Billie Lourdhas spent the last six months “finding the funny” in what must be the most un-funny chapter of her life.
Weeks after the 24-year-old actress lost both her mother and grandmother, Hollywood icons Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, within a day last December, Billie took to Instagram with a new mantra to live by. “If my life weren’t funny then it would just be true and that is unacceptable,” she quoted Carrie as famously saying.
“Finding the funny might take a while but I learned from the best and her voice will forever be in my head and in my heart,” Billie remarked alongside a photo of the pair from her childhood.
And learn from the best, she did. Despite “Abadaba” and “Momby’s”—as Billie lovingly called them—initial hesitance for her to enter the family business, Billie hasn’t let the tragedy dictate her future both professionally and personally.
Lourd’s breakout role came by way of Fox’s comedy-horror series Scream Queens in 2015. This, paired with a minor role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (also one of Fisher’s final films), caught TV mastermind Ryan Murphy‘s eye and led to casting Billie in season 7 of American Horror Story. She’ll star alongside Billy Eichner, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters in the presidential election-inspired series due for a fall release.
She’s also taken on Carrie’s role and responsibility within the fiercely loyal Star Wars fandom. Dressed in a custom Tom Ford dress reminiscent of Princess Leia’s white frock, Billie joined Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and George Lucas to surprise attendees during April’s Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Fla.
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Disney
Billie addressed Carrie’s life-long followers with an emotional message rooted in the legendary star’s values.
“My mom, like Leia, wasn’t ever afraid to speak her mind and say things that might have made most people uncomfortable, but not me and not you,” she shared onstage. “That was why she loved you, because you accepted and embraced all of her.”
Lourd continued, “She loved you. She loved these movies. And she loved this force called Leia. It’s not about what you were fighting—it’s how you fought it. How you resisted. In our world, Star Wars became a religion and a way of life. I wanted to be here with you because I know you feel the same way.”
“The truth of the matter is, the guy is pretty spectacular. He’s a really deep person, and he has supported her amazingly,” he told us. “He’s stepped up and acted like a husband would act. Not that that’s what’s going on, but it’s just an amazing support system for her, and I’m glad he’s in her life.”
But through it all, Billie is dedicated first and foremost to keeping her Abadaba and Momby’s legacies alive. She didn’t let Reynolds’ 85th birthday pass without a touching post to the Singin’ in the Rain star, and on the first Mother’s Day since Carrie’s sudden death, Billie reflected on their shared memories.
And when Fisher’s autopsy revealed drugs in her system, Lourd rushed to her mother’s defense with a thoughtful and honest reminder of her life’s work.
“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life. She ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases. She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases,” Billie told People in a statement.
“I know my Mom. She’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles. Seek help, fight for government funding for mental health programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure. Love you, Momby.”
Court documents obtained by E! News recently revealed Billie to be the beneficiary of Carrie’s multi-million dollar estate, the material collection of a life and career her daughter will undoubtedly continue to preserve and immortalize in the years to come.