How Did Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher Repair Their Relationship After Being Estranged for Years?

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher were the ultimate mother-daughter duo. In the years leading up to their tragic deaths in 2016, the pair were like two peas in a pod and were so close that they spent 15 years as next-door neighbors.

However, when Fisher was younger, she and Reynolds had a complicated relationship, which grew into animosity that caused them not to speak to each other for 10 years.

Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Stardom affected Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher’s relationship

The rift between Fisher and her mother began when she was a child. Though the Star Wars actor adored Reynolds, she very much resented the Singin’ In The Rain star’s fame.

“She wanted a mother who baked and did embroidery,” Reynolds once told People of her daughter. “I was in show business and didn’t do that.”

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher
Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher | Dove/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

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In a 2016 interview with NPR, Fisher revealed that she greatly disliked having a celebrity mother, noting that she wasn’t a fan of sharing Reynolds with the rest of the world.

“I had to share her, and I didn’t like that,” she said. “When we went out, people sort of walked over me to get her. And, no, I didn’t like it.”

But despite Fisher’s feelings toward her mother’s fame, the two still maintained a close relationship, which extended into their careers. However, their close bond hit a snag when Fisher became a young adult.

Carrie Fisher began distancing herself from Debbie Reynolds in her 20s

When she was 13-years-old, Fisher began experimenting with drugs, which continued well into her adult life.

By her early 20s, the Star Wars actor’s drug use had spiraled out of control, as she abused everything from cocaine and heroin to painkillers and acid. At the age of 28, Fisher checked into rehab for the first time.

After getting discharged from the treatment facility, Fisher began distancing herself from Reynolds as she did not want to continue living in her famous mother’s shadow.

“We had a fairly volatile relationship earlier on in my 20s,” Fisher later said in a joint interview with her mom on The Oprah Winfrey Show. “I didn’t want to be around her. I did not want to be Debbie Reynolds’ daughter.”

In that same interview, the Halloweentown star revealed that she and Fisher barely spoke for the next 10 years, which she said was heartwrenching.

“It was a total estrangement,” Reynolds shared. “She didn’t talk to me for probably 10 years. So that was the most difficult time of all. Very painful, very heartbreaking.”

But despite their estrangement, Reynolds didn’t let their complicated relationship stop her from eventually reconciling with her daughter.

Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds became close

After Fisher got sober and began taking care of herself, she and Reynolds finally reconnected.

While Fisher’s strides to better herself allowed her and Reynolds to grow close again, learning to embrace their differences ultimately helped the duo’s relationship get stronger.

Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds | Kevin Winter/WireImage

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 “I’m not as intellectual as my daughter. She says bigger words than I [do], I don’t even know what they mean,” Reynolds later told People. “But she’s so amusing to me and it’s wonderful to be around her.”

In 2000, Reynolds bought the house next door to her daughter’s in Beverly Hills. The following year, the two joined forces in showbusiness when Fisher wrote the television movie These Old Broads (2001), which Reynolds starred in.

By the early 2010s, Fisher and Reynolds relationship had fully mended.

“I would say that Carrie and I have finally found happiness,” Reynolds said on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2011. “I admire her strength and survival. I admire that she is alive, that she has chosen to make it. It would have been easy to give up and give in and to keep doing drugs. I always feel, as a mother does, that I protect her. I want happiness for my daughter — I want Carrie to be happy.”

The two remained neighbors and maintained a close bond until their deaths in 2016.