Billie Lourd has set her own terms when it comes to speaking publicly about the death of her mother, Carrie Fisher. Carrie’s passing, followed the next day by the death of her own mother, Debbie Reynolds, created two huge holes in Billie’s life. While Carrie and Debbie have both been laid to rest, their spirits linger on for Billie, who opened up about the legacy of her mother and grandmother in a lengthy interview with Town & Country.
The interview, conducted by actress and friend of the family Sarah Paulson, unearthed some of the wildest stories from Billie’s childhood. It had her speaking reflectively about the things she learned from her mom. And she shared her memory of the last time she saw her mom alive.
“The last time I saw her in person, this episode of ‘Scream Queens’ was on, and it was a big episode for me,” Billie recalls. “I had tons of scenes, and I was so hard on myself about it—I hated how I looked, hated my performance. I was really frustrated.” Carrie refused to let Billie be so critical of herself, though.
“She told me, ‘Come over right now. I want to watch this with you.’ And she made me sit down and watch it, and she forced me to see the good parts,” Billie says. “She was incredible like that. But she was really hard on me, saying, ‘Shut up, you’re great in this. Have faith in yourself. Be more confident.'”
Carrie’s no-nonsense attitude about Billie’s self-esteem may have helped shape her daughter into a confident young woman. But her wild antics also meant a lot of late nights for a very young Billie.
“From my mom, maybe living too out in the open,” Billie says when asked about her parents as a “cautionary tale.” “It’s good to a certain extent. It’s good to be authentic, to help other people, but if it’s not helping other people, then don’t do it. There were a couple incidents I wish she could have kept to herself. But, you know, that was the beauty of her.”
Billie is also excited to get a chance to define herself. As a third generation actress, she’ll probably always be compared to her mother and grandmother. Billie’s silver lining in her double personal tragedy has been a chance to step into the light.
“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,” she explains. “I love being my mother’s daughter, and it’s something I always will be, but now I get to be just Billie.”
Read Billie’s entire interview here. Check out her Town & Country cover below.
(Photo credit: Billie Lourd Instagram account)