The Scream Queens star opened up about the tragedy in Town & Country‘s September issue. Speaking to longtime friend Sarah Paulson, the 25-year-old looked back on the legacy the maternal figures left behind.
“I’ve always kind of lived in their shadows, and now is the first time in my life when I get to own my life and stand on my own. I love being my mother’s daughter, and it’s something I always will be, but now I get to be just Billie. It’s a lot of pressure, because she had such an incredible legacy, and now I have to uphold that and make it evolve in my own way,” she said.
The daughter of the Star Wars icon and CAA talent agent Bryan Lourd, Billie admitted her childhood was anything but normal and a “hilarious balance” of her two parent’s opposite personalities. (Carrie and Bryan were together from 1991 to 1994. They split so Bryan could pursue a relationship with a man.)
“He gets home at the same time every day, and we eat dinner together, we do homework together, we watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and cry, and then go to sleep,” she remembered. “At Mom’s it was like, ‘Let’s put Christmas lights in the palm trees at 2 a.m.’ Do you remember when Sharper Image was 24 hours? We went there all the time, 1 a.m. or 3 a.m., just picking up little trinket … as if that was what you do!”
Billie also opened up about the difficulties growing up with a mom who struggled with drug addiction, saying, “A lot of people have had experiences like mine, too. Tons of people grow up with mentally ill parents who have drug problems.”
“It’s such a common thing, and people really don’t talk about it. She talked about being mentally ill and having issues with drugs,” she added. “A lot of people don’t talk about what it was like growing up with that.”
Carrie passed away in December 2016 after suffering a major cardiac arrest during a transatlantic flight from London to Los Angeles. A day later, her mother died from a stroke while planning the funeral. A full autopsy report later revealed the actress had traces of cocaine, morphine, codeine, and oxycodone in her system at the time of death.
The duo were buried alongside one another at Forest Lawn Memorial Park on Jan. 6, 2017. Per her wishes, Carrie had her remains stored in a pill-shaped urn.
“If life’s not funny, then it’s just true – and that would be unacceptable,” Billie mused. “Even when she [Carrie] died, that was what got me through that whole thing. When Debbie died the next day, I could just picture her saying, ‘Well, she’s upstaging me once again, of course – she had to.'”