Kristina Hagman on life with dad Larry Hagman: 'We were basically homeless'

Kristina Hagman had a complicated relationship with her larger-than-life father Larry Hagman, who died in 2012 at the age of 81. In "The Eternal Party," she writes about her father, who was best known for playing ruthless oil tycoon J.R. Ewing on "Dallas." She spoke to FOX411 about her dad.

FOX411: You say you have very few memories of your dad being sober.
Kristina Hagman: Yes, that's true. On the other hand, look who is more successful? He was definitely wildly successful in his career and in many ways in his life. He started drinking at a very young age, so he was really good at coping.

FOX411: He also loved to smoke pot.
Hagman: Yeah, all the time. After he died, I felt like I had been too severe with him, so I went to his friends and said, 'OK, I've got to try this because I can't demonize it. I have to know what it's about' because it had been 20 years since I'd last tried it. I discovered it still wasn't my thing, but I also discovered that the people he was smoking with were really lovely folks and generous and kind.

FOX411: Your dad didn't become financially secure until “Dallas.”
Hagman: Anybody that meets me just assumes I'm rolling in [money]… I certainly acknowledge my privilege. No matter how broke we were, I still was born upper middle class white in America so I always had privilege, but there were times where we were basically homeless.

FOX411: You write that he bragged in public about his marriage but had a lot of affairs and mistresses.
Hagman: All my life being his daughter and being my mother's daughter, I didn't want to look at it. Sometimes it would be right in my face, but after he died people kept coming out of the woodwork and sharing information that I didn't necessarily want to hear, but it also made me understand that my parents had a marriage that was a lot like my grandmother's marriage to her husband. Whatever they did on a sexual level was one thing but they were a partnership.

FOX411: Your mother was also a functioning alcoholic.
Hagman: Yes. I became aware of it in my mid-20s. Drinking was constant. On the weekends it was the vodka and orange juice and Bloody Marys in the fridge starting early in the morning, but I wasn't really aware of the quantities until I was in my mid-20s. I would go drinking with my family and friends, and we would have a couple of bottles of wine and I would go, 'Hmm, maybe this is not the way to do it.' I do not function very well on too much wine.

FOX411: Your parents went away and left you in the care of a stoner pal and you were molested by some teenage boys. That [seems to be] a byproduct of addiction - making terrible choices.
Hagman: I would say that's true. For dad to think that the person who took him on a safe acid trip was still the same person who could keep kids safe is a pretty big stretch.

FOX411: You went on an LSD trip with your dad.
Hagman: That was when I was 19. That era it was a way of bonding with your kids.

FOX411: He had a very complicated relationship with his mother, Mary Martin.
Hagman: Yes. What was the big eye opener for me was looking back three generations to my great-grandmother. I read books about my father and my grandmother, and I then had to do a little bit more research on Juanita, who was Mary's mom and this ambition to be famous and an incredible performer went back to her. She was the one who fostered their talents, and she enabled them both to be stars. She loved them and cherished them and fostered their talents. Sadly, my father lost her when he was only 12, but I think the relationship between my father and his mother -- they would have been closer had his grandmother not kept them separate. She raised him till he was 12. By the time he was 14, he was already drinking heavily, and I think it had a lot to do with the loss of his beloved grandmother.

FOX411: How do you feel about your father?
Hagman: I would say 80 percent fantastic -- wonderful, sweet, loving. But I'm a mother and an adult, and I also see that there were some things that were really sad, and in doing the book I kind of became a lot more sensitive to why he drank so much and did so much pot. I really began to understand the little boy that's inside every man, and how that little boy was really hurt. I became much more aware and forgiving who he was when I really began to look at what brought him to that point.

FOX411: How did this book come about?
Hagman: I kept running into people telling me stories about him, and it just seemed very sad to me that he should pass away and people not have the opportunity to have a conversation about it, and I knew that if I wrote a book it would create much more conversation, and he would continue to live on a bit.

FOX411: You don't gloss over his faults.
Hagman: No, but I have to say there were some things that worried me. Dad would say to the public that he quit drinking cold turkey -- no problem, and that just wasn't the truth. And for the whole world it's not good for anyone to imagine that someone can just quit drinking cold turkey, just like that. I just had to set it straight that way. Not as a put down to my father but let's be good to the rest of the world in this way.