Hayley Mills is looking back on her six decade-long career — and “isn’t holding back.”
The “Parent Trap” star’s new memoir, “Forever Young,” details her rise to stardom via Walt Disney, having an eating disorder and losing the cash flow that she secured as a child star, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The British actress, 75, began her career with the House of Mouse when she was cast in the 1960 film “Pollyanna,” ultimately cinching a seven-picture deal with the studio that propelled her to the top of the child star food chain.
Mills’ editor and publisher, Gretchen Young of Grand Central Publishing, told the Los Angeles Times that the septuagenarian “isn’t holding back” in her book.
“She faced a ton of challenges while maintaining this youthful public image that the adults around her were invested in,” Young said. “To me, that had echoes of today’s young child stars.”
In 2018, when she was 71, Mills reflected on being a child star in an interview with The Post.
“It’s a very powerful magnet, this business,” she said. “It’s easy to be pulled this way and that and lose your sense of reality.”
Mills had a lot to live up to. Her father, John Mills, was a famous actor while her mother, Mary Hayley Bell, was a writer.
“I knew Daddy was proud of me, but he never spoke of it,” Mills writes in her novel. “By glossing over things that were real and important, like being awarded an Oscar, they were unwittingly denying milestones in my life … I was left with the overwhelming conviction that somehow my lucky break had been a mistake — and I started to feel guilty about my success.”
The mother of two went on to win the honorary Academy Juvenile Award in 1961, but admitted that she lost the golden statuette years later.
The breast cancer survivor also revealed that she developed bulimia in an effort to stay young and childlike. She said she wanted to keep pleasing the adults around her and the people controlling her money and career. Notorious gossip columnist Hedda Hopper wrote about Mills’ thinness in a 1964 column. “Hayley Mills, 18, Thinner and looking like the million stashed away for her,” Hopper wrote. “Seven pounds thinner than when I last saw her, her 112 pounds are distributed in the correct places.”
In order to save herself, Mills was able to slip out from under Disney’s thumb and get out of her contract when she was 20. When her contract expired, she was finally free.
In 1966, she starred in director Roy Boulting’s romantic epic “The Family Way,” a big departure for Mills as the movie featured her first nude scene. She subsequently fell in love with Boulting and the couple married, despite her family’s objections due to their age difference: Boulting was 53 while Mills was barely 21.
When she finally hit drinking age, she received access to the trust that held the money she made during her youth. However, her savings were hit with a 91% tax rate set up by the Inland Revenue to help build the United Kingdom back up. She even marched up to the British courts to appeal her case, but was eventually stopped in 1975. If she had won her suit, Mills would have been granted up to £2 million.
“I never saw it,” Mills said. “I knew it was there and one day I would have it, but it was just sort of a dream, and then one day the dream was gone. Occasionally, I think: It would have been nice if I had the freedom to say no.”
“Forever Young” will be released on Sept. 7, 2021.