How Carrie Fisher’s Death Changed Billie Lourd’s Perspective On Life

Billie Lourd grew up in the shadow cast by a tremendous line of powerful and famous matriarchs. Her mother, Carrie Fisher, and her grandmother, Debbie Reynolds, were both famous in their own rights and for their complex mother-daughter relationship with one another.

Lourd has had to grow up with both of their legacies (and the sometimes scandalous stories) surrounding these women. 

When she tragically lost both of them over the span of two days, she was left with two gaping holes and the chance to look at her life in a new way. It’s been three years since Fisher and Reynolds died. What has Lourd learned about her role in life and how is she moving forward? 

Reynolds and Fisher had a complicated relationship

Billie Lourd and Carrie Fisher on the red carpet
Carrie Fisher and Billie Lourd | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Fisher was very open about her life and shared insights and reflections through several memoirs. In these books, she opened up about her struggles with substance abuse as well as the reality of being such a megastar for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise.

She told tales of dealing with sexual harassment on the job as well as reflecting on facing pressures to lose weight to play her roles. 

One struggle in her life that always drew attention was her relationship with her mother. Reynolds and Fisher had a complex relationship. Fisher opened up about constantly comparing herself to her famous and beautiful mother.

As she struggled with substance abuse in her 20s, she also distanced herself from her mother. In fact, the pair barely spoke for nearly a decade. 

Their reconciliation was a powerful testament to their love for one another. As Fisher found sobriety and the two were able to figure out how to work around their differences, they had a strong relationship. Some even say that Reynolds’ death the day after her daughter’s was rooted in a broken heart

Lourd felt the pressure of her mother’s career

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Lourd grew up with a world obsessed with her mother—well, they were at least obsessed with her mother’s character, Princess Leia. Fisher’s daughter explained that it felt like she grew up with a “third parent,” the fictional Star Wars princess.

She didn’t understand the obsession and tried to shut down the discussion of the character and distance herself from the films. 

“I just wanted my mom – the one who lived on Earth, not Tatooine,” Lourd explained.

Later, Lourd would be cast in some of the more contemporary iterations of the Star Wars franchise, and that’s when she started to warm up to the character.

She now feels responsible for upholding the legacy of not only her mother, but also Princess Leia as a character, a character who—like Fisher herself—showed tremendous growth and transformation over the years.

Lourd is finding her own path now

With the tragedy of losing both her mother and her grandmother at the same time behind her, Lourd is ready to find her own path in the world. She has had a leading role in the seventh and eight seasons of American Horror Story, showing that the acting genes have passed down across the generations. 

As she picks up other television and film roles (including one in the hit Booksmart), Lourd is creating a unique space for herself in the Hollywood scene. 

“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,” Lourd explained in 2016.

She knows that she will always be her mother’s daughter and connected to the star in fans’ minds, but she also says that it’s time for her to find her own way: “I love being my mother’s daughter, and it’s something I always will be, but now I get to be just Billie.”