Brooke Shields has written the mother of all memoirs. Her new book, There Was a Little Girl, is all about the complicated relationship she had with her late mom and former manager, Teri Shields, who helped launch her daughter’s career as a model and actress from infancy.
The Lipstick Jungle star, 49, spoke to the New York Post ahead of the book’s Nov. 18 release next week, detailing what it was like to write the memoir, and what she remembers of her childhood.
“I think the hardest part was reliving the happy memories,” she told the paper. “That’s when you think the ending could be different, that there was hope — and then you’re struck with reality and think, ‘What a shame.'”
Shields recalled spending a lot of time in bars with Teri, who drank heavily throughout her life. (She died in 2012 at age 79.) According to the Post, she was staging interventions for her mother by the time she was 13 years old. Sometimes, the paper reports, her mother left her with a male neighbor so she could go out alone. That same male neighbor later boasted at a funeral “that he slept with [Brooke] (literally, they just slept) when she was a toddler,” the Post states.
“In this day and age, it’s child abuse,” the former Calvin Klein model said. “But in the late ’60s, if you were in an apartment building and had a friend there, you dropped your kid off…It was sort of sad that she couldn’t afford a babysitter.”
Later, the Post reports, Teri encouraged her daughter “to date nice men like George Michael, Michael Jackson, and John Travolta.” (Shields — now married to Chris Henchy — did in fact date the Wham! singer, and was close friends with Jackson.) Teri, meanwhile, went out with Woody Allen, among others.
It wasn’t all bad, though. The Post cites an anecdote from Shields’ book about the time Teri “stopped a plane to retrieve the doll Brooke left in the airport.” And it claims Shields said she and her mom worked together to choose every job she took, including the controversial Pretty Baby (1978) and The Blue Lagoon (1980), both of which featured nude scenes of the then-underage star.
Teri also defended her daughter’s looks, balking when agencies asked her to change something about her appearance. “Because my hair was so light, the modeling people wanted to bleach my eyebrows,” the ’80s supermodel recalled to the paper. “My mom said, ‘Get outta town!'”
Her childhood wasn’t perfect, she admitted, but it made her who she is. “I had it bad,” she told the Post, “but who I am today is an amalgam of every single part of my past.”
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