Sachi Parker was just two years old when MacLaine sent her to Japan alone in a plane in the care of flight attendants.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 12, 2021. It has since been updated.
Shirley MacLaine is one of the legendary actors of Hollywood who is best known for films like Can-Can, The Apartment, Sweet Charity, Irma La Douce, and Terms of Endearment. She won the Oscars for the last one and also received the Kennedy Center Honors for her exceptional writing in 2013, according to Biography.
With more than 70 films, 47 awards, and 70 nominations under her name, anyone would think that the roles in real life, too, were as perfect. The actress has a daughter, and the relationship with her is not something we'd call perfect.
MacLaine shared Sachi Parker, 64, with businessman Steve Parker who passed away in 2001. The duo was married for 28 years and had been very vocal that their "open marriage" was the secret to their happy union. Sachi published her autobiography Lucky Me: My Life With — and Without — My Mom, Shirley MacLaine back in 2013 where she made it clear that her equation with MacLaine wasn't that great.
She said she connected with her as much as her fans connected with her while watching her movies on the airplane screens. Even though Sachi was from a financially affluent family, she worked as a waitress, maid, and flight attendant to get through college, reported Amomama.
"I would look up, and the in-flight movie would be 'The Turning Point' or another (MacLaine) movie. And it would be a moment that I would find that I could be with her. She was right there. And I would just yearn for her," she wrote.
Parker was just 2-years-old when MacLaine put her on a plane to Japan where her father lived. She described how she traveled on a multi-day day trip while the flight attendants took care of her. Parker saw her mother only on holidays and summers, "I missed her all year," she said.
"She was very absent," Parker wrote and continued, "I was very lonely – very lonely. Definitely. And I still struggle with abandonment issues and loneliness." She revealed whenever her mother did make time for her, Parker would become "a burden" for the actress in just four hours, reported ABC News.
She revealed that her father was a verbally abusive person who lived a lavish life with a live-in mistress but never supported her. Yuki Banks, her childhood friend, revealed she was often alone. "I would be at home with my mother. Sachi would call me and ... ask if she could come over because she was all alone," said Banks.
There was one Christmas when neither of her parents visited her. "I laugh now. But I have to say, at the time it was very scary and very painful. And I actually had a physical pain in my heart," she said. She then described how her classmate's family felt sad for her and asked her to join them on their trip but she wasn't up for it as she felt she might be a burden. She then stayed with an elderly couple for two weeks with no idea where her parents were.
Steve Parker turned out to be no businessman but a conman who married MacLaine for her money. The actress divorced him once she found out his reality. Unlike the generosity she showed her husband, MacLaine loaned $500 to her daughter with interest. She said, "My mother was – is very old-school regarding money and tough love."
Parker is a single mother to son, Frank Murray Jr., 24, and daughter, Arin Murray, 22. When she last spoke to her mother, Parker said, "I try to understand her. I find myself wanting to protect her so badly because I so love her. ... And yet the pain is very deep. I would hope that she would own it and apologize. That would really, really be wonderful." In the hopes of finding closure, she sent a copy of her book to MacLaine with a note saying, "I love you."
After the book's release in 2013, MacLaine issued a statement to USA Today saying that it was "a painful moment for me as a mother." She continued, "As someone who values the truth. I'm shocked and heartbroken that my daughter would make statements about me that are virtually all fiction. I've praised her lovingly and truthfully in my own autobiographies. I'm sorry to see such a dishonest, opportunistic effort from my daughter for whom I've only ever wanted the best."