Lily Collins reaches out to her father Phil Collins in moving open letter

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Kayleigh Dray
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Lily Collins has penned her debut book, entitled Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, in which she tackles a number of difficult topics – including her relationship with her father.

The 27-year-old actor is one of the former Genesis star’s five children by three different wives – and the musician was frequently absent throughout her childhood.

However, in an emotionally-charged open letter (which has been published alongside the book), Collins has forgiven her father for his past behaviour, and admits that she has learned to accept the “sadness and anger” she feels towards him.

“I forgive you for not always being there where I needed and for not being the dad I expected,” she writes. “I forgive the mistakes you made. And although it may seem like it is too late, it’s not.

“There’s still so much time to move forward.”

Collins is the only child from her father’s second marriage to Jill Tavelman. She was five years old when they split, and Tavelman took her daughter to live with her in Los Angeles. As Collins’ father was usually touring, she usually only saw him during the school holidays.

“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 in her letter. 

“I’m learning how to accept your actions and vocalise how they made me feel. I accept and honour the sadness and anger I felt toward the things you did or didn’t do, did or didn’t give me.”

In the book, Collins also describes her struggles with anorexia and bulimia, which she links to stress caused by her father’s divorce from his third wife, Orianne Cevey, nine years ago.

“Not only did I start viewing myself differently physically, but I began limiting my happiness by controlling my eating habits,” she writes, according to an excerpt in the Daily Mail.

“I couldn't handle the pain and confusion surrounding my dad's divorce, and I was having a hard time balancing being a teenager with pursuing two different grown-up careers.”

Collins goes on to describe the “terrible disconnect” that grew between her and her father as she got older, living on a different continent from him.

“Many of my deepest insecurities stem from these issues with my dad,” she says, before going on to reveal that she has since reconnected with her father and they are working on rebuilding their relationship.

Images: Rex Pictures


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.