The recent release of the documentary "Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields" on the streaming platform Hulu has sparked intense reactions on social media. The film offers an intimate look at the life of the famous actress, including her experiences as a child star in the 1970s.
Early Career and Controversy
In the documentary, Shields reflects on her early career, which was marked by controversy and criticism. At the age of 10, she posed naked for Playboy, a decision that was made by her mother, Teri Shields.
Speaking about the experience, Shields says, "That was hard for me, to not justify my mom to them, but when they asked me, I thought, 'Oh God, I have to admit this.' " One of the most notable events in Shields' early career was her role in the 1978 film "Pretty Baby," in which she played a child prostitute.
In one particularly disturbing scene, she was required to kiss her 27-year-old co-star, Keith Carradine, as her mother watched on. Reflecting on this experience, Shields says, "I mean, I could say, 'Oh, it was the time back then,' or 'Oh, it was art,' but I don't know why she thought it was all right.
I don't know."
Protecting Her Mother
Despite the difficult experiences she faced as a child star, Shields says she still feels a strong urge to protect her mother. "It's so innate when you're an only child of a single mother," she says.
"All you want to do is love your parent and keep them alive forever, and so I wanted to protect her. And by virtue of protecting her, I was justifying everything, and that solidified that bond between us." Shields also acknowledges the impact that her mother's alcoholism had on their relationship.
"You don’t ever recover from losing a parent," she says. "It's a primal thing. You learn to put it in a different place in your heart. I also said goodbye to her every time she drank. She wasn't present. I knew who she was capable of being because it was in there...
I feel sad that she's missing out on this. She's probably looking down saying, 'I didn't get enough screen time.' "
A Story of Resilience
Despite the challenges she faced as a child star, Shields has gone on to have a successful and fulfilling career in entertainment.
The trailer for "Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields" opens with a teenage Shields being asked about the "fuss going on around her" as she sits next to her mother. "Everyone always wanted me to be angry with her," she says, "but anger was just too sad for me to take when I looked at how insecure she was." In the documentary, Shields also speaks about her commitment to ensuring that her own children do not face the same challenges she faced as a child star. "It's child pornography!" she says. "Would you have let us [do that] at the age of 11?" When asked if she would allow her children to participate in such projects, Shields responds, "No."