Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the last time we'll see Carrie Fisher portray Princess Leia on screen, inevitable holograms notwithstanding. But accompanying Fisher in her final foray with the Rebel Alliance was one Lieutenant Kaydel Ko Connix, portrayed by Fisher's real-life daughter, Billie Lourd, who's appeared in shows like Scream Queens and American Horror Story, as well as the movie Booksmart and all three films in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Fisher has spoken openly about her complex relationship with her own mother, the Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds, and the unique struggles that accompany being thrust into the Hollywood spotlight at an early age. While Fisher has been extremely open about her struggles with chemical dependency and mental health issues, her relationship with Lourd was a strong one, proving that in many ways, the Alderaan apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Here’s what Lourd and Fisher have had to say about their ever-changing relationship.
Lourd Didn’t Like Princess Leia At First
The American Horror Story star describes how her mom's royal role factored into her life:
I guess Princess Leia was kind of like my stepmom - technically family, but deep down I didn’t really like her. She literally and metaphorically lived on a planet I had never been to. When Leia was around, there wasn’t as much room for my mom - for Carrie.
It’s not shocking Lourd would have an issue with Leia. Fisher herself was very vocal about her complex relationship with the character. Sure, Star Wars launched Fisher's career. But despite all of the merchandising featuring her face, Fisher has never seen a dime. She explained, “I signed away my likeness for free. In those days, there was no such thing as a 'likeness,' which is a funny thing to say coming from the family that I came from.”
Fisher added in a 2011 interview, “Lately I feel like I'm Minnie Mouse - the identity of Princess Leia so eclipses any other identity that I've ever had.” Lourd clearly sensed this early on in life, realizing that the more Fisher just became "Princess Leia" to people, the less she got to be her own person, and Lourd's mother.
Ironically, now Lourd herself is in charge of the character's legacy. She explains, "Suddenly I was in charge of what would come of [Fisher's] books, her movies, and a bunch of other overwhelming things. I was now the keeper of Leia."
Lourd Inspired Fisher To Stay Sober And On Her Meds
Fisher has been open about her struggles with bipolar disorder and substance dependency. When deciding to have Lourd, she had to stop taking her antidepressants and, at the time, she was still struggling with sobriety. Combined with the physical and mental challenges of pregnancy, it was a tough time for the When Harry Met Sally co-star.
Fisher's mother Debbie Reynolds writes in her own memoir, Unsinkable, "Having a baby is hard enough without all the mental changes Carrie went through." She added that Lourd's love "anchors Carrie. It gives her strength. She and Billie work through everything and are in a great place."
Lourd's presence also inspired her mom stay sober and on her medication. Fisher told Diane Sawyer in 2000:
Prior to having a child, I really did feel, it's my business if I wanted to stop my medications. I no longer feel that's so. It's a much easier decision if you have a child. You really don't want to be the person putting that look into anyone's eyes after awhile.
Lourd Didn’t Want To Watch ‘Star Wars’ As A Kid
So many children across multiple generations can fondly recall their earliest memories of watching Star Wars, but baby Lourd was not having it. Lourd recalls:
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?"
Lourd's objection at the time wasn't some philosophical opposition to the property that helped launch, then came to overly define, her mother's Hollywood arc - it was just a really, really loud movie.
Bryan Lourd Was The 'Stable' Parent; Fisher Was The 'Fun' One
Lourd’s parents provided wildly different home experiences. Her father is Bryan Lourd, co-chairman of the Hollywood mega-firm Creative Artists Agency. She described their home life together as stable and routine-oriented, saying, “He gets home at the same time every day, and we eat dinner together, we do homework together, we watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and cry, and then go to sleep.”
Life with Fisher was vastly different. Lourd’s American Horror Story castmate Sarah Paulson briefly stayed with Fisher when she first arrived in Los Angeles when Lourd was 10 years old. Paulson describes their home life as “living in treehouse, a fairyland.”
At Mom’s it was like "Let’s put Christmas lights in the palm trees at 2 am!" Do you remember when Sharper Image was 24 hours?... We went there all the time, 1 am or 3 am, just picking up little trinkets as if that was what you do!
Pretty much your average, ordinary, humdrum childhood. With the occasional spur-of-the-moment 3 am run for high-end electronics.