Billie Lourd opens up about life without Carrie Fisher, being raised amid drug addiction and mental illness


Billie Lourd is getting candid about what it was like growing up with her mother, the late Carrie Fisher.

The 25-year-old actress covers Town & Country's September issue, and in an interview with her American Horror Story co-star Sarah Paulson, opens up about the lessons she's learned from both Fisher and her grandmother, the late Debbie Reynolds. Lourd says her childhood was balanced by her father, Bryan Lourd, who had more structure, and her mother, who was famously eccentric.

"He gets home at the same time every day, and we eat dinner together, we do homework together, we watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and cry, and then go to sleep," Lourd recalls. "At Mom's it was like, 'Let's put Christmas lights in the palm trees at 2 a.m.' Do you remember when Sharper Image was 24 hours? We went there all the time, 1 a.m. or 3 a.m., just picking up little trinkets as if that was what you do!"

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE: Todd Fisher on How Billie Lourd Is Coping With Tragic Family Deaths -- She's 'a Pretty Powerful Gal'

17 PHOTOS
Billie Lourd and Carrie Fisher together
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Billie Lourd and Carrie Fisher together
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 14: Actors Carrie Fisher (L) and Billie Lourd attend the World Premiere of ÂStar Wars: The Force Awakens at the Dolby, El Capitan, and TCL Theatres on December 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: (L-R) Actresses Carrie Fisher, Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award recipient Debbie Reynolds, and Billie Lourd pose in the press room during the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Actress Billie Lourd arrives at the US-Ireland Alliance Pre-Academy Awards Honors event at Bad Robot on February 19, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 11: Actress Billie Lourd attends the 2015 FOX programming presentation at Wollman Rink in Central Park on May 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Actress Billie Lourd attends the US-Ireland Aliiance's Oscar Wilde Awards event at J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot on February 19, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for US-IRELAND ALLIANCE)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: (L-R) Actresses Carrie Fisher, Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award recipient Debbie Reynolds, and Billie Lourd pose in the press room during the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Carrie Fisher (L) and Billie Lourd attend the 2011 Silver Hill Hospital gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on November 3, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Carrie Fisher (L) and Billie Lourd attend the 2011 Silver Hill Hospital gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on November 3, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Actress Billie Lourd, cinematographer Todd Fisher and actress Carrie Fisher attend the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm's 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' at the Dolby Theatre on December 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Carrie Fisher and daughter Billie Catherine Lourd attend the World Premiere of 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' at Odeon Leicester Square on June 29, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Carrie Fisher (C) and daughter Billie Catherine Lourd attend the World Premiere of 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' at Odeon Leicester Square on June 29, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: (L-R) Todd Fisher, actress Debbie Reynolds, recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, actresses Carrie Fisher and Billie Lourd pose in the press room at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 07: Actress and writer Carrie Fisher (R) and her daughter Billie Lourd arrive at The Paley Center For Media & TCM Present Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood Memorabilia Exhibit Reception on June 7, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
Billie Lourd and mother Carrie Fisher attend Paley Center & TCM present Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood memorabilia exhibit reception at The Paley Center for Media on June 7, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 29: Carrie Fisher and Billie Lourd attend 'Snow Day' Premiere on January 29, 2000 at the Paramount Theater in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - DECEMBER 3: Carrie Fisher, Billie Lourd and Debbie Reynolds attend Radio City Christmas Opening on December 3, 1999 at the Universal Ampitheater in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
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Lourd admits she sometimes had a problem with her mother -- who wrote five books and a one-woman show -- being so open about their personal lives.

"I had a hard time with it in the beginning," she shares. "I was very protective of my dad and would stop her and be like, 'Can you take out that thing where you say, 'I turned him gay.' Can we not have that on Broadway?'"

However, she notes that Fisher did listen to her requests for privacy.

"Debbie did it to her, so anytime I came up to her and said, 'Please tone this down,' she would, because she went through it with Debbie and knew how hard it was," she explains. "Now, looking back and watching her interviews, I try to model what I do after her. She was so good at it. She would get so annoyed with me if I ever did a fake interview. She'd say, 'Tell the real story.'"

But a cautionary tale she says she's learned from her mother is to not live "too out in the open."

"It's good to be authentic, to help other people, but if it's not helping other people, then don't do it," she muses. "There were a couple incidents I wish she could have kept to herself. But, you know, that was the beauty of her."

As for her childhood, Lourd shares that it was unconventional to say the least. She reveals that at one point, they tried to adopt a sibling for her, but had trouble with the screening process.

"I always wanted siblings," Lourd explains. "I was bummed that I didn't have any -- even just to be a witness. Sometimes when crazy things were happening, I wanted to ask, 'Is this just me?' My mom tried to adopt a kid. You know when you ask for a puppy? I asked for a sister. One year I was like, 'Hey, Mom, I want a sister.' We tried to adopt -- like, we did a whole thing, and, no, the home study was not strong."

Lourd is blunt about growing up with Fisher, who was famously open about her struggles with mental illness and drug addiction. The Scream Queens actress was similarly honest in her statement after her mom's death, which in part read, "My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases."

Lourd has no regrets.

"It ultimately helped so many more people, and that's why I made that statement," she says. "A lot of people have had experiences like mine, too. Tons of people grow up with mentally ill parents who have drug problems. I read this incredible book, Adult Children of Alcoholics -- it's not a great narrative, but it's a fun psych book."

44 PHOTOS
Carrie Fisher's best red carpet moments
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Carrie Fisher's best red carpet moments
Carrie Fisher during Carrie Fisher Sighting at Chasen's Restaurant in Beverly Hills - April 8, 1975 at Chasen's Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - CIRCA 1980: Paul Simon and Carrie Fisher circa 1980 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 16: Carrie Fisher attends Giorgio Armani Fashion Show on September 16, 1980 at the RCA Promenade in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Dr. Arnold Klein and Carrie Fisher (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1989: Brother and sister actors Carrie Fisher and Todd Fisher pose for a portrait at an event in circa 1989 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maureen Donaldson/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Carrie Fisher during 5th Annual American Cinematheque Ball Honoring Ron Howard at Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, CA, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Gore Vidal and Carrie Fisher during New Yorker-Tina Brown All Movie Issue Party at Bel-Air Hotel in Bel-Air, California, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
Carrie Fisher during Artists Rights Foundation Honors Steven Spielberg with 1995 John Huston Award at Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Carrie Fisher during 'Stealing Beauty' Beverly Hills Premiere at Cecchi Gori Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 2: Actress Beverly D'Angelo, actress Carrie Fisher and actress Holly Hunter attend the Third Annual Premiere Women in Hollywood Luncheon on December 2, 1996 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
WESTWOOD, CA - JANUARY 18: Actress Carrie Fisher and actress Sharon Stone attend the 'Star Wars' 20th Anniversary Screening on January 18, 1997 at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
384639 01: 6/8/98 Westwood, CA. Carrie Fisher at the premiere of 'Six Days, Seven Nights.' (Photo by Brenda Chase/Liaison)
Carrie Fisher during 22nd Annual Women In Film Crystal Awards - June 19, 1998 at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
(Original Caption) Carrie Fisher arrives. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Arrival of Carrie Fisher with her daughter. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Cindy Crawford, Earwin 'Magic' Johnson and Carrie Fisher. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
Paul Mazursky & Carrie Fisher during Center to Prevent Handgun Violence Dinner at Pickford Estate in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Carrie Fisher during American Film Institute Honors Harrison Ford with 2000 Lifetime Achievement Award at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Carrie Fisher during 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Actress Carrie Fisher and Producer David Geffen attend the Beverly Hills Premiere of 'A Time to Kill' on July 9, 1996 at Academy Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Carrie Fisher (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
Carrie Fisher during amfAR's 'Honoring With Pride' Benefit at Chelsea Piers in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)
Carrie Fisher during Cirque du Soleil Presents Its Latest Touring Production, 'Varekai' at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 20: Actor and author, Carrie Fisher attends the 38th Annual City of Lights Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 20, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. Actor Carrie Fisher was honored at the event. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images).
Pell James and Carrie Fisher during 'Undiscovered' Los Angeles Premiere - Red Carpet at Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by J.Sciulli/WireImage for LIONSGATE)
WESTWOOD, CA - MAY 1: Actress Carrie Fisher arrives at the Geffen Playhouse for Backstage at the Geffen Playhouse's Annual Gala featuring a star-studded lineup of celebrity performers and VIP guests celebrating the Geffen's past and present in the newly renovated Geffen Playhouse on May 1, 2006 in Westwood, California. (Photo by John M. Heller/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 1: Actress Carrie Fisher (R) embraces her mother Debbie Reynolds while walking down the red carpet to participate in 'Jane. Well Done. A Celebrity Roast of Jane Fonda' event at the Georgia Aquarium, June 1, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia. The event benefits the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. (Photo by Erik Lesser/Getty Images)
STUDIO CITY, CA - AUGUST 13: Actress Carrie Fisher arrives at the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner held at CBS Radford Studios on August 13, 2006 in Studio City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Carrie Fisher (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 18: Author Nikki Grimes attends Pajama Program's Obama Pajama Party Inauguration Charity Ball to Benefit Children in Need at Ronald Reagan Building on January 18, 2009 in Washington , D.C. (Photo by Ilya Dreyvitser/WireImage for Pajama Program)
Carrie Fisher arrives for the 'Wishful Drinking' - Los Angeles Premiere at Linwood Dunn Theater at the Pickford Center for Motion Study on December 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Actress Carrie Fisher (R) arrives to the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Hall Pass' on February 23, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Carrie Fisher attends the 2011 Silver Hill Hospital gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on November 3, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 16: Actress Carrie Fisher speaks onstage during the 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 16, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. 23774_001_2260.JPG (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage)
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 14: (L-R) Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds attend the all-star gala and press preview of Profiles in History's Debbie Reynolds-The Auction Finale at Debbie Reynolds's Dance Studio on May 14, 2014 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Actress Carrie Fisher attends the Midnight Mission's 100 year anniversary Golden Heart Gala held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on September 30, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Honoree Debbie Reynolds (L) and actress Carrie Fisher pose in the press room at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Actress Carrie Fisher attends the US-Ireland Alliance Pre-Academy Awards Honors event at Bad Robot on February 19, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Actress Carrie Fisher attends the 7th annual Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Carrie Fisher attends the European Premiere of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' at Leicester Square on December 16, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 14: Carrie Fisher and her dog Gary attend the 'Mademoiselle (Agassi/The Handmaiden)') Premiere at the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 14, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Actress Carrie Fisher attends the 54th New York Film Festival 'Bright Lights' screening at Alice Tully Hall on October 10, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by CJ Rivera/FilmMagic)
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"And it's such a common thing, and people really don't talk about it," she adds. "She talked about being mentally ill and having issues with drugs, and a lot of people don't talk about what it was like growing up with that."

Fisher and Reynolds both died in December, and Lourd says holding on to her sense of humor is what got her through her grief.

"If life's not funny, then it's just true -- and that would be unacceptable," she explains. "Even when she died, that was what got me through that whole thing. When Debbie died the next day, I could just picture her saying, 'Well, she's upstaging me once again, of course -- she had to."

Lourd reveals she is now living in Fisher's home and is having a couple of friends move in with her. Though she strives to uphold both their legacies, she also acknowledges that she now gets to be her own person.

"I've always kind of lived in their shadows, and now is the first time in my life when I get to own my life and stand on my own," she says. "I love being my mother's daughter, and it's something I always will be, but now I get to be just Billie."

WATCH: Billie Lourd Wears Princess Leia Dress to Pay Tribute to Late Mother Carrie Fisher at 'Star Wars' Celebration

Earlier this month, Lourd split from her Scream Queens co-star Taylor Lautner after seven months of dating.

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