Interview: Brooke Shields talks about her new memoir, her mom and missing being on television

Brooke Shields new memoir “There Was A Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother And Me” on sale now. She’s known for being the epitome of beauty, style and subtle seduction. She was America’s sweetheart, even while sparking controversy with her films (she played an underage hooker in her first major role), her TV ads (she redefined the concept of snug-fitting jeans in more than one TV commercial), and her uber-public relationships (her bond with Michael Jackson made headlines all over the world). For Brooke Shields, getting the public’s attention is just another day at work, and for over four decades, she’s done it without a hint of difficulty or regret. She’s conquered movies, TV and Broadway, but her latest book, There Was a Little Girl: There Was A Little Girl (available Brooke Shields interviewnow), is about the most cherished part of her life: her relationship with her mother Teri. We caught up with Brooke and reflected on her untouchable career.

Your mother supported your career from a very young age. Did she always want you to be a star?
Brooke Shields: It was this bizarre, gradual process. By chance, I got a job as a baby model. We started to make money, and that was more of an income than my mom was able to make working part time at a bookstore or at Lord & Taylor or wherever she was working, so it became this path that we were both on together, and it was fun and it opened up a whole life for us. I think if she really did have a plan in mind, things would have turned out very different. I think my career would have been different.

 Your mom was such a huge part of your early life and career. What types of sacrifices did she make in order to support you?
It was less glamorous for my mother than you’d think, because we were getting up at 5 in the morning on these trips and we were working 16-hour days during the summer. The times that I did go to camp, I wanted to go home. I wanted to go be with my mom, because we would have more fun doing a photo shoot in Italy, because they were with my friends. My friends always got to come with me, and it seemed … it was just a very different type of life, so I really can’t look at it as a sacrifice. I have no recollection of not liking it.

From your role as a child prostitute in 1978’s Pretty Baby to your much talked about Calvin Klein ads, you’ve been involved in a lot of provocative projects throughout your career. Do you think you were consciously looking for controversy?

Brooke Shields Calvin Klein ads
Calvin Klein

No. I’ve got to be honest. I wish I had that type of foresight. I wish that I’d set out to be like, “OK, we’re going to be shocking.” I believe I was in the right place at the right time for many different things. I’d love to say we had a plan and it was charted out and then we navigated, but if you really look at the whole body of my career, it is not … there’s nothing charted. There is no rhyme or reason to any of it. Did something fit in my schedule? Fine. Was I America’s sweetheart one minute and a provocative child in a European director’s movie? It was all over the place. It ran the gamut, and it made it really hard for people to really understand me. It made it hard for me to understand my career and me.

We didn’t set out to make controversy … we knew that with the Calvin Klein ads, we were a first, because no one had made minute-long commercials that we were trying to sell in movie theaters. No one had made commercials with just one person talking. It was a different era in advertising. We knew we were a part of something, but we weren’t trying to be. We weren’t trying to go out of our way to be controversial.

I made a movie with a French film director, and this is his first American film. He wanted an untrained person. I wasn’t even really an actress at that point. I sort of was, but we kind of fell into it. We ended up becoming a part of something that just rocked people’s world, and everybody had a lot to say and everybody was very opinionated. In a way, the controversy made it more art than anything else, because people were having strong opinions about it.

Even after all of your early success, I think a lot people got to know you all over again when you were on Friends, (playing Joey’s psychopathic stalker) and then when you had your own sitcom, Suddenly Susan. It was almost like the dawning of a new era for you. Did you always want to try comedy?


It was absolutely the beginning of one of the best periods of my whole life. I’ve always wanted to do comedy. I’ve always loved it. I’ve always been the clown in class, the one that gets up and is not afraid to make a fool of myself. I’ve always been that person, but because I looked a certain way, it was never something people could get their minds around. We didn’t see that a lot. In some of the old movies, there were actresses that looked a certain way that could be in these screwball comedies, but there really hadn’t been anybody since then. That was just a lucky break.

It was the first time that they thought, “Oh, someone can look a certain way and be absolutely funny.” It was something I’d been waiting for, although I got a chance to do a lot of it on the Bob Hope shows. He was the first one that gave me the chance to be in sketch comedy and stuff like that, and I just loved it, but it wasn’t something that people were really willing to embrace yet.

TV, films, Broadway: You’ve pretty much done it all, but what is something that you still want to do that you have yet to do?

I think I just want more of what I’ve done that I’ve liked. I eventually want to do a one-woman show on Broadway. I absolutely, on a daily basis, miss being on television, like a television show, in a world that I go to every day and work hard for, and just being comedic. To me, that is the best way to spend my day. I just want more of what I like.

And, we absolutely miss seeing Brooke on TV, too.
Bring on that one-woman show!


  1. On the IMDb a poster In_theatres has a post in her section and Points Out that Brooke Shields has had 2 or 3 nose jobs since she was a young teenager.He shows before and after pictures and it’s very clear. They showed this TMZ a few
    years ago to with a before and after picture of her at 16 and the present.And on other celebrity plastic surgery sites.

    And on another blog in 2007 when she was on Life Magazines cover someone asked why does her nose look Michael Jacksony? She had a small pretty shaped nose before she didn’t need a nose job at all and now as some other people point
    out her nose is too small for her face.

    Look how different and much less smaller her nose was here at about age 13,

    She also admitted she had Botox a few years ago too.

  2. I’m only 2 months older than Brooke,and I was widely considered a strikingly beautiful baby and child by everyone who saw me from the time I was born,and people would come up to my parents and me when I was a baby and child in public places and say what a gorgeous,beautiful baby and child,many people who knew me neighbors on my street,my aunts and uncles including my aunt’s husbands and cousins,all who had their own daughters,were still telling me as an adult that they thought I was the most gorgeous baby and child they ever saw.

    My mother didn’t sexually exploit me thank God, and I wasn’t made famous though.My mother was considered a beautiful woman when she was young too,and she was intelligent and a very talented artist and she went to art school for quite a few years.She even sold quite a few of her sculptures at several local galleries,she was very good at drawing with pastel and charcoal pencils too.

    My mother drew me when I was 5 with pastel pencils,she sculpted me when I was 7,and I sat for her drawing of me with charcoal pencil when I was 18.She never drew or sculpted my sister who is 4 years older than me,and was just considered a very cute and average pretty child.My mother said to me when I was a late teenager,that people were *so* stupid,they would come up to me as a baby and a child and say,what a gorgeous and beautiful baby and child I was,and then they would say to my (obviously jealous sister) Oh you’re cute too! I really wanted those stupid people to shut up,because I wanted my older sister to love and accept me and I would look over and see her jealous face.

    My mother told someone in front of me when I was a late teenager,that I was an usually beautiful baby and child.She also told her friend who she knew from the age of 10, and then they went to high school together,and hadn’t seen each other since then and they re-met when I was only 9 years old ( and they went to college together in the same car everyday from the time I was nine until I was thirteen) that she’s an artist and she knows beauty,she’s just *perfect* and another time she told her friend that I’m so beautiful and sometimes I looked so extremely beautiful,that she looked at me and couldn’t believe I was her daughter and her friend had her own 2 children a son and a daughter who were years older than me and she also said that I was an extremely beautiful little girl and woman,and that I had the intelligence of an adult at age 9 when she met me.

  3. In this December 1981 Life Magazine article America Falls For A Million Dollar Baby Our Miss Brooke by Jennifer Allen it has quotes from Brooke,her mother,and others who knew them then.It says that word had spread that Teri Shields was an alcoholic and an ugly one at that.It says during filming of Pretty Baby,Teri got furious with Brooke on her birthday(it would have been her 12th birthday) and punched Brooke in the face, It also says there were other incidents as well-Teri kicking in the screen of a television set in a rage,Teri bringing men she had met in bars back to her and Brooke’s apartment.

    It says,Finally she was arrested for drunken driving and put in jail.It also says that Polly Platt the films script writer refused to bail her out explaining to Brooke that Teri was better off behind bars where she would dry out.

    In this September 2010 Guardian article she said as she did in another magazine interview I think the year before Teri died,that she was a crazy alcoholic.

    Brooke talked about her and her mother’s pain in her 1985 book,On Your Own and she said that she would often while drunk drag Brooke out of bed in the middle of the night to watch TV and that she couldn’t sleep often because of this. She also said she once through a dinner plate at her but it missed her.Her parents also got divorced when she was less than a year old.

    It’s really stupid of Brooke to actually believe that her mother ”protected” her,yeah from all of the child pervert molesters who love pretty little girls especially so inappropriately sexualized as Brooke was by her own mother! Not just in nude scenes at only 11 playing a child prostitute,and starring in movies like The Blue Lagoon,and Endless Love about 14 and 15 year old girls having sex,but she also arranged for Brooke at only 10! years old to pose in many pictures totally nude with oil on her little undeveloped little girl’s body posed in sexually suggestive expressions and poses,and with as a guy once said on a blog,so much make up that she would make any hooker proud.It’s so sick,she had so ,much eye and lip make up on her face she really looked like a 25 year old prostitute with a little flat chested 10 year old girls body! You can google to see these sick disturbing images of her.

    A man named Tom Kelley who photographed nude children for over 20 years as a nudist/naturalist activist was arrested and convicted for child pornography and Brooke’s pictures of her at 10,were among the pictures of hardcore child pornography he had and masturbated to!

    And her pictures were printed in a sick book by the Playboy Press called Sugar and Spice which also had sexy pictures of other little girls for men.

    Also,a few years ago I saw her 1980 Calvin Klein Jeans ads on youtube when she was only 15 and I couldn’t believe that in the one where she clearly seductively says to the camera,You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? *nothing*,she’s heavily made up in all of these ads,and in this one her legs were spread wide apart and it looked like a pornographic pose from a pornographic magazine and the camera closely focuses on just her crotch for a few minutes,and she said in a late 1980 interview in a magazine that was on a modeling site,and she’s said this just a few years ago too,that the jeans she was wearing in this TV commercial were *two* times smaller than her actual size,she was a size 7 but she was wearing only a size 5!

    She naively said in this late 1980 interview that she thought that people should ask what’s in *their* minds and made it seem like it was just in people’s own dirty imaginations.

    A guy on the Internet Movie Data Base said a few years ago,that the crotch shot was a bit much.

    Brooke is a great example of how people can be very academically smart but not as much intellectually and she’s also understandably in denial about her own mother and what she really did.

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