27-year-old Lily Collins recently wrote a book of personal essays called Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me. I don’t know if there’s an essay in that book about her relationship with her most important and supportive lifelong companions (aka her eyebrows). But there is an essay in there about her relationship with her dad, Phil Collins. As it turns out, Philly wasn’t exactly going to daddy-daughter dances with Lily and letting her clip bows into whatever hair she could find on his head.
Phil and Lily didn’t have a great relationship after he split from his wife and her mom, Jill Tavelman, when she was five. Phil and Jill’s divorce was a bit of a mess. At the time of their split in 1994, there was a rumor that Phil asked Jill for a divorce via fax. Phil later denied that. Jill told People at the time that Lily would go months without seeing her dad, and that he never called her on the phone because he needed to save his voice for singing. Jill claims Phil and Lily spoke through fax machine.
Lily never really wanted to speak about her relationship with her dad until now. Billboard has a few quotes from that particular essay, titled A Letter to All Dads. Lily gets real about just how weird and sad it was. Like how she’d try to be on her best behavior during their visits in an attempt to make Phil want to come back and visit again.
“Because my dad was often gone, I never wanted to do anything that would make him stay away even longer. 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. I’ve realized that many of my deepest insecurities stem from these issues with my dad. 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.”
Lily Collins also wants Phil to know she’s forgiven him “for not always being there when I needed and for not being the dad I expected.” She’s also willing to move on from those years.
“There’s still so much time to move forward. And I want to. I’m inviting you to join me. I’ll always be your little girl.”
This whole situation is an incredible bummer when you realize that in 1999, when Lily was 10, Phil recorded the song You’ll Be in My Heart for Disney’s Tarzan. You’ll Be in My Heart is written from the perspective of Tarzan’s adoptive gorilla mom about how she’ll always love and protect him. Why do I get the feeling that the original draft of that song was called You’ll Be in My Heart, and Sometimes in My Hands if there isn’t a Paper Jam in the Fax Machine.