Joely Fisher Details Witnessing Father's Drug Use As A Child

By Victoria Kim 11/09/17

In her new memoir Growing Up Fisher, the actress discusses the impact her father's drug use had on her family.

Joely Fisher

Joely Fisher, the younger half-sister of the late Carrie Fisher, remembers watching their father use drugs—which would later influence her relationship with substances as a young actress in Hollywood.

Fisher has appeared in the TV series Ellen, alongside Ellen DeGeneres, Desperate Housewives, and the upcoming horror film Nosferatu.

People magazine published a brief excerpt from Fisher’s new memoir Growing Up Fisher (out November 14). In it, she details the impact that her father’s drug use had on her family. 

She recalled watching her father use drugs, at a very young age. “My first experience with drug use was as a toddler,” she writes in her memoir. “I had a baby’s-eye view of my own father tying off, prepping a needle, and injecting drugs into his veins. I was propped up in an inappropriate proximity to My Papa.”

Eddie Fisher was a famous singer in the 1950s. He famously left his first wife Debbie Reynolds (Carrie Fisher’s mother) for Elizabeth Taylor. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fisher was “plagued by alcohol and drug abuse,” reportedly known for abusing methamphetamine for 37 years before getting sober with the support of his fifth wife Betty Lin.

Joely Fisher, whose mother was actress Connie Stevens (Fisher’s third wife) recalls her parents’ “tumultuous” relationship, which ended with Stevens packing up the family and leaving Eddie after finding him in bed with two women.

Joely admits that she followed in her father’s footsteps as a young woman in Hollywood. Her sister Carrie, who had similar struggles, became her support system.

“In 2004, I went on a two-night bender,” Joely writes. “I called Carrie from New York at three, four in the morning, because I knew I could. ‘Carrie…I think I’m in trouble.’ She was the only one I could talk to who wouldn’t judge me, who knew the experience. One junkie to another.”

Carrie Fisher, the beloved actress and stigma-fighting icon, passed away at the age of 60 last December from complications related to sleep apnea. The Star Wars actress never shied away from discussing her own struggles with drugs and mental health—which involved “several stints of rehab” and even electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

But the actress never blamed Hollywood nor her father for her own issues. “It’s always been my responsibility,” she said, according to the Guardian. “If it was Hollywood to blame, then we’d all be dope addicts.”

As for 50-year-old Joely Fisher, she said she grew out of her former lifestyle once she became a mother.

“I did have a false bravado with drugs, and I found my adult female body and person didn’t need that,” she told People. “[Once I was] a mother I was like, ‘I certainly don’t want to be not present for them. I feel like I’m alive, in part, because I’ve looked at what it has done to the rest of my family.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr