whole thing. When Debbie died the next day, I could just picture her saying, ‘Well, she’s upstaging me once again, of course — she had to.'”
Earlier this year, Billie issued an emotional statement to People after her mother’s toxicology report revealed she had a cocktail of drugs in her system at the time of her death.
“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life," the statement began. "She ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases.”
“She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases," she continued. "I know my mom. She’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles — seek help, fight for government funding for mental health programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure.”
She concluded: “Love you Momby.”
Carrie, best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars, suffered a heart attack while on a flight from London to Los Angeles. She later died in the hospital at the age of 60. In a tragic turn of events, Debbie succumbed to a fatal stroke less than 24 hours later.
At the time, Debbie’s son, Todd Fisher, 58, confirmed the awful news, telling TMZ: "She's with Carrie."
He also revealed her heartbreaking last words were: "I miss her so much, I want to be with Carrie."
This post was written by Candice Mehta-Culjak. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.