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Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford’s affair was kept secret until 2016. The Princess Leia and Han Solo actors had a short, but intense, affair while filming Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the intimate details of which are the main topic of Fisher’s 2016 memoir The Princess Diarist.

But why did Fisher choose to expose their relationship four decades after it happened? As it turns out, Fisher’s reasoning for revealing her affair with Ford was a selfless act.

American actors Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford on the set of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back directed by Irvin Kershner.
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as Han Solo|Lucasfilm/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Carrie Fisher revealed her and Harrison Ford’s affair in ‘The Princess Diarist’

Digging up your own dirt and exposing your own secrets isn’t something most people find fun. But that’s exactly what the actress did.

The Princess Diarist was written after the late star found her diaries her 19-year-old self kept while filming the first Star Wars movie. You’d think the diaries would detail on-set experiences of one of the most famous movies of all time, but they’re all about Ford. The book opens a fascinatingly sad window into Fisher’s inner dialogue during her “three-month one-night stand” with her co-star.

According to Fisher, she was “obsessed” with Ford during their relationship and was attracted to him because of, well, look at him, and also because of his unavailability.

“I have filled him in to be unobtainable, disinterested, attractive, and bored with my company,” she wrote. “My ideal mate.”

The diary is also filled with sad poetry Fisher wrote, as well as a perhaps shocking level of self-awareness about the nature of their tryst and why she was so drawn to him.

“I am totally at his mercy,” the teenage Fisher wrote. “I’m frightened of the power I have given him over me and how he will almost certainly abuse it, merely by not being fully aware he has it.”

Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher on the set of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher on the set of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

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Carrie Fisher wanted to do the world ‘a favor’ with ‘The Princess Diarist’

The Princess Diarist provided a level of unprompted transparency that movie fans aren’t used to seeing. In an interview with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford in November 2016, the author explained why she chose to pull back the curtain on her life and expose one of her most personal stories. Prepare yourselves for a truly gut-wrenching explanation.

“Why did you think this was the right time to tell this story?” Kotb asked.

“Because I think it’s time to distract from the whole Trump thing,” Fisher said. “And so, it does that.”

The memoir was released on Nov. 22, 2016, just a few weeks after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. Fisher said she wanted to offer something new to the Trump-saturated, stressed out world.

“I did that as a favor,” she said. “People want to talk about something else.” Fisher then expanded on her reasoning.

“Because it’s 40 years later,” she said. “I actually didn’t find these diaries seven years ago and think, ‘I’m going to wait seven more years. Then it’ll be the right time.’ I found these diaries, like, a year and a half ago.”

Indeed, she found the private journals around the time she was promoting The Force Awakens. Fisher told Kotb and Gifford that she told Ford she was publishing the diaries while they were doing press for the film, and he gave no objection.

The diaries, according to Fisher, “are very intense.”

“I think everything’s intense at 19. Or when you’re bipolar,” she told the hosts.

Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016, just one month after this interview. Her death—followed by the sudden death of her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, the very next day—became the cherry on top of the depressing cake that was 2016—a year Fisher tried to make just a little bit brighter by putting her personal life on display.