We all know of the red carpet bombshell Brooke Shields. She has been in the spotlight since birth and has seamlessly transitioned from child star to A-list celebrity who graduated from Princeton, dated famously and has made a name for herself in TV, film and even Broadway. Although her public life seemed like a smooth road to stardom, Brooke had a very rocky personal life, as she openly shares in her memoir, “There Was A Little Girl.”
Brooke Shields grew up with a mother, Teri, who pushed her into fame and struggled with alcohol abuse. She cites her mom as hardly ever being sober, and maintaining overwhelming power over her emotional and mental wellness. Although she and her mother had a very close relationship, she mentions in her book how she often felt controlled by her mom in all aspects, including her love life, career and even personal identity. She mentions that her mother would become volatile when drinking and verbally abuse her. Though she was still just a child, she had to grow up quick as she struggled with a relationship that was rooted in co-dependent behavior.
Along with the decades of trying to manage her mom’s substance abuse struggles, Brooke then went on to marry professional tennis star Andre Agassi. Like Brooke’s mom, Agassi also struggled with substance abuse, only this time it was methamphetamine. This cycle is not uncommon. According to a study led by the University of California-San Diego, children of addicts are twice as likely to marry addicts later in life. Fortunately Shields and Agassi divorced quickly and she was able to break the cycle.
In most recent years, Brooke Shields became known for her public quarrel with another famous celebrity, Tom Cruise. In 2005, Brooke publicly shared her personal battle with postpartum depression (PPD). She struggled heavily with thoughts of suicide, depression and an inability to connect to her newborn baby. Postpartum is often triggered by changes in hormones, family history of depression, traumatic childbirth or excess stress. While openly discussing her struggles, Cruise spoke out against Brooke’s use of medication, along with weekly therapy to manage her debilitating symptoms. Despite the backlash, Brooke continues to raise awareness for the millions of women who suffer from PPD.
Despite her childhood fame, family addiction struggles and her own experience with postpartum depression, Brooke Shields has been able to maintain a solid lifelong career, a successful family life, and break free of the emotional control her mother held over her. While her mother passed away in 2012, she has found comfort through writing about her life, neither condemning nor praising her mother, but in simply accepting her.