Twenty-seven-year-old John Kelly of Norwell, Mass. has limited memories of his cousin Lisa Robin Kelly, the Southington-born actress who died in a recovery center in Los Angeles Wednesday after “she lost the battle” with addiction that she had waged for years, according to a statement issued by her agent Craig Wyckoff.
John Kelly said he primarily recalls his cousin from family Christmas gatherings in the 1990s at his parents’ home in Quincy, Mass., after she had already moved to California to pursue her acting dreams.
John said he remembered the actress’ family residence in Sylvania, Ohio, but was too young to remember her home in Connecticut. Lisa Robin Kelly was in born in Southington on March 5, 1970. John said he recalled the excitement at the annual family get together after Lisa first obtained guest spots on “The X-Files” and “Married with Children.”
“We were all interested and rooting for her to make it,” he said. John said he also recalls the Lisa’s exhilaration after she landed her signature role as promiscuous daughter Laurie Forman on “That ’70s Show, a Fox sitcom that aired from 1998 to 2006.
“She used to come back and talk about how she was trying to make it out there,” he said. “Then she came back and was talking about how she was making it out there,” he added.
However, John said holiday gatherings in the ’90s were the only occasions when he would see Lisa. “She was always out in LA,” he said.
John said he last saw Lisa at her father Thomas Kelly’s funeral in Quincy in July 2012. “It hit her pretty hard,” he said.
John said Lisa was accompanied by husband Robert Joseph Gilliam to the funeral. Lisa split from her husband in July, eight months after the two were arrested in a domestic disturbance at their North Carolina home in November. The arrest was one of several for Lisa in recent years, as she struggled with alcohol abuse and other troubles. In a 2005 interview with ABC News, Kelly disclosed that her alcohol abuse problems began after she underwent a miscarriage while still a member of the cast of “That ’70s Show.” She confessed that her personal issues led to her departure from the program in 2003, which was also her last appearance in a full-length film or television program, according to the Internet Movie Database website.
John Kelley said he was not aware of Lisa’s personal difficulties. “I remember her as my cousin,” he said, as opposed to the media portrayals of the troubled ex-starlet. “She was fun and funny and nice to talk to and just wanted to do what she loved,” he said.