Brooke Shields, Recovering Daughter | WBEZ
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Death, Sex & Money

Brooke Shields, Recovering Daughter

Brooke Shields became famous as a sex symbol long before she was actually having sex. At 12, she played a child prostitute in the film Pretty Baby. Soon after, she starred in the sexy teen romance Blue Lagoon. And at 15, she became the controversial face of Calvin Klein jeans. But then, in college, Brooke publicly revealed her virginity—which she says turned her into "the most famous virgin in the world." "There was a juxtaposition of those two things," Brooke says. "I was not aware. I was not sexually aware."

Despite the sexual nature of her early roles, Brooke says she felt safe on set, protected within the industry, and very sheltered at home. Her parents divorced when she was young, and her mother managed her career. But from a young age Brooke also singlehandedly dealt with her mom's alcoholism, which only worsened as she got older. "She damaged almost every relationship she had," Brooke says. "She cut almost everybody off. And I was the only thing left." Brooke eventually fired her mom as her manager and separated her finances from her—but not until she was 29. 

Brooke married her second husband, Chris Henchy, in 2001. They wanted to start a family, but it was a struggle. After several rounds of IVF, Brooke got pregnant with their first daughter. She was thrilled, but soon after her daughter's birth, Brooke says the "toxic thoughts" started. "I saw my baby hitting the wall. Like, being flung across the room," she says." "I would close my eyes. And these horrible things, these images, would come through my mind."

I talk with Brooke about the treatment that she received for postpartum depression, and whether it made her nervous about having a second child. And we talk about how the death of her mother in 2012 has impacted her career—and how, at 50, she's finally paying attention in financial meetings. 

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