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In a wide-ranging interview for the New Day podcast about her life with her mother and grandmother, Lourd talks about growing up in a famous family, the generational trauma that her mother and grandmother experienced and the “brutal” experience of grieving their deaths as a young public figure.
“It was brutal. It was really, really brutal, and I still hesitate and stutter because it’s really hard for me,” Lourd explained. “Because everything I say gets turned into some headline that I didn’t mean. There’s this one where I said something, and it was like three months after she died. I didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about or who the fuck I was or what was going on. And I said something like, ‘Well, now that they’re gone, I get to just be Billie.'”
Lourd said that every time she sees that headline she cringes, as it misconstrued what she said in a dark way. “I meant what we were talking about earlier. It’s like I got out of the shadow of them, but I didn’t want to get out of this shadow. It sounded like I like wanted them to die, and that is absolutely the opposite of what I wanted. I would do anything to get them back, but it sounded like I was excited to have the ‘Billie Show.'”
The Booksmart star says that the issue of her words being taken out of context around Fisher’s and Reynolds’ deaths is something that has happened more than once but that it misrepresents how much she cared about them both.
“Sometimes in interviews, things get pulled out and it comes across as I didn’t care about them and that’s just not the case. They’re my favorite people in the world. I miss my mom every day and my grandma, but really, my mom the most,” she said. “She was the greatest, funniest person ever. She was my best fucking friend ever. There’s no one who will ever be as funny as she is. She was just — she is amazing.”
At another point in the nearly hourlong interview, Lourd further clarifies what she meant about stepping out of her mother and grandmother’s shadows, which she says she was actively trying to do even before their deaths.
The actress joked that when it comes to her own identity she’s still “looking for it, it’s out there somewhere” and that “if anybody sees my identity, please call me. My number is 911.” But she went on more seriously to acknowledge that figuring out who she is independently from her family “was hard” and that following the deaths of Fisher and Reynolds, her identity has “changed so much.”
“When they were alive, I feel like I really tried to avoid doing things in their shadow,” she said. “We got offered all these random photo shoots and all this weird stuff that happens in my life, but I didn’t want to do them when they were alive because I wanted to make sure that people knew me separately from them.”
While carving out her own space was important to Lourd, she has since had some regrets about not taking those opportunities to be featured with her mother and grandmother more.
“Now I wish I could run back and do all of those photo shoots and do anything with them, really,” she explained. “But I guess I just tried to separate myself from them while they were alive and now I feel like I kind of I am kind of trying to do the opposite. I try to connect myself to them because I miss them.”
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Taraji P. Henson