Brooke Shields has never been shy about speaking out about how she was sexualized as a child star in Hollywood. But now the actress is revealing she was raped as a young adult.
In a new documentary pretty baby, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Shields did not name her attacker but detailed the events of a sexual assault that occurred shortly after graduating from college at Princeton, during a time when she struggled to find work after his first success. Shields met the man in question for dinner, apparently to discuss work. She then returned to her hotel room to wait to call a taxi.
“He said, ‘Come back to the hotel and I’ll call a cab,'” Shields explains in the film. “And I go up to the hotel room, and he disappears for a while.”
Shields, feeling uncomfortable in a room that wasn’t his own, decided to use binoculars the man had left in the room and watched some volleyball players through the window. “The door opens, the person comes out naked, I have the binoculars and I say to myself:” S—“”, she continues. “And I put the binoculars down and he’s right on top of me. Like, it was wrestling.”
Continuing her story, Shields explained that she did not try to run away because she feared it would provoke further physical violence. “I was afraid of choking or something,” she says. “So I didn’t fight much. I didn’t. I just froze completely. I thought a ‘No’ should have been enough, and I just thought, ‘Keep alive. and get out,” and I just shut it God knows I knew how to be dissociated from my body. just cried all the way to my friend’s apartment.
The actress didn’t even treat the experience as a sexual assault for long. Even when it was brought to his attention by his security specialist Gavin de Becker. “He said, ‘That’s rape.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to believe that,'” she said.
Shields had previously been sexually objectified by Hollywood, appearing naked and kissing 29-year-old Keith Carradine in the 1978 film pretty baby (which gives its title to the documentary) when she was only 11 years old. At 15, she appeared in two other films, blue lagoon and Everlasting love, that included sex and nudity, as well as his iconic Calvin Klein jeans ads that boasted, “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins.”
Getty Images/Courtesy Sundance Institute Brooke Shields appears in the documentary “Pretty Baby,” which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
Even with that story, Shields couldn’t help but feel that she was somehow guilty of her own assault. “That’s what I had to do to my brain,” she admits. “He said to me, ‘I can trust you and I can’t trust people. It’s so cliché, it’s almost pathetic. I somehow believed I sent a message and that’s how the message was received. I drank wine at dinner. I went up to the bedroom. I was so confident.”
She goes on to say that she wrote a letter to her attacker, writing that he had destroyed a “tremendous trust” in him, but she was rejected.
“I just threw my hands up and said, ‘You know what, I refuse to be a victim because it’s something that happens no matter who you are or what. you think you’re prepared or not,'” she concludes. . “I wanted to clear everything from my mind and body and continue on the path I was on. The system had never once come to help me. So I had to become stronger on my own.”
Shields has already addressed sexualization from an early age in two memoirs. But this is the first time that she has revealed the details of an attack of this nature.
Lena Wilson (miss american) directed the documentary, which will be on Hulu later this year.
Additional reporting by Mike Miller.
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