- Brooke Shields made her film debut at age 12 in 1978’s ‘Pretty Baby’
- The Princeton grad starred in 1980’s ‘Blue Lagoon’
- She had a famously complicated Relationship with her momager Teri Shields
Brooke Shields may be one of the most gorgeous and glamourous actresses around, but she isn’t afraid to show off the not-so-pretty parts of fame in her biographical documentary Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields. The two-part Hulu film, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, explores Brooke’s childhood stardom, which began with such controversial films like 1978’s Pretty Baby, where she played a 12-year-old prostitute, and 1980’s Blue Lagoon, where she was filmed partially nude at age 14. Her teen years also included a very famous Calvin Clein underwear modeling campaign.
Those early years of Brooke’s sexual objectification were unfolding under her manager’s eye, who happened to be her mother, Teri Shields, whom she eventually fired. “Over the decades there’s been a lot said, more negative than positive,” Brooke said of Teri, who died in 2012, to USA Today in 2014. “The love was so intense,” she continued. “[My mom] came before anybody. I thought she was God, I thought she could change the weather. It was us against the world.” Let’s take a look at the complicated mother-daughter relationship, below.
Teri Was Brooke’s Manager
Born August 1, 1933 in New Jersey, Teri Schmon would marry Francis Shields in 1964 and divorce only a few months later, when Brooke was only five months old. Cut to six months later, and Teri booked Brooke her first national ad, for Ivory soap. Teri then acted as her manager until Brooke was in her 20s.
Even when there were questionable choices from Terri as a manger in regard to Brooke’s career, such as allowing childhood nudity, Brooke would often choose to defend them. “It’s so innate when you’re an only child of a single mother,” Brooke told The Sunday Times. “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.”
She Suffered Heavily From Alcohol Use Disorder
Teri was known to suffer from alcohol use disorder and would often disappear into the bars when Brooke was on Hollywood sets, according to The Times. The Suddenly Susan star even staged an intervention at age 13 for Teri, but the stint of sobriety was short-lived, per the outlet.
“I also said goodbye to her every time she drank. She wasn’t present. I knew who she was capable of being because it was in there… ” Brooke said of Teri at the Variety Studio at Sundance. “I feel sad that she’s missing out on this [documentary]. She’s probably looking down saying, ‘I didn’t get enough screen time.’”
Brooke Posed For Playboy At 10 & Teri Made Her Do It
Teri was accused at times of exploiting her own daughter, although Brooke found it hard to blame Teri. Even when Teri encouraged Brooke to pose nude for a Playboy publication called Sugar and Spice at the age of 10. “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,” Brooke told The Sunday Times.
However, Brooke, who shares two daughters, Rowan, 19, & Grier, 16, with husband Chris Henchy, said it was hard to defend Teri’s actions after her girls called Pretty Baby “child pornography” and asked, “Would you have let us [do that] at the age of 11?,” per Woman & Home. “That was … that was hard for me, to not justify my mom to them, but when they asked me, I thought, ‘Oh God, I have to admit this,’” Brooke told The Times. “I mean, I could say, ‘Oh, it was the time back then,’ or ‘Oh, it was art.’ But I don’t know why she thought it was all right. I don’t know.”
Brooke Wrote a Tell-All About Their Relationship
Brooke, who wrote about her postpartum depression in 2005’s Down Came the Rain, opened up more about her relationship with Teri in a book titled There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me, released in 2014. The tome arrived almost two years after Teri’s death at the age of 79 following a long illness related to dementia. “You don’t ever recover from losing a parent,” Brooke said at the Variety Studio. “It’s a primal thing. You learn to put it in a different place in your heart.”
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