“When my older daughter Carrie was a teenager, she got into drugs,” the star of The Carol Burnett Show tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue. “I’m happy to say she got off drugs, but during those three years it was hell.”
The actress, who will be honored with a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award on Jan. 30, says she had to use tough love to get her daughter well.
“At one point I had to throw her into a rehab place before she was 18 and she hated me. She totally hated what I was doing to her.”
Burnett says during this trying time she learned an important lesson about the importance of being a mother first to your child and not their best friend. In the end, Carrie, who sadly died in 2002 at age 38 from cancer, thanked her mother for sending her to rehab.
“I thought ‘You know, I had to love you enough to let you hate me.’ ”