Brooke Shields has never shied away from talking about the ways she was sexualized as a child star in Hollywood. But the actress now reveals that she was raped as a young adult.
In a new documentary Lovely babyAnd which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Shields did not name her attacker but gave details of the events of the sexual assault that occurred shortly after she graduated from college at Princeton, during a time when she was struggling to find work following her early success. Shields met with the man in question for dinner, ostensibly to discuss business. Then she went back to his hotel room to wait for a taxi to be called.
“He said, ‘Go back to the hotel and I’ll call a taxi,'” Shields explains in the film. “She goes up to the hotel room, and disappears for a while.”
Shields, feeling uncomfortable in a room that is not her own, decides to use the binoculars the man left in the room and watches some volleyball players outside the window. She continues “The door opens, the person comes out naked, and I have the binoculars and I’m like ‘S—’.” And I put the binoculars on and he’s right. Just like wrestling.”
Continuing with her account, Shields explained that she did not attempt to run away because she was afraid it would lead to more physical violence. “I was afraid I was going to suffocate or something,” she says. “So I didn’t fight as much. I didn’t. I just froze. I thought ‘no’ should suffice, and I just thought, ‘Stay alive and get out,’ and just shut it out. God knows I knew how to detach from my body. I practiced.” That…. I got in the elevator, got my own cab. I cried all the way to my boyfriend’s apartment.”
The actress did not treat the experience as sexual assault for a long time. Even when her security specialist Gavin de Becker pointed it out. He said: This is rape. And I said, “I’m not ready to believe it,” she says.
Shields was already sexually objectified by Hollywood, posing nude and kissing 29-year-old Keith Carradine in the 1978 film Lovely baby (which lends the title to the documentary) when she was just 11 years old. At the age of fifteen, she appeared in two more films, blue lagoon And endless love, which included sex and nudity, as well as the famous Jean Calvin Klein ads that promoted, “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins.”
Getty Images/Courtesy of the Sundance Institute Brooke Shields appeared in the documentary Pretty Baby, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
Even with that history, Shields couldn’t help but feel somehow guilty for her assault. “That was what I had to do with my brain,” she admits. He said to me: I can trust you and I cannot trust people. It’s so corny, it’s practically pathetic. Somehow I thought I had delivered a message and this was how I got the message. I drank wine at dinner. I went up to the room. I was so confident. “
She then goes on to say that she wrote her attacker a letter, writing that he had destroyed “a great trust” in him, but it was rejected.
“I just put my hand up and said, ‘You know what, I refuse to be a victim because this is something that happens no matter who you are and no matter what you think you’re ready for or not,'” she concludes. “I wanted to erase everything from my mind and body and stay on the path I was on. The system never came to my aid. So I just had to get stronger on my own.”
Shields has previously addressed the sexualization of her childhood in two memoirs. But this is the first time she has revealed details of an assault of this kind.
Lena Wilson (Miss Americana) the documentary, which will be on Hulu later this year.
Additional reporting by Mike Miller.
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