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Carrie Fisher was just 18 months old when her father, Eddie Fisher, left her mother, Debbie Reynolds, for Elizabeth Taylor. The late actress was Carrie’s stepmother from 1959 to 1964, and although Eddie’s relationship with Elizabeth turned Carrie’s life upside-down, the Star Wars legend was “fascinated” with and had a deep respect for her later in life.

Carrie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards | Steve Granitz/WireImage

Carrie Fisher had famous parents and stepparents

Carrie and her brother, Todd Fisher, were born into a famous family. Their parents were Hollywood’s sweethearts, Debbie being one of the beloved stars of the big screen and Eddie being one of the most popular singers of the time. Their family’s image was that of a wholesome family of four, which is what made Eddie’s affair with Elizabeth all the more scandalous.

While Eddie and Elizabeth were married, Debbie remarried as well. And she made a habit of not marrying famous people after Eddie. Her second husband was Harry Karl, a businessman who ended up gambling Debbie’s fortune away. Her third husband, Richard Hamlett, was a real estate developer who also made her go bankrupt.

Eddie, of course, married one of Hollywood’s other most famous women. Elizabeth and Debbie’s fame grew because of the tabloid attention surrounding the affair, but according to Todd, the affair “ruined his career.”

Tom Petty, Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Carrie Fisher | SGranitz/WireImage

Carrie Fisher was ‘grateful’ to Elizabeth Taylor for the Eddie Fisher affair

Eddie and Elizabeth’s marriage ended in 1964 after she had an affair with Richard Burton on set of Cleopatra. Carrie was just 8 years old when they split, and she reportedly “didn’t really know Elizabeth at all” as a kid, according to Daily Mail. But she grew up to have great admiration for Elizabeth.

In 2000, Carrie presented her former stepmother with a GLAAD award. In her speech, she said, “The best thing Elizabeth Taylor did for me was to get Eddie Fisher out of our house.”

In a statement for Entertainment Weekly after Elizabeth’s death in 2011, Carrie expressed her gratitude again.

“If my father had to divorce my mother for anyone — I’m so grateful that it was Elizabeth,” she said. “This was a remarkable woman who led her life to the fullest rather than complacently following one around. She will be missed but never forgotten.”


Carrie Fisher Once Explained What She Admired Most About Her Mother, Debbie Reynolds

Carrie Fisher respected Elizabeth Taylor’s storied Hollywood career

Carrie’s respect for Elizabeth came from a deep appreciation of Hollywood history that her mother instilled in her. Debbie had a massive collection of Hollywood memorabilia, which included some of Elizabeth’s Cleopatra costumes, in an effort to preserve Tinsel Town’s rich history.

Debbie and Todd were in New York City in September 2001 trying to get a museum for the collection set up. Todd had briefly returned to Los Angeles when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred, leaving Debbie alone. As fate would have it, the reconciled Debbie and Elizabeth had both attended a Michael Jackson concert the night before. Elizabeth had her assistant, Tim Mendelson, get in contact with Debbie to get her a car to her hotel.

Mendelson told People that Debbie and Elizabeth’s relationship was powerful because of their long history. Carrie admired their strong bond, and it made her respect her former stepmother even more.

“They were both intelligent and had great senses of humor,” Mendelson said. “The history between them was palpable. And Carrie was fascinated with Elizabeth, who was her stepmother. She respected her and loved her. Carrie, like Debbie, had a real respect for the people who made Hollywood and Hollywood history. All three of them had a unique bond.”

Debbie, Elizabeth, and Carrie remained close until Elizabeth died in 2011. Carrie died on Dec. 27, 2016, and Debbie died the very next day.