It’s been quite a year for Billie Lourd. The 25-year-old actress has hit her stride in Hollywood: She appeared in the series Scream Queens and is starring in the latest installment of American Horror Story (which premieres this month on the FX network), and she’ll grace the big screen in the upcoming films Billionaire Boys Club and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
But she has also faced huge personal tragedies. Last December her mother Carrie Fisher and grandmother Debbie Reynolds—who were both stars in their own right but also beloved as a charming, squabbling duo whose unique relationship was the subject of a recent HBO documentary—died within days of each other. Here, in a wide-ranging conversation with her friend and Horror Story co-star Sarah Paulson, Lourd opens up about her life with and without her mother and grandmother, and going into the family business against the wishes of her mom and dad (the talent agent Bryan Lourd). She also explains how following some of her mother’s famously frank advice has helped her navigate her more difficult moments.
Sarah Paulson: I met you in 2002. How old were you in 2002?
Billie Lourd: I was 10. What is that story?
SP: What happened was I met your mother at a dinner party. It was me, David Spade and his wife, the executive of a show I was on, your mother, and just a few other people. We bonded because I had finished an episode of Touched by an Angelwith your grandmother a few weeks prior. When we were leaving the party, we drove down Coldwater Canyon, and I was going to drive one way and your mom was going the other way, and she leaned out the window and said, “Do you want to come to a party?” I was like, “What?” And she said, “Do you want to come to Gore Vidal’s makeout party?”
BL: Oh, I remember Gore Vidal’s makeout party!
SP: I said, “Yeah, I guess so.” She said to take down her e-mail. I didn’t have a computer. I didn’t have e-mail at this point. I bought a computer so I could have an e-mail correspondence with your mother.
BL: No way!
SP: So then we started an e-mail correspondence, and she had me come to this party at her house, and I basically didn’t leave. Your mom did that thing that your mom does where she was like—
BL: “Move in with me.”
SP: I did. I stayed. I was never really living there. I would spend the night, but I never had a toothbrush. You were the coolest 10-year-old that ever existed.