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Chynna Phillips: Why I Tried to Divorce Billy Baldwin

Chynna Phillips: Why I Tried to Divorce Billy Baldwin 18th Annual Genesis awards
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She held on, alright! After Chynna Phillips‘ half-sister Mackenzie Phillips claimed she had a sexual relationship with their now-deceased father (John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas) and fearing her 19-year marriage to actor Billy Baldwin, 47, was crumbling, the singer, 42, buckled from the stress and admitted herself into rehab due to the stress in February.

In the new issue of Us Weekly, the mom of three (to Jameson, 10, Vance, 8, and Brooke, 5, with Baldwin) explained the saga, how she saved the marriage and her reunion with ’90’s pop group Wilson Phillips (they’re recording a Christmas album due this October). Want the full story that didn’t make it into the issue? Read on… How is it being back with Wilson Phillips again?

Chynna Phillips: It’s only different in the sense that we all have children now, we’re a little bit more mature (laughs)…we’re just in a different place in our lives. We’re married, and happy, and it’s nice. It takes a lot of the drama out of it.

Us: Do you kind of lose yourself in the fact that you have kids and now you’re reuniting and playing again? Or are you used to it?

CP: No, it’s hard now. My heart is being split apart. Half of my heart is at work where the other half is at home with the kids and wanting to be at home, so it’s a bit of a struggle, but at the end of the day, I think it’s healthy for me to do what I love and be creative and to contribute that way to the world, and I also think that it’s a good example to my kids — that when you grow up, you do what you’re passionate about. If I were to stop cold turkey doing everything that I loved, I don’t think I’d be a good mom. I wouldn’t be honest about who I really am.

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Us: What kind of reaction do you get from fans today? Do they talk about their favorite song or what their music meant to them?

CP: All the time! It means so much to me. It makes me feel old because people are like, “I used to listen to you when I was in the 3rd grade!” or “I used to take the brushes and sing in the mirror with my sister!” Our music really struck a chord for a lot of people in that generation, and it’s very emotional for people because it was like what Oprah said, kind of a soundtrack to their lives. Sometimes fans will walk up and they will be in tears! Like, “You saved me. ‘Hold On’ saved my life…” — stuff that you can’t put a price tag on.

Us: Does it feel natural to be back and with the girls again?

CP: It’s like slipping on some old slippers! I feel so comfortable, so at ease, and it’s really like not even a moment has passed.


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Us: I know this past year has been so difficult for you, and you’ve been so honest about it with your fans. Can we talk about your decision to divorce Billy Baldwin earlier this year?

CP: It’s our 19th anniversary this year and we’ve been together a really long time. I started to feel a little flat-lined, like I need more and want more, and I know we deserve more from our marriage. It became so about the children and so about my business, his business, and I missed him. I really missed him. I missed laughing together, taking our little vacations together.

Us: Did you do that a lot in the beginning?

CP: Yeah, all the time. We had Jameson seven years into our relationship, so we had a lot of time to hang out and be a childless couple, so I guess I was just really nostalgic for those days and being able to implement a little bit more into our lives now. We needed to prune like in the garden, and once we did some pruning, we saw the fruit again. So, I basically freaked out like a chick does. I totally flipped out. I filed for divorce.

Us: What were you feeling that day when you filed for divorce?

CP: I jut felt hopeless, like there was not going to be the change I was looking for. Trust me, Billy has his own issues too. I’m not the perfect princess here. It’s not a one-sided story. But, the truth is that we love each other so very much. We are best friends, and I think I needed to jump off the cliff in order to see what it would really feel like to make that decision, and I knew that wow, that was not the right decision for me, not for my family, not for us.

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Us: How is everything now that you’re back together?

CP: We are working in therapy together just by taking more time to communicate and talk and laugh and play scrabble and have sex! Just being together as a couple and remembering that the whole family unit is going to fall apart if the two of us aren’t strong. We have to put each other first and then the children. I think we had our priorities a little screwed up.

It would have been the biggest mistake of my life if I had divorced Billy. He’s an incredible man. He’s just one of those people who is just so to sensitive, thoughtful, loving, and caring, and he has been there for me in a way that is very much like a father figure. In some ways that really works and some ways it doesn’t, so that was something we had to work on. Like, he’s my husband, not my daddy, you know? We needed to be on a little more equal plane. Marriage is a beautiful thing, and anyone who is in my situation and considering doing something like that, don’t do it. Don’t do it. Give it a lot of time before you jump into that decision. If you have a family, especially. I prayed about it a lot in my higher power, Jesus. Basically, in my heart, I knew that this was a mistake.

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Us: You were so brave to realize that you needed and wanted help during this time.

CP: Everything happened at the same time, so it was like a perfect storm.

Us: You mean when Mackenzie came out with her book and publicly revealed that she had a sexual relationship with your dad — right when you had a new solo album and tour out?

CP: That was a real disappointment because it just kind of took away the fire from my project, and here I am now answering questions about my sister and my father, which was very emotional and painful for me. It was understandably a very difficult time in my life, and when I was also on a tour for 10 weeks away from my family. All my feelings came to the surface. I couldn’t even see straight anymore. Everything was polarized. Everything was such a big deal.

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Us: You then took a break and went to rehab to deal with the stress for a month. What have you learned since then?

CP: I’ve learned that my husband is indispensable and that my role as a mother and a wife is absolutely the most most important role I will ever play in my life, and I learned that I am incredibly strong and a survivor, and that my higher power, Jesus, will get me through anything, even the lowest points because when you hit the bottom there is no where to go but up.

By Ian Drew for To read more of Ian’s blog, click here and don’t forget to follow him on Twitter.

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