Lily Collins' parents — musician Phil Collins and socialite Jill Tavelman — split when she was five

By Ale Russian
March 08, 2017 09:51 PM
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Lily Collins has grown up in the spotlight — but it hasn’t always been easy.

The 27-year-old actress was caught in the crosshairs of her parents’ divorce when her famous dad, legendary musician Phil Collins, and her American socialite mom, Jill Tavelman, split in 1994 when she was five. The tumultuous divorce proceedings took two years before being finalized.

At the time of the split, there was a widespread rumor that Phil had asked Tavelman for a divorce through fax — the star’s preferred mode of communication at the time.

“[It] really hurt my career, or my public persona,” the 66-year-old told ABC News last fall, at the time he was releasing his memoir, of the fax rumor. “And it was based on an untruth … So, I just thought it would be an opportunity just to lay it all out, and if I say it didn’t happen, I’m trusting that people will believe me.”

Credit: Alan Davidson/Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock

A newborn Collins with her parents in 1989

The divorce was allegedly spurred by an affair the Genesis drummer and frontman had with an old girlfriend, causing Tavelman to hit back at him about how he had been neglecting their daughter.

Lily “hasn’t seen her father for two months,” Tavelman was quoted telling PEOPLE at the time. “She keeps weeping, ‘I want my daddy.’ Phil sends her faxes, but I know she’d rather hear his voice. Phil doesn’t phone because he has to save his voice for the next day.”

Credit: Ron Galella/WireImage

After the divorce, Lily’s relationship with her dad reportedly remained strained once she moved from London to Los Angeles with her mom, though it’s not something she historically chose to address in interviews: “I know the truth and I know how it was for me, and I know how much I love my family – and that’s all that really matters,” she told The Guardian in 2012.

“I’ve grown up knowing that you put as much of your private life out there as you feel comfortable with,” she added at the time.

Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty

But now, the young actress is opening up about her famous father in an open letter she wrote for her new memoir, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me.

“Because my dad was often gone, I never wanted to do anything that would make him stay away even longer,” she writes in the new book, released Tuesday. “I became extra careful about what I said and how I said it, afraid he’d think I was angry or didn’t love him. And the truth is, I was angry. I missed him and wanted him there.”

She then addresses her dad directly, writing, “I forgive you for not always being there when I needed and for not being the dad I expected. I forgive the mistakes you made.”