When Debbie Reynolds passed away, her son said that her last words were that she “wanted to be with Carrie.” However, her relationship with her daughter, Carrie Fisher – who passed away the day before Reynolds – wasn’t always the best. The two had a rough, turbulent, and sometimes non-existent relationship over the years. It wasn’t until recently that the two were able to have a great mother-daughter relationship.
For years, Fisher said that many of the issues she had wither her mother started early and came mostly from the fact that her mother was Debbie Reynolds. Not only did this fact mean that Fisher had quite the shoes to fill, but she was constantly looked over while her mother got the attention. This was an issue for Fisher that only worsened as Reynolds pushed her into the spotlight.
While Fisher found herself in reading and writing, Reynolds was an actress and wanted to be in the spotlight and on the stage. So, naturally, she pushed Fisher in that direction as well. That was another point of tension between the two actresses. Fisher has readily admitted that she didn’t want to be an actress.
So, in Fisher’s early twenties, she turned to drugs and alcohol. She abused everything and anything she could get her hands on, saying that she was self-medicating for her bi-polar disorder. Eventually, she went to rehab after she got out, she didn’t want anything to do with her mother.
“We had a fairly volatile relationship earlier on in my 20s,” Fisher said during an interview with Oprah. “I didn’t want to be around her. I did not want to be Debbie Reynolds’ daughter.”
Of course, this separation wasn’t easy on Reynolds. Despite wanting to see and speak to her daughter, Fisher wasn’t having any of it. The estrangement lasted for around ten years, and Reynolds admits that it was “very painful, very heartbreaking.”
Eventually, Fisher sobered up and started taking care of herself physically and mentally. It was only then that the two were able to mend fences. They were able to finally embrace their differences. Fisher especially was able to come to grips with the fact that she wasn’t going to be like her mother, and that it was perfectly fine that she wasn’t.
“I’m not as intellectual as my daughter. She says bigger worlds than I [do], I don’t even know what they mean,” Reynolds once told PEOPLE. “But she’s so amusing to me and it’s wonderful to be around her.”
Reynolds also said that there were plenty of things she admired about Fisher, most importantly that she was a survivor. Fisher had been through a lot over the years, but she made it through it, despite it being so much easier to just give up and give in.
“I admire that she is alive, that she has chosen to make it,” Reynolds said. “I want happiness for my daughter – I want Carrie to be happy.”
In the end, Fisher said that she enjoyed her life and what she has chosen to do and that is how she died. Reynolds, after being away from her daughter too long in life, decided she didn’t want to be away from her for too long in death. The two beloved actresses will be missed dearly, but at least they have each other.
Reynolds and Fisher will be starring in an upcoming HBO documentary, Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, set to debut in 2017.
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