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Brooke Shields Explains Why She Opened Up About Her Rape More Than 30 Years Later: ‘I’ve Learned to Process It’

Brooke Shields
Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Opening up. Brooke Shields looks back at her life in the documentary Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields and, for the first time, discusses being sexually assaulted.

Related: Hollywood's Sexual Misconduct Scandals

“I did not know if or when or if at all I was ever going to bring this up,” the model, 57, explained to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, January 19. “It has taken me many years of therapy to even be able to talk about it. I definitely have worked very hard through it, and I’ve learned to process it.”

In the new movie — which premiered on Friday, January 20, at Sundance Film Festival — Shields recalled struggling to find film roles after her 1987 graduation from Princeton University. She was excited to meet with an old friend about a possible project, and he invited her back to his hotel room in order to call a cab.

“I just absolutely froze,” the Blue Lagoon star said in the documentary via Rolling Stone. “My one ‘no’ should have been enough. And I just thought, ‘Stay alive, and get out.’ And I just shut it out. And god knows I knew how to be disassociated from my body. I’d practiced that.”

Related: Brooke Shields' Best Fashion Moments of All Time

Shields continued: “I wanted to erase the whole thing from my mind and body, and just keep on the path I was on. And the system had never once come to help me, you know? So, I just had to get stronger on my own.”

The film, directed by Lana Wilson (who helmed Taylor Swift‘s Miss Americana doc) shows Shields processing her feelings, from initially refusing a bodyguard who said the incident was rape to eventually writing her assailant a scathing letter.

Related: See Brooke Shields' Family Photos With Daughters Rowan and Grier

“I’ve come to a place, and we’ve come to a time in our society, where we can talk about these things much more openly,” Shields told THR. “I had no idea I was going to say it. I thought, I have arrived at this place, and I feel as a mother of two young girls that I hope that just by even hearing my incident that I can add myself to becoming an advocate. Because this is something that does happen every day, and it should not be happening. I felt that I had arrived at a place where I could talk about it. It’s taken me a long time.”

The New York native shares daughters Rowan, 19, and Grier, 16, with husband Chris Henchy. She has been married to the producer since 2001.

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