Carrie Fisher's Walk of Fame ceremony illuminates family rift between Billie Lourd and late star's siblings
Six years after Carrie Fisher's death, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — on Star Wars Day — but family drama overshadowed the event.
On the eve of the May 4 ceremony, Billie Lourd — Carrie's only child — responded to attacks from her mother's siblings for excluding them from the event. Some scathing statements were made back and forth between Billie — who will be accepting the star on her mother's behalf — and Carrie's brother, Todd Fisher, and half-siblings, Joely and Trisha Leigh Fisher. Even Carrie's dog, Gary Fisher, is involved.
Nonetheless, Billie was front and center at the event on Thursday — in a Star Wars-themed dress featuring her mother's likeness. "Momma, you've made it," the actress said from the podium.
Billie, who played Lieutenant Connix in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, also talked about coming to love Star Wars herself, and how she'll one day share it with her own two children with Austen Rydell, saying, "I feel so lucky that even though they won't get to meet my mom, they will get to know a piece of her through Leia."
She shared the moment with her "space uncle" Mark Hamill, who called Fisher a "fiercely independent and ferociously funny take-charge woman who took our breath away," and posed side by side with C-3PO and R2-D2. Hamill She also threw glitter on her mother's star saying, "My mom was glitter, she covered her world in it. She left a mark of her sparkle on everyone she met."
Her husband, Rydell, and father, talent agent Bryan Lourd, attended the event with her to show support.
What was said:
It was a chaotic 48 hour leading up to the event starting when Carrie's brother Todd, 65, told TMZ on Tuesday that it was "heartbreaking and shocking" that he had been "intentionally omitted" by his niece "from attending this important legacy event"
Joely, 55, and Trisha Leigh, 54, then posted a joint message on social media saying for "some bizarre, misguided reason our niece had chose not to include us in the epic moment in our sister's career."
Billie issued a scathing statement in response, saying, "The truth is I did not invite them to this ceremony. They know why." The Ticket to Paradise star, 30, called out her complaining relatives for capitalizing on Carrie's death, as well as the death of Carrie's mother Debbie Reynolds, through book deals and interviews that they didn't consult her about. "The truth of my mom’s very complicated relationship with her family is only known by me and those who were actually close to her," she said. She added that her "instincts were right" in excluding them in light of their public statements and noted, "To be clear — there is no feud. We have no relationship. This was a conscious decision on my part to break a cycle with a way of life I want no part of for myself or my children," as she welcomed her second child with last year.
Todd subsequently told Entertainment Tonight, "I take issue with what she said on every level. There was no money made on anything. I did one 20/20 interview, and I didn't charge for that... Months and months later, I wrote my personal memoir, called My Girls, which is a book about my sister and my mother and our life together over 60 years. That book [is] an homage to them. And it's not about their death, it's about their life."
Carrie's beloved French bulldog Gary even entered the fray. The pet's official Instagram account — operated by his current owner Corby McCoin, who was Carrie's former assistant — commented on Joely's post saying Gary "was told not to come."
The complicated Fisher family tree:
Carrie was a Hollywood icon in her own right as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies as well as roles in films like The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and When Harry Met Sally... (1989). And from the start, she had a rare candor about her complicated life in the limelight, including struggles with mental health and addiction, getting real on the topics in her work, including the screenplay for Postcards From the Edge (1990) and in her book Wishful Drinking. She also nurtured many rising stars, literally opening the doors of her home to them.
But Carrie was part of Hollywood royalty too. Her parents — superstar singer/actor Eddie Fisher and singer/actress Debbie Reynolds — were married from 1955 to 1959. Carrie was born in 1956, followed by Todd in 1958. Eddie had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor, Reynolds's friend, and it was a big scandal at the time and messy split.
After a brief marriage to Taylor, Eddie married Connie Stevens, from 1967 to 1969, resulting in Joely and Tricia Leigh being born in '67 and '68 respectively.
Joely, an actress and singer, wrote in her 2017 book Growing Up Fisher that she "knew that I had [an older] sister, and we had a couple encounters when I was a child but very few." She didn't officially meet her half-sibling, who was 11 years older, until after Star Wars came out in 1977 when they were officially introduced. By then, Carrie was a superstar. Joely said at some point, Stevens bought a house next door to Reynolds, and Joely remembered "daily interactions with Debbie" for five or seven years; Eddie, who was an addict, only visited his children at that house once, she wrote. Joely wrote about Carrie taking her to an AA meeting, as both dealt with addiction. She also said she was supposed to spend Christmas 2016 with Carrie, but she died from sleep apnea and other factors. (Carrie had several drugs in her system at her time of death).
Joely spoke with Yahoo about her relationship with Carrie when the book came out, saying her sibling was very much the top of mind as she wrote it and talked about keeping archives of their text messages.
Carrie's other half-sister, Trisha Leigh, also an actress and singer, told ABC News in 2017, in an interview with Joely, that she had the "coolest big sister in the world. She was a bad-ass, gun-toting princess. Who has that?" She talked about her sister being "secretly soft" and "extremely generous."
As for Todd, he's called himself "the family archivist by default," and has had exhibits of his late sister and mom's movie memorabilia. He also presided over an estate sale of some of their things in 2018. That same year, he wrote his book My Girls, in which he said he was always there for his sister and mom no matter what they needed or demanded. And while, "There wasn’t a time when Carrie and I weren’t close," he also wrote, "She could be the most brilliantly fun sister in the world ... my best friend ... and then turn on me in the blink of an eye." When Carrie died, they had a "tense" last conversation that he told Fox News stemmed from "her drug use at the time."
Since Carrie's death, Billie — who briefly played a young Princess Leia in Rise of Skywalker to help honor her mother — has posted countless tributes to Carrie. She's also shared about her grief, mostly candidly on the New Day podcast in which she spoke of happy times with her mom, but also how she learned what not to do as a parent from her. "We laughed every single day, and she made my life so much fun," she said. However, due to Carrie having bipolar disorder and substance abuse struggles, "My main job when she was alive was taking care of her and making sure she was OK. I was 7 [for some of it] and that was really hard and that’s why I grew up really fast — because I was her best friend... I was her mother, I was her kid, I was her everything. And that’s one of the things I’m learning not to do with my kid"... "put this pressure on him that I had on me."
Carrie Fisher's Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony can be streamed now on walkoffame.com.