Brianne Tracy
November 08, 2017 08:00 AM

Joely Fisher was born into one of Hollywood’s most famous families — but behind the Tinsel Town glitter was a dark side.

The daughter of legendary singer Eddie Fisher, and half-sister of Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher, is opening up about her famous family’s struggles with addiction in her new book, Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories and Misadventures.

“My first experience with drug use was as a toddler,” the 50-year-old actress writes in the book, excerpted exclusively in the new issue of PEOPLE. “I had a baby’s-eye view of my own father tying off, prepping a needle, and injecting drugs into his veins. I was propped up in an inappropriate proximity to My Papa.”

Emily Berl

Eddie and actress Connie Stevens had what Joely calls a “tumultuous” relationship. Unmarried when Joely was born in 1967, they wed after Connie got pregnant with Joely’s sister Tricia months later.

“All those magazines talked about Eddie as a cheater, a drug addict,” she writes. “Connie came home one day and found Eddie in bed with two Swedish girls. As she tells it, she left — in her sequined gown — with a baby on each hip and a diaper bag slung over her shoulder. She left Eddie Fisher behind and started to create what would be our family.”

Eddie would struggle with drug addiction for almost four decades before getting clean with the support of his fifth wife Betty Lin.

Emily Berl

Despite not having a relationship with her father until her teens, Joely reveals she followed in his destructive footsteps as she made her own way in Hollywood, landing roles on Broadway and parts in movies and TV, and occasionally feeling she would never measure up to her family’s success.

Happy Day after Fathers Day…this is how we do it Fisher style #dad #fathersday #dayafter #love

A post shared by Joely Fisher (@msjoelyfisher) on Jun 19, 2017 at 8:14am PDT

“Sometimes I hid my family connections,” she writes, adding that she would sometimes use her family connections to her advantage. “And when I didn’t feel I was enough: ‘My mom had an affair with Elvis.'”

She was not the only one on the family to inherit his struggles – older sister Carrie, who was born to Eddie’s first wife Debbie Reynolds, also battled addiction and suffered from bipolar disorder.

To read more about Fisher’s story, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Carrie – who had cocaine and heroin in her system when she died at the age of 60 in December 2016 – proved to be someone Joely could turn to and trust.

RELATED VIDEO: Joely Fisher Shares How Her Sister Carrie Inspired Her

“In 2004, I went on a two-night bender,” she writes. “I called Carrie from New York at three, four in the morning, because I knew I could. ‘Carrie . . . I think I’m in trouble.’ She was the only one I could talk to who wouldn’t judge me, who knew the experience. One junkie to another.”

Overcoming her family’s legacy of addiction has been a battle for Joely, but she’s made it through with a family of her own, which includes her husband of nearly 21 years, Christopher Duddy, 56, and five children: Skylar Grace, 16, True Harlow, 11, Olivia Luna, 9, and her husband’s two sons from a previous marriage, Cameron and Collin.

“I did have a false bravado with drugs, and I found my adult female body and person didn’t need that,” Joely tells PEOPLE. “[Once I was] a mother I was like, ‘I certainly don’t want to be not present for them.'”

She adds: “I feel like I’m alive, in part, because I’ve looked at what it has done to the rest of my family.”

Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories and Misadventures goes on sale Nov. 14.

Watch Joely Fisher and more author interviews on Shelf Lifeavailable Tuesday, November 21 on PeopleTV.  Go to ‪PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device. 

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