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Wilson Phillips: What the Talented ’90s Vocal Trio Is Up to Now

'Hold On' and catch up with Carnie and Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips!


Wilson Phillips just might have had the most impressive musical pedigree of any ’90s band. The trio, composed of Carnie and Wendy Wilson (daughters of Beach Boy Brian Wilson and Marilyn Rovell of the Honeys) and Chynna Phillips (daughter of the Mamas & the Papas’ John and Michelle Phillips), originated from the musicians responsible for some of the most gorgeous harmonies of the ’60s, and carried on the family tradition for a new generation.

Carnie and Wendy Wilson were childhood friends with Chynna Phillips, and in 1989 they formed their eponymous band. The group’s self-titled debut album, released in 1990, was a huge hit that went Platinum five times over. Its first single, “Hold On,” topped the charts and became their signature anthem thanks to its catchy tune, hopeful lyrics and soaring vocal harmonies. They had two more number one hits from the album, “Release Me” and “You’re in Love.”

Wilson Phillips (Left to right: Chynna Phillips, Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson) in 1990
Wilson Phillips in 1990Tim Roney/Getty

The band’s 1992 sophomore album, Shadows and Light, spawned the singles “You Won’t See Me Cry” and “Give It Up,” and while it went Platinum like their debut, it didn’t have quite the same impact. As a result, the band broke up and didn’t release another record until their 2004 cover album, California. In 2010 they released the holiday disc Christmas in Harmony, and their most recent album, 2012’s Dedicated, was a selection of Beach Boys and Mamas & the Papas covers. That same year, they had a reality show, Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On.

Wilson Phillips still plays together (they even released a cover of Harry Styles‘ “Boyfriends” and competed on The Masked Singer in 2022!), and in 2011 they had a resurgence in popularity when they made a memorable appearance in the blockbuster comedy Bridesmaids. Their influence can also be heard in hip and harmonizing contemporary trios like Haim and boygenius.

Left to right: Chynna Phillips, Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson of Wilson Phillips in 2018
Wilson Phillips in 2018Michael Tullberg/Getty

Wilson Phillips members

More than 30 years since their debut, here’s a look at the members of Wilson Phillips then and now.

Carnie Wilson

Carnie Wilson in 1990 and 2023
Left: 1990; Right: 2023Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty; Anna Webber/Getty for Amazon Freevee

Carnie Wilson, the first daughter of musicians Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys) and Marilyn Rovell (of the Honeys), told Woman’s World in 2023 that “harmony is the nucleus of my family” — in other words, she and her sister were destined to sing together.

After Wilson Phillips disbanded, Carnie and Wendy recorded the 1993 Christmas album Hey Santa!. In 1997, they released their second album, The Wilsons, which featured their dad on a number of tracks. Carnie was going to release her first solo album in 2003, but ended up getting back with Wilson Phillips. In 2006, following the birth of her first daughter, she released A Mother’s Gift: Lullabies from the Heart. The next year, she released a solo Christmas album, Christmas With Carnie.

MUST-READ: Brian Wilson Songs: Exploring the Beach Boy’s Legacy of Perfectly Crafted Pop

She also branched out from music, hosting Carnie!, a short-lived talk show, from 1995 to 1996, and making guest appearances in shows like Silk Stalkings, That ’70s Show and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. In the ’00s, she was in many reality shows, including Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Wife Swap, Gone Country, Celebracadabra and Outsider’s Inn. She also hosted the 2009 reboot of The Newlywed Game and served as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight. Currently, she’s a host for the TV channel AXS.

Carnie has long been open about her struggles with weight, and she had gastric bypass surgery in 1999 and lap band surgery in 2011. In 2010, she starred in a reality show about her weight issues, Carnie Wilson: Unstapled.

Now 55, Carnie has two teen daughters (who she enjoys singing with!) with her husband, musician Rob Bonfiglio. In her Woman’s World interview, she said that while she still loves performing with Wilson Phillips, and feels they’re “born to sing together,” when it comes to recording a new album, “It’s really hard to get us in the same room.”

MUST-READ: Singer Carnie Wilson Shares Her Secret For Shaking Off Weight Worries: Kindness

Wendy Wilson

Wendy in 1990 and 2024
Left: 1990; Right: 2023Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty; Albert L. Ortega/Getty

Wendy Wilson is Carnie’s younger sister. In the ’00s and ’10s she appeared on episodes of Supernanny, The Newlywed Game and Barefoot Contessa, but she’s mostly kept a lower profile than Carnie.

While Wendy hasn’t released a solo album, she’s collaborated with her sister many times, on the albums Hey Santa! and The Wilsons as well as in various concert appearances.

MUST-READ: The Beach Boys Members: See the Band Then and Now

Now 54, Wendy is married to sound engineer Danny Knutson and they have four children. As Carnie told Woman’s World in 2023, “Wendy’s got her four boys and she’s very hands-on, a stay at home mom.”

Chynna Phillips

Chynna in 1990 and 2024
Left: 1990; Right: 2024Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty for alice + olivia

Chynna Phillips is the only daughter of the Mamas and the Papas’ John and Michelle Phillips. The actresses Mackenzie Phillips (of One Day at a Time fame) and Bijou Phillips (who’s appeared in movies like Almost Famous, Bully and Hostel: Part II) are her half-sisters, and she also has two half-brothers, Jeffrey and Tamerlane, who have mostly stayed out of the public eye.

MUST-READ: ‘One Day at a Time’ 1975 Cast: Where Are They Now?

In 1995, Chynna released her first and only solo album, Naked and Sacred. In 2011, she was a contestant on Dancing With the Stars.

Chynna started out as an actress in the ’80s, appearing in movies like Some Kind of Wonderful, Caddyshack II and Say Anything as well a number of TV movies. She returned to acting following the disbandment of Wilson Phillips, costarring with Jason Alexander and Vanessa Williams in the 1995 TV movie remake of Bye Bye Birdie. In the ’00s, she provided voiceover work for four episodes of the Nickelodeon cartoon Danny Phantom. She last appeared in the 2021 movie Church People.

MUST-READ: The Mamas & the Papas and the Drama That Unfolded For The Legendary Musicians

Chynna battled addiction as a teen, and has been sober for many years. She’s since embraced Christianity and currently has a faith-based online community, California Healin’, and YouTube channel, California Preachin’. She collaborated on a Christian album, One Reason, with singer-songwriter Vaughan Penn in 2009.

Now 56, Chynna is married to another celebrity from a famous family, actor Billy Baldwin. They have two daughters and a son.

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