Lily Collins Writes an Open Letter to Dad Phil Collins: 'I Forgive the Mistakes You Made'
In Lily Collins‘ new book of essays, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, the actress aims to express her truth to inspire her young fans. In it, she opens up about one of her most painful truths: the tumultuous relationship she’s had with her famous father, Phil Collins.
“Because my dad was often gone, I never wanted to do anything that would make him stay away even longer,” she writes in a open letter 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.”
In a section of her book titled “A Letter to All Dads,” she goes on to explain that her parents divorced when she was five years old. Her musician father then “moved from our home in England to Switzerland, where he stayed for more than twenty years.”
The Golden Globe-nominated actress writes that although she always knew her father loved her, their estrangement deeply affected her.
“I’ve realized that many of my deepest insecurities stem from these issues with my dad,” she writes. “It’s taken me over a decade to resolve some of them (others I’m still resolving) and to finally build up the courage to speak my mind to him.”
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The actress spoke with PEOPLE last year about her reasons behind writing the book, which goes beyond her relationship with her dad and delves into her troubles with past boyfriends and her longtime struggle with eating disorders.
“It’s through those moments of self-discovery and hard, hard times of struggling when you feel like you’re at your darkest moment, that the magic and the light comes through,” she said, “You go, ‘Wow, I went through this for a reason.’ As long as I know other people are going through the same thing, that makes that struggle a little bit better.”
Motivating other young girls is part of the reason she wrote the open letter to her dad.
“Even if they’re listening, sometimes our dads still don’t truly hear what we’re saying,” writes Collins. “So feel free to read this letter to your dad or use it as a guide to write your own … All you can do is stay true and tell him how you feel.”
In her letter, Collins holds nothing back.
“We all make choices and, although I don’t excuse some of yours, at the end of the day we can’t rewrite the past,” she writes, “I’m learning how to accept your actions and vocalize how they made me feel… I now understand that my frustrations surrounding our communication are not about changing you, but accepting you as you are.”
Throughout her letter, she asks her dad to take the time to meet the woman she’s become.
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“I forgive you for not always being there when I needed and for not being the dad I expected,” she writes. “I forgive the mistakes you made.”
Just as her book is an expression of the new woman she’s become, the letter ends with an invitation for a new start to their relationship.
“There’s still so much time to move forward. And I want to. I’m inviting you to join me,” she concludes. “I’ll always be your little girl.”