LIFESTYLE

Andie MacDowell Reveals The Truth About Her "Crazy" Childhood With Alcoholic Mom – She Had To Look After Her Since She Was 6

October 2, 2018

Andie MacDowell didn’t get too much mother-daughter time with her mom, who passed away when Andie was 23. The best advice she got from her is that she could do whatever she wanted to do. And Andie believed her.

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Now MacDowell is a successful actress, model, and mother herself. She has learned many lessons throughout 60 years of her life but the most valuable one is the importance of forgiveness.

Crazy childhood

Andie grew up in a small town in South Carolina where she lived with her mother, Pauline Johnston. Pauline struggled with alcoholism and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She was rarely there for her daughter, but despite that Andie is sure that her mother always loved her.

Pauline became an alcoholic after her husband left her when Andie was just six years old, which made the future screen star look after her mother since a very young age.

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Johnston was a schoolteacher but lost her job due to her love to drink. At one point, the mother and daughter had to both work at McDonald’s, but Pauline lost that job, too.

She died when I was 23. She was 53. There were years when I tortured myself about what I could have done. My mother died of an alcohol-related heart attack. Shame was her downfall. She never recovered from my father leaving her. 

But Andie doesn’t hold any grudges. Instead, she feels compassion towards her mother and believes her troubled childhood made her a stronger person.

It made me who I am – independent, driven and motivated. It taught me not to rely on anybody else.

MacDowell forgave her father as well. During the last year of his life, he was diagnosed with dementia and Andie spent a lot of time with him, which for her was a perfect resolution to a “not-always-perfect” relationship.

Even though her childhood was crazy at times, Andie adds it was also filled with love, which was a saving grace for her.

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