As both screen legends had acknowledged over the years, they had a complicated relationship at times. But, during a joint interview on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2011, Reynolds and Fisher each expressed loving respect and deep admiration for one another. For Fisher, Reynolds’ vibrancy at age 78 was particularly inspiring.
“She gets up and puts her face on and her hair on, and she’s just alive at a time in her life when a lot of people are getting ready not to be,” Fisher said. “My mother is bigger than ever.”
The “Star Wars” icon continued, “I think my mother knows now ― but if she doesn’t, it would be good if she did ― that I take her advice, that I follow her example, that I respect who she is. If I’m like her in any way, I’m very, very happy that I am.”
Reynolds echoed this happiness when talking about what she admired in her daughter, who openly struggled with mental illness and drug addiction. “Carrie and I have finally found happiness,” Reynolds said. “I admire her strength in survival. I admire that she is alive, that she has chosen to make it. It would have been easy to give up and to give in and to keep doing drugs.”
Still, Reynolds, who passed away the day after Fisher on Dec. 28, couldn’t help but worry about Fisher’s future.
“I always feel, as a mother does, that I protect her,” she said. “Who will do that when I’m gone?”
The full interview will re-air this Thursday on OWN at 10 p.m. ET. It will also be available on demand via the Watch OWN mobile app on Friday.