After starring in hit TV shows such as Freaks and Geeks, Dawson’s Creek and Cougar Town, Busy Philipps has become well-known enough to amass over one million followers on Instagram. In 2018, though, she decided to share a dark secret with her fans that she had previously kept hidden for a quarter of a century.
Born Elizabeth Philipps in 1979 in Oak Park, Illinois, the actress made her screen debut playing Mindy in 1999’s Saving Graces. Her big break came swiftly after that, however, when that same year she was cast as Kim Kelly in cult high school dramedy Freaks and Geeks. It wasn’t long, too, before she ventured onto the big screen in 2000 comedy The Smokers.
Philipps subsequently landed her second major recurring role, as Audrey Liddell in Dawson’s Creek. The actress – who had been given her “Busy” nickname by a childhood babysitter – even picked up a Teen Choice Awards nod for her performance in the drama. Then, after showing up in the Wayans Brothers’ comedy White Chicks, she replaced Shannen Doherty in Love Inc. – a UPN sitcom that ran for just a single season.
After that, Philipps reunited with Linda Cardellini, her co-star in Freaks and Geeks, to play Hope Bobeck in long-running medical drama ER. She also went on to enjoy supporting parts in romantic comedies Made of Honor and She’s Just Not That Into You. And in 2009 Philipps landed the main role of Laurie Keller in Courteney Cox sitcom Cougar Town.
During her six-year stint in Cougar Town, Philipps kept herself more than busy, too, adding the likes of I Don’t Know How She Does It, The Reef 2: High Tide and Made in Cleveland to her filmography. She also made guest appearances in Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23, Arrested Development and Drunk History. In 2016, meanwhile, she was cast as Gale Liptrapp in the HBO comedy Vice Principals.
Philipps added Sheba in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to her list of sitcom roles in 2018. Later that same year, she also made the switch from actress to talk-show host with her very own late-night E! vehicle, Busy Tonight.
And as well as being a popular comedic actress and chat-show host, Philipps is also a mother of two. She and her screenwriter partner Marc Silverstein, whom she married in 2007, welcomed their first child, Birdie Leigh, into the world in 2008. The couple’s second daughter, Cricket Pearl, was born five years later.
Philipps is an author, too, having published her autobiography, This Will Only Hurt a Little, in 2018. The book initially made waves for a preview extract in which the actress alleged that she had been physically attacked by James Franco during the filming of Freaks and Geeks. Public attention would eventually switch, however, to an even darker chapter of the star’s life.
Shortly before the book’s release, Philipps took to Instagram to post a Throwback Thursday photo with a difference. That image was captioned, “This is me at 14. The age I was raped. It’s taken me 25 years to say those words.”
Philipps was inspired to post the revelation, she revealed, after watching the unfolding sexual assault scandal involving Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The star’s message continued, “I’m scared to post this. I can’t imagine what Dr. Ford is feeling right now. Today is the day we are silent no more. All of us.”
And Philipps was subsequently praised for her bravery by several celebrities on Instagram. Jenna Dewan posted, for example, “Aww, my love. Your honesty is healing,” while Jenna Fisher commented, “I love you. I believe you, I hear you, I see you. You are safe now. #MeToo.” Leslie Bibb, Ali Larter and January Jones were just a few of the other stars who offered their support.
Philipps had revealed in the Instagram post that she’d only told her sister and parents about the ordeal four months previously. She has also reflected on the alleged rape in much greater detail in her memoir; across numerous chapters, the actress disclosed exactly what had happened to her aged 14 and the major impact it has had on her life.
Referring to the incident with Trey, a boy three years her senior, Philipps wrote, “I reached over and clumsily started to unbuckle his belt. I have no idea why I didn’t kiss him but instead just went for his belt. It was so weird. But, then again, I was 14 and painfully inexperienced. I had no idea what qualified as normal behavior.”
Philipps also recalled how she wasn’t “sure of what to do or how to end it” after being encouraged to move into the back of Trey’s vehicle. She wrote in her memoir, “I wanted to go back to [my friends] now, but I couldn’t figure out how to say that without confirming all of my worst fears about myself. I was unlovable, I was not attractive. I was a f**king baby.”
Philipps alleges that Trey then clambered onto her so that he could “push” his penis “inside.” She recalled, “I didn’t know what to do. I put my hands under his shirt, digging my nails into his back. I hated it, I didn’t want this… It was so, so painful.”
Philipps added that she had told Trey, “I don’t think this is gonna work”; the teenage boy apparently didn’t respond, though, and continued regardless, she said. And the actress also revealed how she had coped with the situation at the time, writing, “I found a spot on the ceiling of [Trey’s] car, and I sort of spun up to it and just focused on that until he shuddered and rolled off me.”
Plus, Philipps has admitted that the fact that she unbuckled Trey’s belt has made it harder for her to deal with the incident. “It has f**ked me in the head again and again, almost always in new ways,” she stated in her book. “My only hope is that my girls grow up in a culture that truly understands consent and that they’re never left to question if violence means someone cares for them.”
Then, following a session with her therapist in 2017, Philipps decided to track down Trey on social media. She later explained, “I found [Trey] smiling with his wife and their two little boys. I clicked to her page. He’s the love of her life. ‘Dreams do come true!’ she wrote under their wedding photo. ‘I finally got my happy ending!’”
Ultimately, Philipps also visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show to reveal the reasons behind her heartbreaking admission. There, she said, “[The alleged rape] wasn’t something that I felt like I was ever going to blast out on social media. But when I saw [Dr. Ford] standing there, speaking her truth after 30 years, I was like, ‘It’s been 25 for me. I can do this. We can all do this.’”
Philipps continued, “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. We can do better for our kids and the next generation, and we will.”