Brooke Shields spoke out about being sexually assaulted in her early 20s for the first time. The former child actress and supermodel, now 57, revealed her story in the new two-part documentary Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival on Friday, January 20. While she doesn’t identify her attacker, she does confirm that he was a major Hollywood player and that she was on friendly terms with him before the rape. “This is the first time I’ve ever spoken about what happened,” Brooke tearfully said in the film, per The Daily Beast.
The Sahara vet said she had graduated from Princeton in 1987 and was looking to get back into the industry when she heard about a possible acting opportunity. Her attacker then reached out to her. “We had a dinner, I thought it was a work meeting,” Brooke explained. “I had met this person before, and he was always nice to me.” At the end of the meal, Brooke said things started to feel off, so she made a plan to exit quickly. “I said, ‘I have to get a cab,’ and he said, ‘Come back to the hotel — I’ll call you a cab.’”
After she followed him to his hotel room, the man disappeared into the bathroom, and she began to use a pair of binoculars to view the ocean from a window, per the outlet. The man suddenly reappeared. “The door opens, and the person comes out naked,” Brooke said. “I put the binoculars back and he was right on me.” She described the next few moments as “wrestling” and said that she was too afraid of hitting back at the time. “I just absolutely froze. I thought: ‘My one ‘No’ should have been enough. Stay alive and get out,” Brooke revealed.
During the attack, Brooke “disassociated” herself from her body, a survival mechanism she said she learned when doing nude scenes on set as a teenager, including her roles in 1980s Blue Lagoon and 1981’s Endless Love. “The next thing I know, the door is open and the person says, ‘I’ll see you around.’ I just said ‘Yeah,’ and walked out, went down in the elevator and got my own cab. I cried all the way to my friend’s apartment,” Brooke explained.
The star admitted she never confronted her attacker publicly, but she did write him a letter. “I said, ‘That was a huge trust that was just blown up. How dare you? I’m better than that. I’m better than you are. That’s the way I dealt with things. I wanted to erase the whole thing from my mind and body and just keep on the path that I was on. The system had never once come to help me. So I just had to get stronger on my own.”
By the end of the film, according to the outlet, fans had a better sense of how Brooke came out a survivor from the sexual assault, among other difficulties in her life, like having a mother who was suffering from alcohol abuse disorder. In a respite from the hardships discussed during the film, Brooke said she finally found a positive path forward. “It is the first time in almost 56 years that I am owning my identity fully,” she revealed.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted and needs help, please call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.