‘The first time I talk about what happened’ ‘

American actress and model Brooke Shields arrives for the National Board of Review Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York on January 8, 2023. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Brooke Shields arrives for the National Board of Review awards gala in New York on January 8, 2023. (Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Brooke Shields is speaking out for the first time about a sexual assault she suffered in her early 20s. The actress and model shares her story in Lana Wilson’s new two-part documentary Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, which premiered today at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Although Shields does not identify her attacker in the film, she does confirm that it was someone she knew and was friends with. . “This is the first time I’ve spoken about what happened,” Shields said as she tearfully told her story.

At the time the assault happened, the former child star was looking to revive her acting career after stepping away from the spotlight to attend Princeton University. But his return to Hollywood proved more difficult than expected. That’s when her attacker first reached out. “I had heard a movie was being made, and I was under consideration,” Shields recalled in the film. “It was the first time since college that anyone interested was somehow voiced [in me].”

“We had dinner,” she continues. “I thought it was a business meeting. I had met this person before and he was always nice to me.” But the mood of the meeting suddenly changed in the middle of the meal and she quickly started looking for a date. “I said, ‘I have to take a taxi’ and he said, ‘Come back to the hotel, I’ll call you a taxi. “”

After following him to his hotel room, Shields recalls being left alone for a while and not knowing what to do. “I don’t want to go on the phone, because it’s not my phone,” she said. “I don’t want to sit, because I don’t stay.” As she watched the beach through a pair of binoculars, her attacker reappeared. “The door opens and the person walks out naked,” she said. “I put the binoculars back on and he was right on me.”

Brooke Shields shares her life story in the new documentary, Pretty Baby.  (Photo: Courtesy of the Sundance Institute)

Brooke Shields shares her life story in new documentary, pretty baby. (Photo: Courtesy of the Sundance Institute)

“It was like wrestling,” Shields describes, adding that she was too afraid of being choked or hit to think of fighting back. “I completely froze. I thought, ‘My only ‘No’ should have been enough. Stay alive and get out.'”

During the assault, Shields says she “dissociated” from her body, an experience she had had earlier in her career on the set of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 film. Everlasting love. While filming a love scene for this romance, Shields – who was 15 when the film was made – recalls the late Italian director grabbing her toe and twisting it to capture the look.” of ecstasy” he wanted on camera.

“It was more nerve-wracking than anything else because he was hurting me,” Shields said in pretty baby. “I didn’t want to look stupid or untalented, so I just disassociated myself. It’s like you’re [instantly] zoom out: see a situation, but you are not connected to it. You instantly become. a vapor of yourself around something happening.” (Zeffirelli also directed the 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet which featured a brief nude scene with the film’s then-underage stars Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting. Both actors are now suing Paramount for the scene.

At the end of the attack, Shields recalls that her still-naked attacker didn’t even recognize what had happened. “Next thing I know the door is open and the person says, ‘I’ll see you. I just said, “Yeah,” and I walked out, took the elevator down, and took my own cab. I cried all the way to my friend’s apartment.”

Shields in the 1981 romantic drama, Endless Love.  (Photo: ©Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

Shields in the 1981 romantic drama, Everlasting love. (Photo: Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

According to Shields, she later confronted her abuser in a letter rather than discussing the incident publicly. “I said, ‘That was a huge trust that just got destroyed. How dare you? I’m better than that. I am better than you. That’s how I handled things. I wanted to erase 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 just had to get stronger on my own.

Talk with The Hollywood Reporter before the Sundance premiere pretty baby, Shields said she was initially unsure about sharing her story when she sat down to be interviewed by Wilson for the film. “I didn’t know I was going to say it,” she explained, adding that the tenor of the #MeToo era made her realize that now would be a good time to speak. “I think as a mother of two young girls, I hope that just by hearing about my incident, I can add myself to becoming a lawyer. Because it’s something that happens every day, and This shouldn’t happen. I felt that I had come to a place where I could talk about it. It took me a long time.

Premiering on Hulu later this year, pretty baby features Shields reflecting on many of her high-profile relationships, including with Michael Jackson, who she says was never a romantic partner despite intense public scrutiny of their years-long friendship. “We met when I was 13 and we spent time together,” she recalls in the film. “It was very childish.”

Brooke Shields and Michael Jackson (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)

Brooke Shields and Michael Jackson attend the 11th annual American Music Awards in 1984. (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)

“We were really friends,” Shields continues. “But he always kind of wanted to be seen with me. If he was picking a restaurant, I would say, ‘How [the paparazzi] do you know we were here? And then at some point he said we should adopt a child and raise a child together.”

The actress also points out that Jackson lied when he told Oprah Winfrey that he and Shields were dating during a famous TV interview in 1993. “I called him [afterwards] and said, “What are you doing?” she recalls. “I’m currently with my boyfriend in New York! What are you doing?’ I ended up losing contact with him.”

Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields premieres on Hulu later this year.

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