The Emily in Paris star, 32, took to Instagram on Sunday to share an emotional post in honor of her dad.
“Happy birthday, Dad. I may no longer fit in your arms or sit comfortably on your shoulders 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,” wrote Emily, who can be seen in the throwback photo as an infant sitting on her father’s shoulders on a family vacation. Sporting a jumper and wide-brimmed sun hat, she looks at the camera while her father smiles below.
Collins continued, sharing intimate details of her relationship with her father.
“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. Especially the ones I now cherish as an adult myself,” she wrote. “Thank you for inspiring me and supporting the woman I am today. I love you to the moon and back again…”
Friends and family loved the touching memory. Ashley Park, who stars as Emily’s best friend Mindy in Emily in Paris, commented with a series of heart emojis. Collins’s husband, Charlie McDowell, also shared his appreciation for his father-in-law, writing “Love you both! HBD Phil.”
Despite her strong relationship with her father these days, it wasn’t always so easy. When Collins released her biography, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, in 2017, she addressed their tumultuous relationship, and forgave her dad for any hard feelings.
“Because my dad was often gone, I never wanted to do anything that would make him stay away even longer,” Collins wrote in the chapter titled “A Letter to All Dads,” Billboard reported at the time. “I became extra careful about what I said and how I said it, afraid he’d think I was angry or didn’t love him. And the truth is, I was angry. I missed him and wanted him there.”
Collins, who struggled with eating disorders, said she recognized some of her “deepest insecurities stem from these issues with my dad. It’s taken me over a decade to resolve some of them (others I’m still resolving) and to finally build up the courage to speak my mind to him.”
Collins went on to forgive him for the mistakes that he made and “for not always being there when I needed and for not being the dad I expected.”
“There’s still so much time to move forward. And I want to. I’m inviting you to join me,” she explained. “I’ll always be your little girl.”
These days, Collins has been experiencing lots of familial joy. She announced her marriage to McDowell, who is the son of actors Mary Steenburgen and Malcolm McDowell, back in September.
“I’ve never wanted to be someone’s someone more than I do yours, and now I get to be your wife,” Collins captioned a photo of herself and McDowell at their Colorado wedding.
McDowell and Lily were first linked in 2019, and announced their engagement one year ago, People previously reported.