Brooke Shields has been in Hollywood since before she could walk, appearing in her first commercial for Ivory Soap at 11 months old.
Now, the 57-year-old is sharing the secrets about her life and career in her Hulu documentary, “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields.”
Leading up to the documentary’s release, Shields didn’t hold back. She spoke about everything from her sexualized roles in “Pretty Baby” and “Blue Lagoon,” to her mother’s emotional abuse and alcoholism, to her own rocky love life.
Read on for Shields’ biggest revelations.
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Sexualization at a young age
Shields has discussed being sexualized at a young age due to roles like “Pretty Baby” and “Blue Lagoon.”
In “Pretty Baby” – which her documentary title references – Shield portrayed a 12-year-old girl being raised in a brothel who eventually made her way into prostitution.
In “Blue Lagoon,” Shields played a teenager stranded on an island with her co-star, Christopher Atkins, where they shot nude scenes. Shields was just 14 years old when she filmed the movie while her co-star was 18.
The same year she shot “Blue Lagoon,” she also became the youngest person to cover Vogue magazine.
When the actress was 15, she famously starred in the now-iconic 1980 Calvin Klein jeans ad campaign in which her tagline was: “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”
The fashion shoot, directed by Richard Avedon, caused an uproar over perceived sexual innuendo in the teen’s performance.
“I was away when [the campaign] came out, and then I started hearing that the commercials were being banned,” Shields told Vogue in 2021.
“The paparazzi would scream at me and my mother, ‘How could you!’” she recalled. “It just struck me as so ridiculous.”
“I didn’t think it was about underwear or sexual in nature,” Shields continued. “I was naive. I think the assumption was that I was much more savvy than I really was. I was a virgin, and I was a virgin forever after that.”
Previously as a 10-year-old, her mother, Teri Shields, who also served as the star’s manager, commissioned photographer Gary Gross to shoot nude pics of Shields for the Playboy publication “Sugar ’n’ Spice.”
Her mother faced backlash for allowing her daughter to take on such racy roles, but it wouldn’t be the last time.
Speaking with the Sunday Times, Shields said she wanted to please her mother and found herself justifying decisions she herself wouldn’t make.
“It’s so innate when you’re an only child of a single mother,” Shields said. “All you want to do is love your parent and keep them alive forever, and so I wanted to protect her. And by virtue of protecting her, I was justifying everything, and that solidified that bond between us.”
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Shields revealed that she previously defended her mother’s decision.
“It was too much for me to cop to that, really,” she said. “Writing about it just broke me. It was her that I was protecting. Everyone always wanted me to be angry with her, but anger was just too sad for me to take when I looked at how insecure she was.”
The mother of two said that creating her documentary allowed her to reflect on herself in a new light.
“It was making the documentary that encouraged it,” Shields told the outlet. “That made me look at what kind of person I am and to give myself a little credit. I had to contend with so much at such an early age, and there was resilience, but also I put on blinders as a defense mechanism. But now I can look at that little girl and think, ‘She did it, she pulled through.’”
Struggles with her mother
Teri struggled with alcohol abuse when Shields was a young girl, further complicating their relationship.
“I’d been parenting her, in a way, from the time I was a little girl,” she told the New Yorker. “When you grow up in an alcoholic household, you learn to navigate it at a very young age, and I was an only child. I just wanted to keep her safe. And she could walk on water – she was my everything.”
The two-time Golden Globe nominee previously told AP that she developed coping mechanisms to handle her mother’s drinking problem.
“I think that happens with a child of an alcoholic,” she said. “You know, you really do learn to compartmentalize.”
“You love a person who is very broken and has a disease that they cannot seem to get under control. But you can’t afford to have their love not be real.” Shields said she would become “very organized” when things felt out of control. “That sort of was my center, that was my meditation, you know, redoing my Filofax or refolding my socks.”
Shields’ mom passed away in 2012 after a battle with dementia.
Sexual assault claim
In the documentary, Shields claims she was raped by an unnamed Hollywood professional.
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“I thought I was getting a movie, a job,” Shields explained to People. After having dinner with the Hollywood executive, he invited her to make a call for a cab from his hotel room where the sexual assault happened.
“I didn’t fight … I just froze,” Shields continued.
“I kept saying, ‘I shouldn’t have done that. Why did I go up with him? I shouldn’t have had that drink at dinner.'”
Despite experiencing the “lowest point” of her career amid the sexual assault, the model said she was grateful to continue being a part of projects.
“Doing the documentary, you see it all together, and it’s a miracle that I survived,” Shields told the media outlet.
“To still love to hate the industry, but still love what I do … still get a chance to do it, to me that is a testament to talent and perseverance.”
“I always kept going, like a bull in a china shop,” she said. “I will not be defeated.”
Rocky love life
Shields shared that her relationship with former No. 1-ranked tennis player, Andre Agassi, was challenging and caused her to struggle.
Shields and Agassi were married for two years from 1997 to 1999. The actress said that after she guest-starred on the sitcom “Friends” in 1996, Agassi was “petulant.”
“Andre was in the audience supporting me, and he stormed out,” Shields recalled of the show’s taping in an interview with the New Yorker. “He said, ‘Everybody’s making fun of me. You made a fool of me by that behavior.’”
As a result, Shields says Agassi “smashed all his trophies.”
“Who wins for that? That’s just – don’t,” she said of his reaction.
In a season 2 episode titled “The One After the Superbowl: Part 1,” Shields portrays Erika Ford, a woman infatuated with Matt LeBlanc’s character, Joey Tribbiani – or in this case, the alter ego whom Tribbiani portrays in the show, Dr. Drake Ramoray from “Days of Our Lives.”
“In the scene, I’m supposed to lick Joey’s fingers because they’re the hands of a genius, and I want to devour them, and I’m a nut. [LeBlanc] was cute, he was like, ‘I’ve washed my hands, and they’re all clean.’ I was like, ‘I had a mint!’”
Shields remembers the overt behavior of her character almost being too powerful for the scene.
“I throw my head back in this cackle. We had done it in rehearsal, and they said, ‘It’s too crazy. Don’t do it.’ And I begged for it: ‘It’s so funny. It just makes her crazier. And she’s pretty, so she needs to really be crazy.’ And they were like, ‘No, no.’ We did the first take, and it was fine. And then the second take, they scream, ‘Shields, put it back in!'”
After Agassi voiced his frustration with the scene, Shields remembers being confused.
“I’m like, ‘It’s comedy. What is the matter with you?’ I learned later that he was addicted to crystal meth at that point, so that irrational behavior I’m sure had something to do with that.”
“It was petulant behavior,” she said of Agassi’s response. “It co-opted [‘Friends’] for me emotionally because all of a sudden then my focus went to him,” she said.
Tom Cruise’s antidepressant snub
Shields also opened up about her postpartum depression, which ultimately led her to take antidepressants, much to the chagrin of Tom Cruise.
In the documentary, as reported by Variety, Shields calls the incident in which Cruise interjected his feelings on the use of medication “ridiculous.”
At the time, Shields had just released her new book, “Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression,” while Cruise was doing press for his movie “War of the Worlds.” In a conversation with Matt Lauer on “The Today Show,” Cruise discussed his problems with psychiatric drugs.
Cruise, who co-starred with Shields in the 1981 film “Endless Love,” described psychiatric drugs as “dangerous,” which he says is independent of the Church of Scientology’s choice not to use “mind-altering psychotropic drugs.”
Shields boldly responded to Cruise’s initial comments, writing an op-ed piece for the New York Times.
In the article, Shields addressed his interview, writing in part, “I WAS hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but after Tom Cruise’s interview with Matt Lauer on the NBC show ‘Today’ last week, I feel compelled to speak not just for myself but also for the hundreds of thousands of women who have suffered from postpartum depression. While Mr. Cruise says that Mr. Lauer and I do not ‘understand the history of psychiatry,’ I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression.”
She also added, “Comments like those made by Tom Cruise are a disservice to mothers everywhere. To suggest that I was wrong to take drugs to deal with my depression, and that instead I should have taken vitamins and exercised shows an utter lack of understanding about postpartum depression and childbirth in general. If any good can come of Mr. Cruise’s ridiculous rant, let’s hope that it gives much-needed attention to a serious disease.”
Shields would later tell Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” that Cruise apologized.
Her college sweetheart
Brooke Shields and Dean Cain may have experienced young love, but the actress was experiencing guilt years later.
Shields talked about being sexualized in films at an early age, which made her “paralyzed from shame” in her real-life relationships.
In the documentary, Shields recalls running “butt naked” from the room after being intimate with the “Superman” star, according to Page Six. She admits Cain was “more comfortable with … the sexual part” of their relationship.
Shields said she didn’t understand her reaction to having sex at first, but now she knows she felt “sort of a regret for lost exploration and opportunity to understand my personal sexuality.”
“I feel bad for that girl,” she continued. “She was old enough to own her own body for real. And … just, I couldn’t get there at that moment.”
Shields also spoke about her relationship with Cain in an interview with People, saying, “We had a great relationship, broke up, got back together again after three years. And that should have been a delicious time for me of reveling in it and feeling proud and free because I was in love.”
“But it was as if I was just paralyzed from shame, thinking everybody was going to know, thinking of letting my fans down because I had professed one thing.”
The “Endless Love” actress said of Cain, “He just was so loyal and loving and just so in love. And I did not make it easy.”
Shields told the outlet that she apologized to Cain “a few years back” for not maximizing their time together during their college romance.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry for you, and I’m really sorry for me,'” she said.
Shields, 57, and Cain, 56, dated while they were classmates at Princeton University. She recalled being in a “great relationship” with Cain, who was “beautiful” and “mouthwatering.”
Shields’ daughters were not thrilled
Shields’ daughters were not particularly happy about their mother’s all-encompassing documentary, “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields.”
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The actress said that she had gotten in “trouble” with Rowan Francis, 19, and Grier Hammond, 16, for not sharing some stories with her daughters ahead of the release of her project. Shields shares her children with husband Chris Henchy.
“You know I thought I did [teach them], but there’s a lot in the documentary they did not know about, with which I got in trouble with them for because they were mad that I didn’t inform them about everything,” Shields said during an interview with People.
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“But needless to say, it opened up some other conversations.”
In her documentary, Shields highlights different topics, including the objectification of women.
“Well, I think times have changed a great deal, but I think it’s important that we have that dialogue,” Shields told the media outlet.
Despite not growing up around TikTok or Twitter, Shields noted that social media platforms may be harmful, and she wants to protect her daughters.
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“I have young girls, and we didn’t have social media and TikTok, and that’s a whole other animal. And it’s been happening since the dawn of time, and it’s more dangerous than ever,” she said. “These kinds of conversations are really important to have for our young women because we need to be honest about what we’re facing and how to find our own agency. And we need these young women to find their own agency as early as possible.”
Fox News Digital’s Caroline Thayer contributed to this report.