The star reveals how she found out about her then-husband's drug problem and what led to the end of their marriage
Brooke Shields tells all about her celebrity romances, her mom and her crazy life as a child star. Subscribe now for instant access to our exclusive PEOPLE cover story and excerpt from her new book.
When Andre Agassi made an ordinary phone call to his then-wife Brooke Shields, she never would have guessed what he was about to say.
“I was the one who had supported him unconditionally when he told me that he was basically bald and had been wearing hairpieces most of his adult life. Why should this have been any different?”
As the child of an alcoholic mom, Shields says she understood addiction and wondered why Agassi hadn’t told her earlier. She suggested they get couples counseling but he said there wasn’t any point. They filed for divorce soon after.
“I was so unbelievably clueless,” says Shields. “To this day, I think to myself ‘My God, Brooke. All you’ve seen in your life and you couldn’t pick this up?’ But if you watch these athletes play, they play five, six, seven hours at the highest level and they keep going and going and the regimen surrounding them is so intense that my justification was, I guess you need to blow off steam when you can.”
Agassi first revealed his meth addiction in a bombshell memoir of his own – Open – revealing his descent into drug use, as well as his take on the end of their two-year marriage.
The couple first met in 1993 and fell in love by sending long heartfelt faxes when she was filming in South Africa. They bonded over their shared experience with overbearing parents and childhood stardom. She felt very protected by him but also at times – controlled.
When Shields did a guest turn on Friends, playing a crazed fan who licks Joey’s hand, Agassi stormed off the set. When she ran outside to find him, she writes, “He said I made him look like a fool by licking Joey’s fingers and he got in his car and drove all the way to Vegas.” Once there, he smashed all of his tennis trophies, destroying them in a rage.”
Despite all the drama, Shields credits Agassi’s support with helping her break free from her mom. “The whole relationship with him was so necessary,” she says. “He gave me my first taste of freedom from my mom. He swept me away. You’d say something and it would happen. There would be a plane or if I said ‘I can’t believe I have termites,’ within 24 hours, the house would be tented.”
“He is a devoted person, sweet and good but he had this demon, this affliction. But the other side, and what makes this so hard, is the way he welcomed me and my mother and anybody I loved. He is a really good human being.”
For more of Brooke’s bombshells, come back to PEOPLE.com every day at 3 p.m. ET! And for much more of PEOPLE’s exclusive excerpt from Brooke Shields’s memoir and her revealing interview, pick up a copy of the newest issue, on newsstands Friday