“Happy birthday, Dad,” Lily Collins wrote on Jan. 30, the day that her father, Phil Collins, celebrated his 71st birthday. Lily, 32, shared a throwback photo on Instagram, one of her as a baby going for a piggyback ride on her father’s shoulders. “I may no longer fit in your arms or sit comfortably on your shoulders,” the Emily In Paris star wrote, “but you continue to hug me tightly when I need it most. We may not get to spend time together that often, but when we are face to face, you really do see me. You may not always believe it, but please trust me when I say, no matter how old I get or what life may bring, I will always need you.”
“Whether I’m proudly watching you up on stage, laughing at home together playing trivial pursuit, I’m forever grateful for the moments and memories we share,” continued Emily in her birthday tribute. “Especially the ones I now cherish as an adult myself. Thank you for inspiring me and supporting the woman I am today. I love you to the moon and back again…” The touching tribute warmed the hearts of Emily’s followers, who left heart emojis and birthday wishes in the comments section.
Lily is Phil’s only child with his second wife, Jill Tavelman. Jill and Phil divorced in 1994 after he allegedly sent a breakup fax (a rumor he denied, per Vanity Fair.) She’s arguably the most famous of his children, having started her acting career at age 2 with BBC’s Growing Pains. She had her breakthrough in the 2009 Sandra Bullock movie, The Blind Side. Afterward, she appeared in Priest, Mirror Mirror, and Rules Don’t Apply, which netted her a Golden Globe nomination in 2016. However, she’s become best known for the titular role of the Netflix comedy-drama, Emily in Paris.
Things weren’t always so warm between Phil and his daughter. “I forgive you for not always being there when I needed and for not being the dad I expected,” she wrote in Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me. In this open letter, published in this 2017 book of personal essays, Lily forgave her father for “the mistakes you made” in her life. “And although it may seem like it’s too late, it’s not. There’s still so much time to move forward.”
“We all make choices,” she wrote at the time, “and, although I don’t excuse some of yours, at the end of the day, we can’t rewrite the past. I’m learning how to accept your actions and vocalize how they made me feel. I accept and honor the sadness and anger I felt toward the things you did or didn’t do, did, or didn’t give me. “Clearly, the two have made peace.