Tragic Details About Alicia Silverstone

Alicia Silverstone is perhaps best known for her role as the lovable Cher Horowitz in "Clueless," which fans still can't get enough of decades later. "People are really respectful," she told People regarding the film's 25th anniversary in 2020. "Sometimes they'll shout catchphrases, like 'As If!' but mostly they come up and are like, 'I'm so sorry, I just have to tell you, you must get this a million times a day, but I love 'Clueless' so much.' People are always kind and loving about it."

Now, years after the popular romantic comedy came out, Silverstone has made a successful career for herself, with numerous roles in film, television, and theater. She has also been an active health and animal rights activist, using her platform to advocate for veganism and other issues that are important to her.

However, fans may not realize how her sharp rise in fame coupled with a series of inappropriate events in her childhood and media scrutiny at a young age have made Silverstone's life not quite as easy as it might seem. Here are some of those key moments that defined the actress and made her into the person she is today.

Alicia Silverstone was thrust into a modeling career as a young child

Alicia Silverstone grew up in a family of high-achievers, with her father, Monty Silverstone, becoming successful in the U.S. real estate industry after the family moved to California from England. The family also saw potential in their daughter as a child. Monty reportedly kick-started a modeling career for his daughter, taking photographs and sending them out to potential agents. The problem was not only her age (she was 6 years old at the time) but some of these photos were later deemed inappropriate. The Guardian went so far as to call the bikini-wearing photos of the young girl "bizarre-sounding." Silverstone recalled the experience in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, saying, "We went to a modeling agency with these photos, and they started sending me out on shoots. That's how I was introduced to the working world — as the flower girl in all these phony weddings." 

Nevertheless, another side to Silverstone emerged from this experience: her ambition. As The Guardian reported, Silverstone started putting aside money from her modeling gigs as young as 8 years old to help pay for acting lessons. "I didn't want to be taken care of," she said of that early period of her life. "I wanted to find my own way and do my own thing." It's hard to fathom such independence at a young age, but also partially explains Silverstone's rapid rise to stardom in the 1990s.

Alicia Silverstone's breakout role was later deemed controversial

After spending her childhood modeling and taking acting classes, Alicia Silverstone's big break came in 1993's "The Crush." In the film, Silverstone played Adrian Forrester, a 14-year-old who becomes obsessed with a new neighbor, a journalist named Nick Eliot who is in his 30s. Nick, played by Cary Elwes, tries to avoid constant flirting and eventual sexual advances by Adrian, who tries to gain his attention with obsessive and sometimes violent tactics. While the film only has an IMDb rating of 5.8/10, "The Crush" developed a fan base and put Silverstone's acting skills in the spotlight.

"Things started to happen right away," she later recalled to The Hollywood Reporter. "At the MTV Movie Awards, I won best newcomer and best villain." Still, the film has admittedly not aged well. While Silverstone's performance won her praise and awards, the movie was later deemed controversial and inappropriate due to its portrayal of a teenager together with an adult man, while also bringing up questions about the way stalking was dealt with. 

She became emancipated from her parents at age 15

Another downside to Alicia Silverstone's role in "The Crush" was that the young teenager couldn't legally commit to working the long production hours. It was then, according to a Rolling Stone interview, that the film's producers suggested Silverstone get emancipated. This allowed her to legally separate from her parents, a move that they reluctantly supported, so she could work long hours. "I had to stand before a judge and tell him I was living on my own, which was not true, and also tell him I was self-supporting, which was true," Silverstone told the outlet. "And then after sophomore year, I quit high school." Her father, Monty Silverstone, also recalled to the publication that he wasn't keen on the idea of emancipation, but agreed after he was told it was the only way his daughter could secure the role in "The Crush." 

In fact, Silverstone lived alone in an apartment at just 15 years old in order to fulfill filming commitments for the film "The Crush." In hindsight, though, Silverstone has hinted at the positives and negatives of being emancipated from her parents and working so much at a young age. "I think I probably missed some emotional steps that needed to happen in a normal situation of development," she told The Guardian in a 2020 interview. "But I also jumped light years ahead in other ways. It's sort of a combo platter. You gain some and you lose some."

Alicia Silverstone later said she felt 'isolated' in her youth

Despite the seeming necessity of her emancipation from her parents to land her breakout-acting role in "The Crush," the fact is that living an adult life as a teenager wasn't always easy for Alicia Silverstone. "I'll never forget the feeling the day she went off to do 'The Crush,'" her mother, Didi Silverstone, told Rolling Stone in a 1995 interview. "This feeling of loss like I lost her. From that day on, it was never quite the same." On the flipside, her father, Monty Silverstone told the publication that he didn't have any concerns about his daughter. "She's a Silverstone, and we're fighting sons of a gun," he said. "We've got a fighting-gut spirit and never let go." 

Yet it's hard to deny that even the strongest person can fall prey to the loneliness of an acting life, especially someone who was as young as Silverstone and living on her own. While she was widely sought after by Hollywood executives and directors, Silverstone told The Guardian that she felt "extremely isolated" at this time in her life, and she didn't have many friends who could understand what she was going through. Instead, she continued to work a lot, with the success of "The Crush" leading to roles in Aerosmith music videos and then "Clueless."

The movie Clueless took an emotional toll on the talented Alicia Silverstone

While Alicia Silverstone's official breakout role was in "Crush," she undeniably rose to even more fame after playing the endearing Cher Horowitz in the hit film "Clueless." The 1995 romantic comedy also starred the late Brittany Murphy, as well as Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, and Donald Faison. Silverstone played a spoiled rich girl living in Beverly Hills who has a naïve outlook on life but also has a relatable sense of humor and personal standards. The movie went on to win multiple awards, including the Best Screenplay at the 1996 National Society of Film Critics Awards. 

However, Silverstone quickly grew tired of the wide attention "Clueless" brought her, as well as her ties to Cher. "I was so overwhelmed by being famous because I was such a young girl and it was never really my intention," Silverstone, who was only 18 years old when "Clueless" came out, told The Guardian in 2020. "It was really just extreme how I was being talked to and talked about," she went on to say. "I think I just got really turned off by it." This was just one of the key turning points in Silverstone's life that made her start to second-guess her acting career.

Alicia Silverstone was ridiculed for her Batgirl role

Two years after the success of "Clueless," Alicia Silverstone starred in "Batman and Robin" alongside other top names in Hollywood, including George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yet an A-list cast couldn't save this movie from its harsh reception. In fact, it has just an 11% Tomatometer rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

It's not uncommon for an actor or actress to be a part of a box-office flop here and there, but unfortunately, this wasn't the worst part of the "Batman and Robin" experience for Silverstone. In the movie, she played Barbara Wilson and her alter-ego Batgirl. Not only did she win a Razzie award for worst supporting actress, but the media also criticized her appearance in the film, with some people cruelly dubbing her as "Fatgirl." 

Years later, Silverstone reflected on the toxic experience, telling The Guardian in 2020, "They would make fun of my body when I was younger. It was hurtful, but I knew they were wrong. I wasn't confused. I knew that it was not right to make fun of someone's body shape, that doesn't seem like the right thing to be doing to a human." Given the outrageous body shaming she endured at such a public level, we can applaud Silverstone for being able to rise above this experience.

Negative experiences caused Alicia Silverstone to fall out of love with acting for many years

The constant attention, isolation, and scrutiny made Alicia Silverstone step away from acting for many years. Her experience with "Batman and Robin" was perhaps the last straw for the young actress. Even the media taunted her after the film came out, with The Guardian reporting that some reporters would chase her and sing the infuriating "Fatgirl" phrase along to the original Batman theme song. "When someone's horrible, it always hurts a little, but I just hope that I was an example to other young girls that it was OK to be a healthy young girl," she told the publication in a 2004 interview about the experience. 

Nevertheless, it was evident that Silverstone was not okay. "I stopped loving acting for a very long time," she admitted to The Guardian in 2020. During this time, she focused her attention on activism. She would later get back into acting, but this time stayed away from mainstream film and favored independent films and theatre instead. "My body was just like, this is what I'm meant to do, I love it so much, I need to find a way to do both, to be able to be an actress and be an activist at the same time so that's what I did," she said. 

Alicia Silverstone and her husband divorced in 2018

In 2005, Alicia Silverstone married her boyfriend, Christopher Jarecki, in a small wedding along Lake Tahoe. A couple of months before her wedding, Silverstone told People, "I do want to get married and have kids, hopefully many kids." The publication reported confirmation from Silverstone's representative in 2011 that she and Jarecki welcomed their son, Bear Blu Jarecki on May 5 of that year; Bear is the couple's only child together. 

After 13 years of marriage, Silverstone and Jarecki announced their divorce in 2018. They had been separated since 2016, and Silverstone officially filed for divorce around Bear's 7th birthday. While the former couple share joint custody of their son and continue to co-parent him, another part of the divorce agreement requires that Silverstone pay Jarecki spousal support. The amount? A whopping $12,000 per month, according to People. This arrangement is said to continue until the end of January 2024. 

In the meantime, Silverstone and Jarecki appear to have a good relationship with one another as they navigate co-parenting Bear. The key to this? Daily communication, as Silverstone said in a 2018 interview with Us Weekly. She went on to explain, "I'm really lucky that we have such a good ... we're so good at coparenting with each other. We both see Bear, unless I'm away shooting something where he can't be there, but he usually comes with me anyway."

Alicia Silverstone's parenting style came under fire

Alicia Silverstone is very close with her son, Bear Blu Jarecki. Aside from her publicly discussing her co-parenting success with ex-husband Christopher Jarecki, Silverstone has also been public about her parenting style. She made headlines in 2012 when she posted a video of her re-feeding Bear in a similar way as a mother bird feeds her baby. Silverstone faced more criticism over the years over some of her other parenting techniques and habits, which she revealed in 2020. Some aspects of her parenting that came under fire were sharing a bed and bathing with her then-adolescent son, as well as implementing a strict vegan diet throughout Bear's entire life, according to the Daily Mail.

Yet despite the criticisms of her parenting style, it's obvious that Silverstone loves her son very much. This was encapsulated in an Instagram post for Bear's 10th birthday in 2021, where Silverstone wrote, "Just thinking about all of the amazing beautiful memories we've had together as I've watched him grow up. Bear is so kind and curious. Full of life and joy and good vibes. By far my favorite person to walk through the world with. Thoughtful, empathetic, loving, and darn right adorable."