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Michelle Phillips

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Biography

Michelle Phillips (born June 4, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She gained fame as a member of the popular 1960s singing group The Mamas & the Papas and is the last surviving original member of the group.

Early life

Phillips was born Holly Michelle Gilliam in Long Beach, California, the daughter of Joyce Leon (née Poole), an accountant, and Gardner Burnett Gilliam, a merchant marine. [1] She grew up partly in Mexico City where her father was attending college on the GI Bill. She married John Phillips on December 31, 1962, when she was 18 years old, long before the formation of the band. In 1968 they had a child together, Chynna Phillips, who went on to co-found the singing group Wilson Phillips.

The Mamas & the Papas

Early on in the band’s history (in 1965), Phillips and fellow band member Denny Doherty began an affair. They were able to keep it secret from the other two band members for quite some time. During a trip to Mexico, Doherty revealed the affair to band member Cass Elliot, who was furious. Soon afterwards, John Phillips caught Michelle and Doherty in the act. He moved himself and Michelle out of the house the band shared.[2]

John Phillips soon left his wife and moved back in with Doherty. At this point she started an affair with Gene Clark of The Byrds.

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