From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
1980

Having struggled with alcoholism and bipolar disorder, today "I feel really good," says Fisher (here, the year The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters). "I've gotten to a place where I am fearless."

2009

"Humor is a survival technique," says Fisher (on Broadway in her one-woman show Wishful Drinking).

1983

A FAMOUSLY FRACTURED FAMILY

Born to Singin' in the Rain's Debbie Reynolds and crooner Eddie Fisher, Carrie (with her mother and brother Todd) says her upbringing "wasn't conventional." Eddie (with Carrie, above) left Debbie for Elizabeth Taylor, then "basically fled the scene of the accident." Today, she says, "I talk to my dad all the time."

1961

1975

No, Warren Beatty—her costar in her first film, Shampoo—didn't seduce her: "I was 17 and a virgin, and Warren made sure everyone knew it."

1980

Fisher was pals with John Belushi and briefly engaged to Dan Aykroyd (right, on the set of The Blues Brothers). "Dan proposed in my trailer," she recalls. "I was choking on a brussels sprout, and he gave me the Heimlich ... a few minutes later, he asked me to marry him." The pair broke it off when Fisher reunited with former boyfriend Paul Simon.

1983

Fisher's iconic Return of the Jedi bikini made her a fanboy goddess to this day. Star Wars writer-director George Lucas "showed me the outfit, and I thought, 'You're kidding!'"

1980

Married to musician Paul Simon for 11 months, Fisher sums up their union: "Good wedding, bad marriage. We had great fights."

1990

Fisher based Postcards from the Edge (with Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep) on her own life. But unlike MacLaine's alcoholic mom in the movie, Fisher's mother "was responsible," she says.

2001

Fisher's romance with agent Bryan Lourd (above, with their daughter Billie, 9, and pal Tracey Ullman and her son John) ended in '93 when he left her for a man. Still, "Bryan and I had a real relationship," Fisher says.