The 39-year-old actress initially revealed her own sexual assault in the midst of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearings last week.
During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, the former Cougar Town star reveals why she decided to be candid about her experience both on social media and in her book, This Will Only Hurt a Little.
“I’ve been kind of waiting my whole life for someone to ask me to write a book about myself, you know what I mean? So I was ready to go,” she tells DeGeneres, 60. “But I did want to have it be a little bit revealing because I feel like there are the fun Hollywood stories -- I’ve been an actor in this business since I was 19 years old and there’s all that fun stuff -- but I also was really interested in where I came from and sort of the harder things in my life I’ve faced. I wanted to put that in there for people as well. So I did that.”
After the host makes sure Philipps is OK with discussing the assault, the actress delves more into her reasoning behind going public.
“I was so moved by [Dr. Ford’s] bravery. And it wasn’t something that I felt like I was ever going to blast out on social media, but when I saw her standing there, speaking her truth after 30 years, I was like, ‘It’s been 25 [years] for me and I can do this. I can do this. We can all do this,’” Philipps says. “And I feel like it’s, politically whatever you believe, I feel like it’s a real moment of reckoning for women that we have, sort of collectively, carried this burden for so long and it’s time to share it and let it out. It was hard. And really scary.”
As Philipps finishes speaking, the screen behind them shows her Instagram post, which features the former Dawson’s Creek star as a young teen around the time she was raped.
“I have a 10-year-old, so when I look at that baby, I see my kid,” Philipps, getting choked up, says.
“To be 14 years old, to be that girl, and to have that happen to her, it’s horrible,” DeGeneres replies.
“Yeah and it’s sadly the most unoriginal horror, isn’t it?” Philipps says.
DeGeneres takes a second to think about that, before deciding to open up about her own trauma at age 15.
“I was 15 and I had something happen to me,” DeGeneres reveals. “When I watched Dr. Ford, anyone who’s had something happen to them, you just get so angry when someone doesn’t believe you or says, ‘Why did you wait so long?’ It’s because we’re girls and we’re taught not to say anything and go along with it.”
Philipps agrees, revealing that even after all these years she was unsure if she could write about her experiences.
“I’ve struggled with it for so long. For so long. And even when I wrote the chapter in my book I had in my head an escape plan, which was it doesn’t have to go into the book if I panic and don’t want to put it out into the world,” Philipps shares. “But I feel like we’re at this moment in time.”
About five months ago, when Philipps decided to write about her rape, she had to tell her family, something she calls “really hard.” This is especially true for her mother, whom she “really tried to honor” throughout the book.
“[My mom] felt like she was a failure, that she had failed me and didn’t protect me. I understand that, being a mother, but I was like, ‘But Mom, you’re really the hero of my book,’” Philipps recalls. “She really is. She was really there for me. Without her, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you. So I was like, ‘You did something right. I’m going to talk to Ellen.’”