Jeanne Phillips writes the most widely read advice column in the world, "Dear Abby."
She is the daughter of Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips, who founded "Dear Abby" in 1956. In a Dear Abby column in Dec. 2000, Mrs. Phillips introduced Jeanne as co-creator of Dear Abby. They began to share the byline Abigail Van Buren and both were pictured with the column. Jeanne officially assumed the mantle of Dear Abby in Aug. 2002, when the Phillips family made the announcement that Pauline had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Jeanne continues to write under the pen name "Abigail Van Buren."
"Dear Abby" is syndicated in about 1,400 newspapers in the U.S. with a combined circulation of more than 110 million. (Dear Abby's Web site) The column reportedly receives 5,000 to 10,000 letters per week, seeking advice on a large variety of personal matters.
Dear Abby Edit
Jeanne began assisting her mother with the Dear Abby column at the age of 14 in order to earn an allowance. She began writing a majority of the columns since the early 1990s, though, until 2000, her mother did not publicly acknowledge her as the column's co-writer.
Jeanne has appeared on many television talk shows, including CNN's Larry King Live. Many prestigious national organizations have acknowledged her for her advice and efforts to educate her readers on different topics including those related to health, safety, and acceptance of multiculturalism/diversity.
Jeanne has continued the project, Operation Dear Abby, which was started by her mother, through which emails can be sent to soldiers who are stationed overseas.
On December 1, 2005, Jeanne made her first live radio broadcast via Internet radio. In her press release regarding that broadcast, she said that she sometimes calls people who have written her since, in many cases, it is easier to advise people over the phone than through letters.
Jeanne is one of only three laypersons ever to be granted a prestigious Life Consultant membership in the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry (GAP), an organization of nationally respected psychiatrists dedicated to shaping psychiatric thinking, public programs and clinical practice in mental health.
She has been given awards of appreciation by the Pentagon for the success of OperationDearAbby.net. She is also on the Advisory Boards of the National Alzheimer's Association, the Children's Rights Council, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Kidney Foundation.
She has received awards from the National Office of Drug Policy, American Academy of Dermatology for excellence in public education of dermatology issues, American Ex-Prisoners of War, Overeaters Anonymous and the national Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program. (Dear Abby's Web site)
Style and support of gay marriageEdit
Jeanne Phillips characterized her mother's style as "softer", while she herself "[gets] to the root of the problem quickly". Both Jeanne and Pauline have made gay marriage a topic in their column. In 1984, Pauline directed the parent of a gay child to Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). In 2007, her daughter openly announced her support of gay marriage. In the same year, she was given the "Straight for Equality" award by PFLAG.
Personal Life Edit
Jeanne has largely kept her personal life to herself, with only occasional references to it while advising people or during interviews. She has never disclosed her husband's identity. During her 2005 web-radio broadcast, she mentioned that her husband was younger than she. Her date of birth has not been made public. According to a 2002 interview, Phillips and her husband have no children.
Jeanne has mentioned that she is Jewish, but she has not publicly stated anything more than that. In her column, she writes holiday greetings to people of all religions and occasionally gives advice to people based on their religion.