Why ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ Star Carol Burnett Said Her Daughter Hated Her: ‘She Hated My Guts’

Carol Burnett is known for her hilarious humor and witty comedic acts on The Carol Burnett Show. But the comedian has a darker side to her personal life. Burnett’s daughter, Carrie Hamilton, died at 38 years old due to cancer. And prior to that, Hamilton dealt with addiction that eroded her relationship with Burnett.

Burnett’s looked back at her daughter’s addiction and noted a time when Hamilton said she hated her. Here’s what happened.

‘The Carol Burnett Show’ star Carol Burnett has a family history of addiction

Carol Burnett with daughter Carrie Hamilton circa 1983
Carol Burnett with daughter Carrie Hamilton circa 1983 | PL Gould/Getty Images

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While Burnett seems lighthearted on the small screen, she had a difficult childhood. UPI notes both of Burnett’s parents were alcoholics, and they died in their 40s. She was then raised by her grandmother in a one-bedroom apartment.

“It was not a pleasant childhood,” Burnett explained. “There are some that were happier and some that have been really miserable. Mine was not miserable.”

While growing up with little money and a difficult relationship with her parents and guardians wasn’t easy, Burnett noted she was still very much loved by those around her. And everyone around her dealt with hard times, too. “Ilomay, my best girlfriend, lived with her grandmother — her parents were divorced — and most everybody in that neighborhood was on relief,” Burnett added. “It was the Depression.”

As for her parents, she said her father was funny when he was drinking. But her mother was a different story. “He was like a drunk Jimmy Stewart,” Burnett told interviewer Lee Cowan about her father, according to CBS. “Sweet, but unfortunately he couldn’t hold a job, he had the disease.” 

Carrie Hamilton, Burnett’s daughter, ‘hated’ Burnett through her own addiction

Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett
Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Burnett was no stranger to dysfunction. And hard times with her family hit once she had children of her own. In 2016, Burnett talked to People about Hamilton’s drug addiction that started when the child was just 13.

“When my older daughter Carrie was a teenager, she got into drugs,” Burnett said. “I’m happy to say she got off drugs, but during those three years it was hell.”

Burnett noted to the publication that she had to send Hamilton to rehab before she was 18 years old. “I put her in a third rehab place, and oh my God, she hated me,” Burnett told People. “I came to the conclusion that I had to love her enough to let her hate me.”

Looking back at Hamilton’s addiction, Burnett reiterated how difficult the rehab decision was. “My daughter Carrie got into drugs. In that situation, don’t be their best friend,” Burnett added. “When we got her into a third rehab, oh, she hated my guts! You have to love them enough to let them hate you.”

Burnett and Hamilton had a good relationship until Hamilton’s death

Joe Hamilton, Carrie Hamilton, and Carol Burnett
Joe Hamilton, Carrie Hamilton, and Carol Burnett | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Hamilton was able to get sober before she turned 18, and she grew quite close to Burnett. Burnett even noted they were “joined at the hip” through Hamilton’s 20s and 30s. But Hamilton then got lung cancer and died at 38.

“Carrie died of cancer at 38,” Today notes Burnett said. “But in the hospital she said, ‘Every day I wake up and decide today I’m going to love my life.’ And that was her mantra.”

While Burnett will never recover from the loss of her daughter, she’s learned to keep living in Hamilton’s absence. “You don’t get over it, but you cope,” People notes she said. “What else can you do? When Carrie died, I didn’t want to get out of bed for a while, but I had a play to finish that we started that Hal Prince was going to direct. I owed it to Carrie, and I owed it to Hal.”

Burnett also noted that when she’s asked her daughter for a sign, she’s gotten one. And she knows wherever she is, Hamilton will follow.

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