The Exact Moment Carrie Fisher Knew Billie Lourd Could Be an Actor, According To the ‘American Horror Story’ Star

Carrie Fisher was born into Hollywood royalty as the daughter of celebrities Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. So it wasn’t shocking when she decided to pursue acting full-time. However, she often spoke about the perils she faced growing up in the public eye and said she didn’t want the same life for her daughter, Billie Lourd

Eventually, though, Lourd caught the acting bug that stung her mother and grandmother. In an interview, Lourd said Fisher was the one who first saw her potential. 

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: (L-R) Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and Billie Catherine Lourd pose in the press room at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (
Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and Billie Catherine Lourd|Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Billie Lourd went years without watching ‘Star Wars’ 

Lourd is Fisher’s only child. In 1992, Fisher gave birth to her daughter alongside her longtime partner, Bryan Lourd. By the time Lourd was born, Fisher had made a name away from her mother and father’s fame. She became a star after playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars trilogy in the 1970s and 1980s. 

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Although Fisher had many fans who adored her, Lourd shied away from her mother’s iconic character. In a November 2019 op-ed for Time, Lourd said she didn’t wholly watch her mom in Star Wars until she was almost a pre-teen. 

“I didn’t watch Star Wars until I was about 6 years old. (And I technically didn’t finish it until I was 9 or 10. I’m sorry! Don’t judge me!),” Lourd said. “My mom used to love to tell people that every time she tried to put it on, I would cover my ears and yell, ‘It’s too loud, Mommy! Turn it off!’–or fearfully question, ‘Is that lady in the TV you?’

“It wasn’t until middle school that I finally decided to watch it of my own accord-not because I suddenly developed a keen interest in ’70s sci-fi, but because boys started coming up to me and saying they fantasized about my mom,” she continued. 

Carrie Fisher knew Billie Lourd could act after they filmed ‘Star Wars’ together

Lourd continued to distance herself from her mother’s fame as she got older. Fisher often kept her away from movie sets and premieres. After high school, Lourd moved away from Hollywood to go to college in New York. However, Lourd said she didn’t know what she wanted her life to look like once she graduated.

“I went to school planning to throw music festivals, but always had this little sliver of me that wanted to do what my parents pushed me so hard not to do–act. I was embarrassed to admit I was even slightly interested,” Lourd said.

RELATED: How Carrie Fisher Tried To Impress Her Father, Eddie Fisher

As she contemplated acting, Lourd said Fisher called her about possibly being in a 2015 Star Wars movie. Lourd agreed, landed a small part in the film, and wore her mom’s Princess Leia buns. After she filmed her scenes, Lourd said Fisher suggested she should consider acting. 

“My mom was telling me I should act — my mom? The lady who spent my entire life convincing me acting was the last thing I should do?” Lourd wrote. “It couldn’t be true. But it was. My mom wanted me to be an actress. That was when I realized I had to give it a shot.”

Billie Lourd was ‘proud’ to work with Carrie Fisher

RELATED: How Billie Lourd Felt After Reading Carrie Fisher’s Memoir About Her Affair With Harrison Ford

Lourd said working with Fisher on Star Wars changed her life. Not only did her mother encourage her to act, but she finally got to see Princess Leia in action. After Star Wars’: The Force Awakens, Lourd reprised her role as Lieutenant Connix in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The film was the last one Fisher worked on before she died of cardiac arrest in December 2016. Lourd recalled how “proud” she was to act alongside her mom during that time. 

“I thought getting to make one Star Wars movie with her was a once-in-a-lifetime thing; then they asked me to come do the next movie, and I got to do my once-in-a-lifetime twice,” she said.

“On our second movie together, I really tried to take a step back and appreciate what I was doing,” Lourd continued. “I couldn’t tell her because she’d think I was lame, but getting to watch her be Leia this time made me feel like the proud mom.”