The Shady Side Of Bijou Phillips

The following article includes references to sexual assault, body shaming, homophobia, addiction, and mental health issues.

Bijou Phillips was 14 years old when the tabloids developed an unhealthy obsession with her evening exploits in NYC. She already had her own apartment there, and she could gain entry to nightclubs despite being underage. But even before Bijou got emancipated from her father, "California Dreamin'" singer John Phillips, and her multi-talented mom, Geneviève Waïte, she rebelled against being treated like a child.

On "The Howard Stern Show," Bijou said she was just 12 when she began smoking weed, sneaking out, and inviting friends to sneak in through her bedroom window. Her dad's solution for stopping this behavior would have put Bijou's life at risk during a house fire. "He blow-torched all my windows shut ... all in my room and all down the hallway, so I couldn't get out of the house," she shared.

Bijou confirmed to Howard Stern that there was some truth buried in the many infamous tabloid tales about her; she did, indeed, stab a male friend in the leg with a knife. However, she told Stern that it was an accident, saying that her friend had made her angry by trying to wrestle with her. "I grabbed this kitchen knife and I was just pretending to stab at him," she explained. Unfortunately for him, he moved his leg right into the weapon. "He's not mad and he totally loves me," Bijou said of her wounded friend. But this wasn't the only time someone ended up hurt because she made a poor decision. This is the shadier side of Bijou Phillips.

Bijou Phillips was accused of sexual assault

One of Bijou Phillips' frequent haunts during her reckless teen years in New York was Spy Bar. She told Index Magazine she could go there as a minor because she knew the owners. "They would punish me as if they were my parents when I did something bad," she said. But Phillips came up with a way to get around her temporary bans from the establishment, telling BlackBook, "I'd sneak in with a wig."

According to Phillips, her bans were often the result of her antics at Spy Bar capturing the tabloids' attention. One example is a 1997 New York Post report. "The wild child got herself kicked out of Spy [Bar] for good on Wednesday night after exposing herself, assaulting a friend with a sex toy and getting into a brawl," it claimed in part (via New York Magazine). "... She was overheard telling her enraged galpal, 'So I raped with you — deal with it.'" Phillips was 17 at the time.

Phillips told stories that didn't match up when asked about this incident in later interviews. While speaking to Paper in 1997, she insisted that it didn't happen at all, claiming that she wasn't even in New York at the time. But when asked about it on "The Howard Stern Show" a few years later, she admitted that a less violent version of the reported story did happen. "I didn't really stick it in or anything. I was just pretending ... and she was pretending to like it," Phillips said.

She lived large on her dad's credit card

Bijou Phillips was admittedly a bit spoiled as a child, telling Vanity Fair that her father, John Phillips, bought her puppies and horses. She also wasn't the most financially responsible 14-year-old. After gaining access to John's credit card, she treated herself to a spending spree without worrying about how he would react when he found out about it. "I would have food delivered and furniture delivered, and I charged about ten grand on the card," she told Index Magazine. 

A few months later, Bijou's stepmother, Farnaz Arasteh, gave her a heads-up that John had evidently seen his credit card bill. The teen then devised a plan inspired by her recent first-time experience doing heroin. "I decided to tell them I was a heroin addict and that I'd used the card to buy furniture to sell for cash to buy drugs," she said. So, instead of getting in serious trouble, Bijou (presumably) got her dad's sympathy and was sent to a rehab center popular with rockers; she revealed that she saw Vince Neil and Billy Powell while she was there.

Bijou admitted to Paper that she was "a psycho party brat" while living in NYC with zero adult supervision. "You can go to the store and get root beer and Pringles and gum and cigarettes and you can eat in bed and watch pay-per-view," she said. So, Bijou was basically the teen girl version of Kevin McCallister from "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York."

Bijou Phillips' brawl with a Playboy model became a legal battle

In 2004, a feud between the late Casey Johnson and Playboy Playmate Nicole Lenz reportedly took a violent turn when Bijou Phillips got involved. According to Page Six (via SFGATE), Johnson and Lenz were once friends and roomies. They had a falling out because Johnson reportedly decided that Lenz made a poor housemate. She also apparently suspected that the model had stolen some of her possessions. So, when the two women ran into each other at a Los Angeles club, their shared animosity allegedly manifested physically. While they were reportedly throwing hands, Phillips, who was friends with Johnson, decided to get involved. "Bijou turned around and b***h-slapped Nicole Lenz and they started brawling and screaming. Security was called to break the two up and Nicole Lenz was kicked out," a witness claimed.

Soon afterward, Lenz filed a $1 million lawsuit against Phillips and Johnson, who was the heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. It included more details about the altercation, such as the claim that Phillips dragged Lenz by the hair. Legal filings obtained by Page Six (via The Corsair) said that "Friends" star Matthew Perry broke up the brawl. The next day, Phillips purportedly saw Lenz at an event and verbally attacked her. "Phillips proceeded to yell obscenities at her and loudly called plaintiff a whore, a prostitute, a thief, and other derogatory terms," the lawsuit read. Six months after Lenz filed her lawsuit, she and Phillips reached a confidential settlement.

An underage co-star claimed she tried to corrupt him

In the 2000 movie "Almost Famous," Bijou Phillips plays Estrella Starr, one of the empowered groupies known as "Band-Aids." She told the New York Daily News of her character's rock 'n' roll lifestyle, "I know a little about it." But during filming, it sounds like she tried too hard to make life imitate art by introducing her underage co-star, Patrick Fugit, to her wild world. "Bijou Phillips was hell-bent on corrupting me," Fugit later claimed to Vulture. The actor, who was 15 years old at the time, was spending his time off from filming doing his homework and, apparently, fielding phone calls from Phillips. Fugit said that the older actor invited him to hang out with her and a group of friends one night, and he asked his mom for permission to go. He already knew she wouldn't allow him to leave, which is precisely what he wanted. But first, his mom told him to ask Bijou where she planned on taking him. "Bijou was like, 'We're going out for ice cream,'" he recalled. His mom didn't buy her apparent sweet and innocent act. "Mom knew what Bijou was f***ing up to," said Fugit.

Phillips did, however, eventually convince Fugit to join her for a joyride in a golf cart that was DreamWorks' property — after she allegedly lied and told him she was taking it to the "Almost Famous" set. "We went driving down Sunset Boulevard in a stolen golf cart," Fugit recalled. "... Bijou got in some s*** for that one."

Bijou Phillips was accused of bullying a Bully castmate

Bijou Phillips didn't play the bully in the 2001 Larry Clark movie "Bully," but according to her co-star, Daniel Franzese, she sure did act like one. In a lengthy 2017 Facebook post, the "Mean Girls" actor detailed the abuse and humiliation Phillips allegedly subjected him to while they were shooting the movie. "She body shamed me and ridiculed me about my sexuality‬ and physically assaulted me," he claimed.

Franzese further alleged that Phillips wouldn't stop asking him if he was gay. After he told her he was bisexual, she purportedly used this information to taunt and embarrass him. He also said that Phillips body-shamed him when he had to film a shirtless scene. After she apparently made some very "Mean Girls" comments about his weight (they were basically sympathy disguised as scorn), Phillips' abuse allegedly became physical. "She then grabbed my nipple and twisted it hard through my shirt and laughed and walked away," Franzese wrote. On another occasion, he recalled sitting in front of Phillips, who allegedly started wiping her filthy bare feet on him. When he tried to move away, Phillips allegedly had a violent reaction. "She kicked me as hard as she could in the back of the head. To this day I'm not even sure if she gave me a concussion," he wrote.

Phillips later told TMZ in part, "I am so mortified by this behavior and have contacted Daniel and apologized to him privately. I am not and never have been homophobic."

She was allegedly no princess to Heather Matarazzo

"Black and White" director James Toback once told Salon that Bijou Phillips is "a genuine psychopath," but he meant it as a compliment. "You never knew what the f*** she would say or do next," he said. "There is no line between her unconscious and her articulation of it and her behavior." While he believed that Phillips' volatile conduct served her well as an actor, it seems that more than one of her former co-stars would beg to disagree.

When Daniel Franzese appeared on Heather Matarazzo's podcast "Shut Up and Listen" in 2017, the topic of Franzese's experience being tormented by Phillips came up, and Matarazzo shared her own Phillips horror story. According to "The Princess Diaries" star, Phillips was allegedly violently hostile towards her the night before they began filming the 2007 horror film "Hostel: Part II."

Matarazzo believes Phillips attacked her while the cast was hanging out together at a bar because she had learned that Matarazzo was sober. "She had thrown me up against a wall and put her hands around my neck and started choking me and choked me for a good 15, 20 seconds," Matarazzo alleged. She also claimed that Phillips told her, "I'm going to make sure you relapse on this film." Matarazzo said of Phillips' alarming alleged behavior, "I've experienced some horrifying moments in my life, and I count that to be one of them."

Bijou Phillips slammed her sister

"High on Arrival" ranks up there as one of the most shocking celebrity memoirs ever released, thanks to Mackenzie Phillips' claim that she had an incestuous relationship with her late father. While she said that she eventually became a willing, albeit repulsed, participant in the incest, she also alleged that it began with John Phillips raping her when she was unconscious.

Her story was not easy to tell; in her book, Mackenzie often seems confused and uncertain about what happened because she was doing so many drugs at the time. However, she got no sympathy from Bijou Phillips. Instead of accepting the possibility that her half-sister might be telling the truth, Bijou accused Mackenzie of being a liar. "Exploiting the history of our family and the death of our father John Phillips for the release of a book is disgusting," she wrote in a series of since-deleted 2009 tweets. "Allegations of sexual abuse are not only hurtful, but malicious when he is not here to defend himself." 

Bijou revealed that Mackenzie told her about the alleged incest years before she released her memoir. She even blamed a laundry list of her own issues on her older sibling's revelation. "It ruined my life and my relationship with my father," Bijou wrote. "... I moved out to NYC, at 13. Started doing drugs, did not talk to my Dad anymore." Her admission that she cut their father out of her life suggests that she believed Mackenzie at one point.

Bijou Phillips criticized a friend's acting

"Bully" director Larry Clark didn't have anything positive to say about Bijou Phillips' acting in his movie, unless you count him taking credit for it. "She was very, very difficult to work with and direct," he claimed to Dazed. "I probably spent 90 percent of the movie directing her." Phillips also had an opinion about a member of the cast: her friend, Brad Renfro. "He has such a big ego that he makes it difficult to act with him," she alleged to Index Magazine. "He'll either way overact the scene and ruin the moment and not let it be fresh for the camera, or he won't even give it to you. He'll just be a d**k about it."

While she and Renfro were supposedly close, Phillips admitted to The Guardian that he was the reason she didn't stay in the same hotel as her castmates while they were shooting "Bully." She and Renfro had previously worked together on the movie "Tart," and she no longer wanted to play the role of his alleged caretaker. "He'd come over to my room and want me to put him in the bath and get him sober," Phillips claimed. "Or he'd cut himself and we'd be in the hospital at four in the morning." 

She admittedly came off as unconcerned about Renfro's substance use issues and even called him "a crack baby" in her Index interview. But after his 2008 death from an overdose, Renfro became her "brother" in an MTV News interview.

She thinks those struggling with mental health issues just need to toughen up

When Bijou Phillips decides to share her opinion about something, she can admittedly come off as being abrasive and judgmental. Back when she was modeling, for example, she explained to the New York Daily News why other models were mistaken in their belief that nepotism had anything to do with her success. "They think I've gotten where I am because of who my family is, not because I'm beautiful and take good pictures — ugly girls don't become models," she said. An even more eyebrow-raising belief that Phillips holds is one that we only know because she was born to a famous family, married a famous Scientologist, and converted to his religion. While speaking to Paper about the Church of Scientology's aversion to psychiatrists and medication for mental illnesses, she claimed, "My grandparents didn't take any pills and they were fine. Just buck up and get over it. Stop being such a f***ing pansy." Yikes.

This wasn't the only time Phillips used anecdotal evidence to support a problematic opinion. After shooting "Hostel: Part II" in Prague, she told Stuff, "The people in the Czech Republic are f***ing a**holes." The star had reached this conclusion after she tried to smoke a cigarette inside a store and was told by an employee, "Hey, get the f*** outta here with that!" Phillips was okay with being asked to leave but said that it was the employee's attitude that rubbed her the wrong way. Hmmm. 

Bijou Phillips' steadfast support of Danny Masterson

When Danny Masterson's rape trial began, Bijou Phillips didn't keep her distance from her then-husband while she listened to his accusers share their stories in court. In 2022, the couple was photographed smiling and holding hands outside the Los Angeles Superior Court after Masterson's first trial ended in a mistrial. The year prior, Phillips had smiled for a selfie with Masterson ahead of a pretrial hearing. At the hearing in question, one of Masterson's victims recalled becoming violently ill after accepting a drink from him before being raped. She also said that the actor threatened her with a gun when she tried to fight him off, per AP News. So, it didn't exactly paint Bijou in the best light that she was outside the courthouse grinning before that gut-wrenching testimony.

Even after Masterson's conviction, Phillips appeared to attempt to undermine his victims' victory in court by lobbying for him to get a shorter sentence. She showered him with praise in a letter to the judge, which read in part (via the Independent), "Danny has always been against drugs and helped so many friends and colleagues get sober." Mind you, this was after he was accused of drugging his victims.

When Phillips' attorney told TMZ that she was divorcing Masterson following his sentencing of 30 years to life behind bars, his statement even included some kind words for the convicted rapist: "Mr. Masterson was always present for Ms. Phillips during her most difficult times of her life." Masterson, some might argue in response, was also present for some of his victims' most difficult times.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, has been a victim of sexual assault, or needs help with mental health, contact the relevant resources below: