When 11-month-old Brooke Shields was thrust into the fashion industry, something in the modeling world changed. Some of the biggest brands in the world wanted to hire her, and it seemed Shields was able to do it all – from modeling to acting, as well as studying at an Ivy League school. However, now is the time to reveal the truth about her time in the spotlight.
It seems Shield was destined to live the life she did, as she was born to a model mother and a Revlon executive father. She was already a gifted child with a winning smile which was asking to be captured by a camera.
2. Fight For Legal Rights
In the early ’80s, Shield’s mother and a photographer had a huge legal dispute, where they were unable to settle the rights to some of the photos her mother had signed away. This was a massive issue, as Brooke was still a minor and the photos were due to be published in a book called Sugar and Spice. Due to the legal complications involved, the publication was postponed. The courts eventually ruled in favor of the photographer, as a loophole suggests that if Brooke was considered a child performer rather than a model, her mother would have won the battle.
3. Life Changed Forever
Before Brooke’s first birthday her parents had divorced and she had been cast in her first commercial. The advert was for Ivory soap and she was such a natural on camera, they named her “The Most Beautiful Baby in America”. This created a long and successful career for her in Hollywood.
4. Initial Perfection
The beautiful baby soon blossomed into a young woman, who wished to live her life simply and peacefully. She took up ballet, learned how to play the piano and also loved riding horses. The fact she continued to pursue all of her interests while still having a career in modeling made her stand out from the industry.
To the outside world it may have seemed like a lot of laughter and smiles, however, Brooke was apparently a crumbling mess within. He mother decided to act as her manager, claiming she knew her daughter best and would, therefore, have her best interests in mind. Upon taking this role up, it seemed Teri struggled with the pressure and became an alcoholic. This completely took over Brooke’s life, both professionally and personally.
6. Child Exploitation
What had finally topped her mother off was the amount of criticism she had received after allowing her daughter to act as a child-adult ‘worker’ in the movie Pretty Baby. She had been just 11-years-old when she was involved in some very questionable scenes on screen. Some people argued that having a minor in a film like this was groundbreaking, while others claimed it was an inappropriate use of a child.
7. First Love
She began to spend more time as she grew up with the fellow child actor, Scott Baio. He was known for his role as Chachi Arcola in Happy Days and was rumored to be involved romantically with Brooke. Years later, she revealed that she was his girlfriend when they had a fling in the late ’70s.
8. Wouldn’t Let Her Go
Brooke was granted huge exposure when she featured on the cover of Seventeen magazine in 1978, when American designer, Calvin Klein landed his eyes on her and knew he was looking at an “it” girl. Klein was just launching his denim line and knew “The most beautiful girl in the world” had to model them for his range.
9. Ban From Networks
It seemed her good looks weren’t enough for the Calvin Klein commercial producers, who tried to push through socially accepted norms by making Brooke speak out a very suggestive sentence which would emphasize the sexuality behind the advert. The advert began by Brooke sitting in a suggestive position while saying – “you want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.” Two networks banned the commercial for being too risqué.
10. Leading Him On
A New York Times journalist was apparently not happy with Brooke’s words, saying “it was a little peculiar hearing Brooke Shields’s weepy testimony about her deep friendship with Jackson given the fact that she told reporters that the last time she saw him was at Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth wedding in 1991″. Many people watched as Jackson stated in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993 that he was dating Brooke, and she admitted to not returning his love.
11. Beautiful & Strong
In the ’90s, Shields became a fitness inspiration for women, encouraging them to see sport and working out as another aspect of their femininity rather than shying away from athletics. Brooke had the right platform to show women they could be both strong and beautiful. She suddenly became the face of health and fitness magazines and was often interviewed discussing her healthy eating and workout routines.
12. Filthy Rich
Shields didn’t have to wait for long before becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the U.S. Being an actress and model was a rare combination back in that time, which could explain why her day rate was around $10,000 by the time she turned 16-years-old. She appeared on various national Vogue covers around the world.
13. Record-Breaking Star
Brooke had guest appearances on highly rated shows a lot of actors and actresses aspired to be on, but that’s not all. She was the youngest talent to ever appear on The Muppet Show and host ABC’s Fridays, which is a Saturday Night Live-like sketch comedy show. Some say it was due to her tremendous success as a child on Blue Lagoon and Pretty Baby.
Apparently, celibacy was a big deal for Brooke’s mother, and for Brooke. After she lost her virginity, Brooke felt so overwhelmed by her feelings that she had run out of the bedroom in a daze. Although she was 22-years-old at this point, it didn’t change how guilty she felt about the situation.
15. Breaking Boundaries
Turning 21 for American youngsters is a big celebration, and Brooke was no exception. However, she decided to celebrate this moment in her life by displaying herself in the Playboy magazine. Although the photographs left little to the imagination, she received far less criticism for her pictures than when she appeared in Pretty Baby. It became obvious that she was always going to be hunted down for scandals.
16. Unrequited Love
Michael Jackson famously said “That was one of the loves of my life Her pictures were all over my wall, my mirror, everything. I went to the Academy Awards and this girl walks up to me and says ‘Hi, I’m Brooke Shields. Are you going to the after-party?’ I go, ‘Yeah,’ thinking ‘Oh my God, does she know she’s all over my room?’ Man, we exchanged numbers and I was up all night, singing, spinning around my room, just so happy.”
“I think she loved me as much as I loved her, you know? We dated a lot. We, we went out a lot It was great” said Michael Jackson in one interview he gave, discussing his relationship with Brooke. Brooke also admitted in one statement that Jackson had asked her to marry him on several occasions. It appeared his love for her was so strong he even suggested the two would adopt a child together – but Shields just laughed it off.
When Michael Jackson died, the media were quick to criticize Shields. They said she appeared too distressed for someone who had cut ties with the singer. She spoke at his memorial, reminiscing about their relationship in a platonic way. “Thinking back to when we met and the many times that we spent together, there would be a caption of some kind, which would usually say something like ‘an odd couple’ or ‘an unlikely pair,’ but to us, it was the most natural and easiest of friendships.”
19. Private Jokes Revealed
While reading the eulogy out loud, Brooke shared lots of anecdotes about their relationship. She had thought about the time she was his date for one of Elizabeth Taylor’s weddings, and how they had enjoyed getting into trouble together. They had snuck into Taylor’s room but walked in to discover Taylor in the bed. She had also joked about Michael’s often ridiculed love for sequin gloves while sobbing emotionally.
The Blue Lagoon is an American romantic, adventure, drama film directed by Randal Kleiser and filmed on Turtle Island in Fiji. It tells the tale of two young children marooned on a tropical island paradise in the South Pacific. With neither the guidance nor the restrictions of society, emotional feelings and physical changes arise as they reach puberty and fall in love. Brooke had to testify before a U.S. Congressional inquiry that older body doubles were used in some of her scenes with co-star Christopher Atkins.
21. R Rated
Despite using body doubles for some of the scenes and having her long, voluminous hair cover her upper torso throughout the film’s frontal shots, the film still received an MPAA rating of R in the United States. The film was the ninth biggest box office hit of 1980 in North America, probably thanks to its controversial nature.
22. Her Crazy Love Life
She met what she thought was the love of her life in 1993 – tennis star Andre Agassi. By 1997, the couple got married and everything seemed perfect. But less than two years (and many dramas) later, they had an annulment on their marriage.
23. Andre’s Drug Addiction
Brooke’s mom, Teri, didn’t approve of her daughter’s marriage to Andre. This soon led to Brooke distancing herself from her mother. This became a catalyst for a fiery feud between the mother-daughter duo. Shield’s even fired her mom from her role as manager, even though she’d supported her career for over 30 years. In 1999, Brooke found out that her husband Andre had been battling a substance addiction, something he’d been hiding from her for years. The two finally split up.
24. The Next Chapter
Brooke felt like this was the right time to discover more about herself. She put her modeling career to the side and decided to showcase her talents on the big screen instead. She landed a role on the award-winning show Suddenly Susan. This was a whole new world for Brooke, who now felt she was having to prove herself on a new career ladder. She starred alongside some already big names on TV, such as Kathy Griffin, Judd Nelson, and Nestor Carbonell.
25. Changing Her Mind
For a long time, Brooke had been an activist for animal rights and was very open about her lifestyle as a vegan. She had supported many animal rights organizations over the years, and even made a stand against the fashion fur industry. But in 1989, Brooke seemed to have a change of heart and created her own mink fur coat for Copenhagen Fur. PETA slammed the former model in the media.
26. From The TV To The Stage
Now Shields had tried out her talents on the TV screen, she made the exciting transition to Broadway. From Grease to Cabaret and Wonderful Town to Chicago, Brooke landed roles in some of the biggest shows around. After her initial success, she was given the role of Morticia Addams in The Addams Family in 2011. But once her role as Morticia came to an end, Brooke was ready to move on from her new life as a Broadway star. She waved goodbye to the NYC show scene and sold her 458 Broadway apartment to start a new adventure.
27. A New Found Love
After her marriage with Andre came crashing down, Brooke had lost all hope in love and was almost ready to give up on ever finding Mr. Right. But things were about to change for the better when her friend set her up on a blind date with writer and film producer Chris Henchy. Sparks instantly flew and the pair were married after just eight months of dating. For her second wedding, Brooke decided to keep things more low-key.
As they didn’t have a huge wedding ceremony, Brooke and Chris decided to surprise their friends and family with a wedding dinner. Their closest ones were invited to a surprise dinner-turned-ceremony on the gorgeous Catalina Island just off the coast of California. The whole world was shocked to learn of the couple’s decision to get wed. Shields and her writer hubby are just as loved up today as they were back then, so maybe keeping things low-key turned out for the best.
29. Saying Goodbye
Even though things were going really well for Brooke, she was suddenly hit with the bad news that her father had passed away. Frank Shields was a very successful businessman and an executive at Revlon in NYC. Although he kept out of the spotlight, unlike Brooke’s mom, her father was someone she really looked up to. After her dad passed, Brooke decided to take part in the popular TV show Who Do You Think You Are to learn more about her family tree and ancestry. She said of her dad’s death, “Loss after loss after loss, it takes a toll on your soul.”
30. Coping With Loss
As her dad’s death came as such a shock, Brooke found it hard to cope. She was actually pregnant at the time of Frank’s death and was only weeks away from giving birth to her first child. Just three weeks after his sudden death, Brooke’s baby was born, coming into the world on May 15, 2003. Despite a bundle of joy coming into her life, Brooke began suffering from depression.
31. A Downward Spiral
Being a new mother to the adorable Rowan Henchy, as well as losing her father, was all too much for Brooke. She felt like the whole world was against her and she couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. She was sadly diagnosed with postpartum depression.
32. Telling All
After years of therapy sessions trying to deal with her postpartum depression, Brooke released a tell-all book titled Down Came The Rain. She used it to speak out about the condition and give other women inspiration to pull through the same struggles. She also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to tell of her experience with depression and suicidal thoughts.
33. A Public Fallout
After speaking out about her battle with postnatal depression, Brooke was slammed by Hollywood actor Tom Cruise for promoting the anti-depressive drug Paxil. Cruise publicly shamed her career as well as her personal life, saying in an interview, “Here is a woman – and I care about Brooke Shields because I think she is an incredibly talented woman – you look at , where has her career gone?” In turn, Brooke called the A-lister “irresponsible” for his comments.
34. An Ongoing Feud
Brooke was deeply upset by Tom’s outlandish comments. Instead of holding back, she told Cruise he should “stick to fighting aliens” – a dig at both Cruise’s lead role in War of the Worlds as well as his Scientology beliefs. Brooke believed Cruise had no place to comment on how mothers deal with their postpartum depression, saying he should let each individual mom decide how to handle the condition.
35. Speaking Out
Brooke wasn’t finished putting up a fight for all the moms who had been through the same as her. And it seems she wanted to prove that depression had helped her become a better mother. She penned a post for The New York Times, saying, “In a strange way, it was comforting to me when my obstetrician told me that my feelings of extreme despair and my suicidal thoughts were directly tied to a biochemical shift in my body. Once we admit that postpartum is a serious medical condition, then the treatment becomes more available and socially acceptable Without it, I wouldn’t have become the loving parent I am today.”
36. A Much-Deserved Apology
In August 2006, Cruise finally apologized to Brooke for his unacceptable comments. He reportedly sent the model a private message to say sorry, and it soon became one of Hollywood’s biggest talking points. Everyone wanted to know whether Brooke had accepted the actor’s apology. She finally spoke out about the situation, saying she felt his apology was “heartfelt”. Three months later, Brooke and her husband attended Tom’s wedding to Katie Holmes – was it all for show or had they genuinely made amends?
37. Lipstick Jungle
Things started looking up for Brooke, and in 2006 she gave birth to her second daughter, Grier. She finally pushed past her struggles with postnatal depression and was enjoying the balance of work life and motherhood. Shields turned her attention to television again, landing the role of Wendy in NBC’s Lipstick Jungle, inspired by the much-loved Sex and the City. Sadly, the series was canceled after just one season.
38. A Devastating Loss
In 2012, Brooke went through the most heartbreaking thing she had ever faced – the death of her mother. Brooke’s mom was one of her biggest inspirations, both in her career and personal life. Brooke regretted that she and her late mother never got the chance to talk through their obviously troubled relationship. With Brooke posing nude at just 8-years old and being a teenager when working for Playboy, her childhood was quickly stripped of its innocence, something she felt guilty about when it came to her mom.
39. A Memoir Of Her Life
In 2014, Brooke published There Was A Little Girl, a memoir about her troubled childhood and working with her mom as her manager. Despite Brooke saying her mother was a difficult woman, there is no doubt that she absolutely idolized her too. When Brooke was just a toddler, her mom spoke out about how she knew her daughter was destined for a life in showbiz, saying, “she’s the most beautiful child and I’m going to help her with her career”.
40. An Inspiration
Brooke used her troubled life and her mother’s death as an inspiration to be the best parent she could be to her two daughters. In an interview with The Guardian, she said she likes to “rule with an iron hand” when it comes to her daughters, giving them a solid upbringing and the parental support she needed herself as a child. Her priority was to make sure the girls had a healthy and happy childhood.
41. Protecting Her Little Girls
Brooke wanted to shield her daughters from any influence in the media when it came to body image and looks. She didn’t want her girls to be exposed to the modeling industry like she was as a kid, saying, “We shouldn’t just see 15-year-old bodies” she said, “I don’t want a 15-year-old body. I don’t want to look like a little boy.” She banned her daughters from getting involved with the modeling industry until they left college.
42. It’s A Cutthroat Business
When asked about why she wanted to shield her girls from the industry, she explained, “It’s a cutthroat and demoralizing business. Plus, they want you when they want you, and you have to be there for auditions and work, and my kids aren’t missing school. If I hadn’t had the intellectual piece as my friend, I would have been more devoured by an industry that has no loyalty whatsoever. You do think because you’ve been in the industry all of your life it will be loyal, but it’s the antithesis of that.”
43. Tired Of Superficiality
Back in the 1980s while casually dating John Travolta, Brooke has admitted that the Grease star would even pick up from her school in secret disguise. But Brooke made sure not to let her priorities slip and were determined to prove that she wasn’t just a pretty face. So in 1983, she graduated from Dwight-Englewood preparatory school in New Jersey, before graduating from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in Romance Languages.
44. George Michael