Todd Fisher has opened up about the complicated relationship between ‘his girls’ – his mother Debbie and sister Carrie – in a brand new memoir.
Fisher describes the book, My Girls: A Lifetime With Carrie and Debbie, as a ‘long love letter and thank-you note to the two most pivotal, extraordinary women I’ve ever known.’
In it he talks about the last time he saw Carrie alive before her unexpected death in 2016 – and losing his mother Debbie the following day after she ‘willed herself’ to die so his sister wasn’t alone.
Todd Fisher has opened up about the complicated relationship between ‘his girls’ – his mother Debbie and sister Carrie – in a brand new memoir (L-R: Todd Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher and Carrie’s daughter Billie Lourd at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2015)
Fisher describes the book, My Girls: A Lifetime With Carrie and Debbie, as a ‘long love letter and thank-you note to the two most pivotal, extraordinary women I’ve ever known’
Despite their frequent bickering and sometimes tense relationship, he said his mother and sister were incredibly close. So much so that when Carrie died, Debbie didn’t so much die of a broken heart, but had refused to let her daughter go into the afterlife alone.
‘The common theory about Mom’s passing was that, after losing Carrie, Debbie Reynolds died of a broken heart,’ he wrote.
‘Take it from the son who was there, who knew her better than anyone else on earth — that’s simply not true.
‘Debbie Reynolds willed herself right off this planet to personally see to it that Carrie would never be alone.’
He added his mother had never wanted Carrie to be alone – even his birth was as a companion to her daughter. After her daughter’s death she told him: ‘I want to be with Carrie.’
‘That had been her driving force all of Carrie’s life, including having me so that Carrie wouldn’t be an only child, and it continued to be her driving force when Carrie left.
Debbie died following a stroke on December 28, the day after Carrie.
Despite their frequent bickering and sometimes tense relationship, he said his mother and sister were incredibly close. Above Reynolds is pictured with her daughter in 2011 in Los Angeles
When Carrie died, Debbie didn’t so much die of a broken heart, but had refused to let her daughter go into the afterlife alone, Todd Fisher said (pictured, L-R: Todd Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher and their half sister Joely Fisher in 2010)
Through the years, Reynolds and her daughter’s relationship was rocky, but they had recently become close as they lived right next door to each other in Los Angeles.
He shared that their relationship was a ‘magical’ love story that had ‘many ups and downs, but not at the heart level.’
Fisher described the last time he spoke to Carrie face-to-face before her death at her 60th birthday party. The event summed up the complicated mother-daughter relationship the two actresses shared.
His 84-year-old mother, who had suffered a stroke the previous year, had been planning a huge event for Carrie’s birthday – against her daughter’s wishes.
‘Mom was so excited, not just to be orchestrating something very important for Carrie but also to be waking up every morning with a purpose for the first time since her stroke,’ Fisher wrote.
‘Carrie, in the meantime, wanted absolutely no part of it. She was busy in London filming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, on top of which her book The Princess Diarist was being released. There was no way she was going to squeeze in a quick round-trip from London to L.A. for a birthday party she hadn’t asked for in the first place.’
Todd Fisher said that he ‘didn’t shed a tear’ when his father Eddie Fisher (pictured with Debbie and Carrie in 1956) his and Carrie’s father, died in 2010 because of the pain he’d caused to his loves ones
Eddie had left Debbie for Elizabeth Taylor in 1959 in a huge scandal of the time, leaving her two raise their two children (Eddie with Debbie, Carrie and Todd as young children)
Debbie, in her 1950s heyday, was notoriously unlucky in love according to her son
Fisher said he was on his mom’s side, and didn’t ‘give a rat’s a**’ how inconvenient it was for Carrie – he knew all the work Debbie had put and how devastated she’d be if Carrie didn’t turn up.
He described the argument with his sister, who came accusing him of always taking their mother’s side.
‘Typical Todd, doing Mom’s bidding, and to hell with what anyone else wants or feels,’ she told him, according to the book.
He admitted in another part of the book that he and his mother ‘adored each other’ and had always had an incredibly close relationship. He even tried to open a museum for Hollywood memorabilia collection which was auctioned off for millions.
In the end, Debbie won and Carrie flew back to LA for the party thrown in her honor in November 2016, although Fisher said she spent most of her time in her bedroom, occasionally wandering through the house to greet guests before heading back to her room.
‘Finally it was just Carrie and me, alone in the house, after an evening of paying little or no attention to each other. I was surprised to see that she was in tears. ‘I can’t do this,’ she said. ‘I can’t have this tension between us.’
Fisher wrote that his sister had regretted coming clean about her affair with Star Wars costar Harrison Ford (pictured on the set of Star Wars: Episode V)
Carrie had kept mum about the three month affair until 2016 (Harrison and Carrie together in 2002)
‘She went on to talk about the fact that a day would come when Mom would be gone, when it would be just the two of us, and we were going to need each other more than we ever had in our lives.
‘Carrie was my girl, and no matter how much we fought or how p***ed off we might get at each other, nothing would or could ever change that. ‘We’re good,’ I said.’
That would be the final face-to-face conversation Fisher would ever have with his sister, who had bi-polar disorder. The next time he saw her, she was on life support.
Carrie had written about her affair for the first time in her 2016 autobiography ‘The Princess Diarist’
The following month, Carrie had been on a transatlantic flight from London to Los Angeles when she suffered a medical emergency. She died in hospital four days later on December 27, 2016.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office listed drug use as a factor in the Star Wars icon’s death.
Her brother, like Carrie herself, was candid about her struggle with drug addiction.
‘She was self-medicating,’ Fisher, 60, said. ‘That’s what was keeping her in balance. The idea that, at any moment, she could lose control was always a real threat.’
He said that he had brought Carrie to the emergency room on several occasions for drug overdoses in the past.
The actor, director and now author said his mother had been beside herself when she learned that Carrie had been taken for autopsy as the idea of her being alone and dissected by ‘some stranger was abhorrent to Mom.’
Fisher also wrote about his sister’s regret at coming clean about her affair with Star Wars costar Harrison Ford.
Carrie had written about her affair for the first time in her 2016 autobiography ‘The Princess Diarist’.
She revealed that they had a whirlwind three-month-long, drink-sozzled, drug-addled affair while filming the first Star Wars movie at Elstree studios in Hertforshire in 1976. She was an innocent of 19 and Ford a 33-year-old married father of two.
Carrie and Debbie were buried next to each other at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles (Todd Fisher speaking to officials at the park shortly before their funerals)
Stronger together: Debbie Reynolds with Carrie and Todd in 1960 on left, and in 1989 on right)
‘It was so intense,’ she said. ‘It was Han and Leia during the week, and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend.’
Carrie, who had kept mum about the affair until 2016, described their first night together while he was still married to his college sweetheart Mary Marquardt.
‘I was so inexperienced, but I trusted something about him. He was kind.’
Fisher said that Debbie had no clue about her daughter’s affair before she wrote the book and had been against her sharing it.
Carrie later agreed, telling Debbie: ”You’re right, I shouldn’t have told that story.’
The book also offers a glimpse into the Fishers’ incredibly privileged family life.
Carrie and Todd grew up in a household with servants, where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton would pop round for cocktails and where the frequent parties were so lavish, elephants were brought in to transport guests.
But the glamorous lifestyle came to an abrupt end when they discovered Debbie Fisher’s second husband Harry Karl, had been stealing her money and frittering it away on a gambling habit.
Fisher, who is now the only surviving child of Reynolds with her first husband Eddie Fisher, said the family is ‘happy’ that his mother is reunited with Carrie. Above he is pictured with Carrie and her daughter Billie in 2015
And Karl wasn’t the only one of Debbie’s husbands that fell short.
Todd Fisher said that he ‘didn’t shed a tear’ when his father Eddie Fisher, his and Carrie’s father, died in 2010 because of the pain he’d caused to his loves ones.
Eddie had left Debbie for Elizabeth Taylor in 1959 in a huge scandal of the time, leaving her two raise their two children, and was a ‘virtual stranger’ to his kids when they were growing up, according to the memoir.
And despite popping in and out of their lives as adults, he never quite forgave his father after he ‘deeply, deeply hurt both my girls (his mother and sister).’
Todd Fisher was keen to defend his mother’s poor taste in men however, saying that no one ‘worked harder, tried harder, and loved harder than she did.’
‘But she kept getting deceived and robbed blind by men she cared for so much, deeply trusted, and treated with nothing but kindness and respect until the truth of who they really were became unavoidable.’
He also revealed the one true love of Debbie’s life; actor Robert Wagner.
In the book, he described how the Singing in the Rain star would sometimes become confused after her stroke.
On one occasion, she told Fisher’s wife Cat that Wagner – who she dated before Eddie Fisher – was coming to visit her and she wanted to confess something.
‘I want him to know that I’m in love with him. … I’ve held this in my whole life, and it’s high time I say something, don’t you think?’
There was no visit from Wagner and Debbie died without ever confessing her love for the actor.
My Girls: A Lifetime With Carrie and Debbie is published on Tuesday.