Surveying the current Hollywood landscape – and the mounting number of youthful casualties of late – former child star Brooke Shields says she has no particular advice to offer young stars.
“I think a lot of these girls are young, and it’s all so tempting,” Shields, 42, tells Redbook in its September issue. “For some reason I wasn’t tempted. I don’t know why.”
Looking back, she says, “Sometimes I wish I was a little more tempted to have a little more fun. But then I see them” – Shields mentions no one by name – “and someone will ask, ‘Well, what do you want to say to so-and-so?’ I don’t want to say anything to them. I want to talk to their mothers.”
Shields’s own mother, Teri Shields, who originally managed her daughter, came under a firestorm of criticism for her treatment (some said exploitation) of her budding star. The two eventually separated professionally.
“People used to say my mom used me as a commodity,” the actress now says. “But you know what? She did her own version dysfunctional behavior, sure, but nothing like you see these days.”
When it comes to the sort of mother she is with her own daughters, Rowan, 4, and Grier, born in May 2006 (their dad is Shields’s husband of six years, TV writer-producer Chris Henchy), Shields says: “I always feel like the odd mom out, because trust me when I tell you I’m on my girls. And every time I am, I know from the outside it looks like I’m an overbearing, controlling parents. But I don’t think we have any responsibility to anybody else but our kids and ourselves.”
Not that Shields apologizes for being strict. “The worst part about it is when I look at my daughter [Rowan], and she’ll be fighting with some other kid, and I have to be careful not to always make it her fault. But I can only tell her what to do – I can’t tell the other kid. I’ll tell her, ‘Hey, you suck it up; you give him the toy, and we’ll talk about it later.’ ”
Admits Shields, “So she’s the one who always has to take the high road, which is hard for a 4-year-old.”