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Mackenzie Phillips says sex with father not consensual

By Alan Duke, CNN
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Phillips: Incest not consensual
  • Actress wrote in book last year that she'd carried on affair with musician father
  • She tells HLN's Joy Behar that she learned there's no such thing as consensual incest
  • Phillips is best known for role on "One Day at a Time"

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Actress Mackenzie Phillips says she wants to "reframe" how she describes her sexual relationship with her famous father.

Phillips, in an interview to air Tuesday evening on HLN's "The Joy Behar Show," talked about revelations in her tell-all memoir published last year that she had a long-term incestuous relationship with musician John Philips that became consensual.

"I'd like to reframe my word, 'consensual,' " Phillips told Behar.

"As I was writing the book, I thought, this word, it kept sitting wrong with me, but I used it for lack of a better word, and since then I've been schooled by thousands of incest survivors all across the world that there really is no such thing as consensual incest due to the inherent power a parent has over a child," she said.

"So, I wouldn't necessarily call it a consensual relationship at this time."

The Joy Behar Show airs at 9 p.m. ET on HLN, a CNN sister network.

Phillips, the 49-year-old former child star and daughter of the Mamas and the Papas founder, wrote in her book that she had sex with her father the night before she was to marry Jeff Sessler, a member of the Rolling Stones entourage, in 1979.

"On the eve of my wedding, my father showed up, determined to stop it," wrote Phillips, who was 19 at the time and a heavy drug user. "I had tons of pills, and Dad had tons of everything too. Eventually I passed out on Dad's bed."

Phillips, best known as Julie Cooper on the sitcom "One Day at a Time," wrote that the sexual relationship became consensual as her life began to spiral out of control.

During her time on the hit CBS comedy, which ran from 1975 to 1984, she battled drug addiction and underwent drug rehabilitation. She was fired from the show in 1980 because of her drug abuse.

Eventually, she and her father went to rehab together, and she later toured with him in a band called the New Mamas and the Papas.

"I was a fragment of a person, and my secret isolated me," she wrote. "One night Dad said, 'We could just run away to a country where no one would look down on us. There are countries where this is an accepted practice. Maybe Fiji.' "

Phillips has led a troubled life that has included substance abuse and a 2008 arrest at Los Angeles International Airport on suspicion of cocaine and heroin possession.

She later pleaded guilty to one count of cocaine possession and was ordered to a drug rehab program.

Phillips' career as an actress took off when, as a teen, she performed the role of Carol Morrison in the 1973 film "American Graffiti."

In the late 1990s, her career experienced a revival when she began co-starring on "So Weird," a Disney Channel program.