Inside Brooke Shields' Relationship With Andre Agassi

The following article references drug misuse. 

In the '90s, Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi were a bona fide power couple. However, their relationship was built on a shaky foundation, and the "Blue Lagoon" actor could sense something was amiss early on. As she recounted in "There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me," she was wracked with doubt the day of her wedding — which was not exactly the ideal vibe for the occasion.  "I kept shaking my head as if I had duct tape across my mouth. It hit me all of a sudden — I knew I had made a mistake," she recounted. "I did not want to be married ... I wanted to be a bride, but I shouldn't have been married yet."

And she wasn't the only one with cold feet that day. As Agassi shared in his autobiography, "Open," "I have a thought no man should have on his wedding day: I wish I were leaving too. I wish I had a decoy groom to take my place." While the two certainly had chemistry at the start of their courtship and seemed perfect on paper, things clearly had taken a hard left. Here is a look at their ill-fated relationship. 

The couple met in 1993

Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi's relationship began in 1993 after meeting at a tennis match. Despite their busy schedules and nonstop travel itineraries, they found time for love. Now, this was long before you could send a quick text or fire up a FaceTime call, but they still figured out a way to keep a long-distance correspondence going that didn't involve waiting around by the mail box: They turned to fax machines. This allowed them to get to know each other better and connect.

Meeting Agassi was also good for Brooke because it put space between herself and her mother, Teri Shields. The mom and daughter had a complicated relationship, and the actor's new coupling allowed her to take a step back and reevaluate. She would make significant changes to her life, including moving out of the office she kept with her mom, with Agassi's help. While these changes worked out for the model, they created friction between the mother and daughter. 

Looking back at this time in her life, Brooke recognizes the value in those decisions — even though the romance didn't stick. "The whole relationship with him was so necessary," she wrote in her memoir, "There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me" (via People). "He gave me my first taste of freedom from my mom. He swept me away." 

Andre Agassi proposed in Hawaii

In 1996, Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi took their relationship to the next level with an engagement. The proposal happened one evening at sunset during a trip to Hawaii. It sounds like the perfect time to get down on one knee, right?

On an episode of "E! True Hollywood Story" (via Essentially Sports), the tennis star remembered the moment he popped the question to the Calvin Klein model. "When I asked her to marry me that day, we had a beautiful sunset, and I was talking about, isn't this beautiful and the most magnificent one you've seen?" But rather than agree, Shields jokingly replied, "No, I've seen better." 

After she made her little quip, Agassi asked her to marry him and she accepted. "He gave her a ring, and they're extremely happy," Perry Rogers (Agassi's manager and former friend) told the Associated Press (via The Washington Post) at the time.

They married after four years together

After getting engaged, Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi were ready for their dream wedding. It took place in April 1997 and was held at the St. John's Episcopal Chapel in Monterey, California. The couple was married by the Reverend Charles Gard, and they celebrated with 100 guests in attendance — and hordes of paparazzi camping out waiting to get a glimpse of the newlyweds. 

The bride wore a timeless sleeveless ivory gown made by New York fashion designer Heidi Weisel. "The beauty of it was the lack of embellishment," Weisel told the Los Angeles Times. The dress was paired with a vintage veil. The simplicity of the model's ensemble perhaps matched the overall feel of the celebrations and honored who the couple were, as a guest shared with The Independent. "Both are the nicest, unassuming kind of people," they said. "They were very simple, straightforward and kind."

Brooke Shields was 'shunned' when Andre Agassi lost a match

While the wedding was an idyllic affair, the marriage between Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi was far from perfect. As the supermodel would later share, she began to notice that her husband brought his work home with him. When he did not win, his mood took a major nosedive — and she caught the brunt of it.

"He alienated me when he lost and was on to the next tournament after he won," she revealed in her memoir, "There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me." "I then began to experience the other side to being an athlete's girlfriend and now wife: the side that gets shunned after a loss." As the ups and downs of Agassi's career bled into his personal life, Shields began to take his behavior personally. "Somehow, I was made to feel it was my fault," she wrote. "I'd get the silent treatment or a projection of disdain that cut to my core." Shields noted that their dynamic did not look like that in the early days of the relationship, but when the shift happened, she started to resent her then-husband.

Andrea Agassi began using meth when they were together

It's no secret Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi's marriage had its problems, many of which were exasperated because of substance misuse. In "There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me" (via People), the "Endless Love" actor shared Agassi eventually opened up to her about his struggles. "He explained to me that for the first whole part of our relationship, he had been addicted to crystal meth," she wrote. Agassi also addressed his addiction in his 2009 memoir, "Open." While Shields was surprised he hadn't talked to her about what he'd gone through sooner, she was also surprised she didn't realize he was dealing with addiction when they were together. "I was so unbelievably clueless," she wrote. "To this day, I think to myself 'My God, Brooke. All you've seen in your life and you couldn't pick this up?'" 

Agassi began using meth in 1997, just before he and Shields got married. On a 2009 episode of NPR's "Fresh Air," the tennis star spoke with Terry Gross about how untethered he felt during this particular period. "I woke up in a life that I realized it wasn't mine, I wasn't connected to. I hated what I did. I was in a marriage I didn't want to be in," he said. "And I was depressed and somebody came along and offered me an escape and, and I took it."

Andre Agassi wasn't a fan of Brooke Shields' Friends cameo

Brooke Shields landed a cameo on Season 2 of "Friends." In the episode, which aired in 1996, she played a diehard fan of Matt LeBlanc's character, Joey. Shields' character, who believes Joey was actually his "Days of Our Lives" character, crosses a number of boundaries, but Joey still goes out on a date with her. In one particularly bizarre moment, her character licks Joey's fingers in the middle of a restaurant. And while Shields was clearly just acting, Andre Agassi took issue with the scene.

"Andre was in the audience supporting me, and he stormed out. He said, 'Everybody's making fun of me. You made a fool of me by that behavior,'" Shields recalled in an interview with The New Yorker in 2023. "I'm, like, 'It's comedy! What is the matter with you?'" Shields, who began working as an actor when she was 12 years old, couldn't believe her then-husband was so upset by that particular performance. "I learned later that he was addicted to crystal meth at that point, so that irrational behavior I'm sure had something to do with that," Shields added. 

Brooke Shields felt she had to be the 'fixer'

Brooke Shields' "Friends" cameo and Andre Agassi's outsized reaction would signal a change in their marriage. After the taping, Agassi took his anger out on his trophy case. "Who wins for that? That's just — don't!" Shields said of her then-husband's actions in a 2023 interview with The New Yorker. In an appearance on SiriusXM's "The Jess Cagle Show," the "Wanda Nevada" actor said she went into "fixer mode." "I spent the next couple years trying to get those trophies all replicated," she shared, noting that she wanted them for their future kids. 

Though Shields and Agassi did not have children together, they did envision a world in which they became parents. "I spent a lot of time with [Shields] at tournaments sitting next to her talking about children," Broadway star Melissa Errico told People in 1999. "I remember her saying what an amazing father Andre was going to be — that more than anything he was going to be unbelievable with children."

The relationship had control problems

In recent years, Brooke Shields has been candid about the control her mom exerted over her and the damage it left. While Andre Agassi was her chance to distance herself and her mother, she would find herself in yet another controlling relationship. In a 2023 episode of the "WTF with Marc Maron" podcast, she reflected on the dynamic of her relationship with Agassi. "My first husband, you know, it's like people say marry your father or whatever," she said. "I married a very controlling person. I married an industry. I married a conglomerate, you know. I could disappear into it, and I loved it. And I needed it." However, the dynamic wasn't sustainable, and they eventually moved on with partners who are evidently better fits. Shields wed her second husband, Chris Hency, in 2001. That same year, Agassi married fellow tennis player Steffi Graf. Both marriages are still going strong.

While Shields' marriage to Agassi was rife with conflict, not all aspects of their relationship were negative. As she told Maron, "Andre and I laughed a lot too, which was great."

They had very little time together

Andre Agassi is considered one of the best tennis players in the history of the sport, and Brooke Shields is an incredibly successful model and actor. Both worked hard to reach such heights, and neither was about to put their respective career on the back burner when they got together. However, their conflicting schedules and work commitments proved to be tough on their relationship. 

From 1996 to 2000, Shields played the titular role in the NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan." During this time, the actor and the tennis great did not exactly go out of their way to spend time with one another. "Life on the show continued, and for the next two years Andre and I saw very little of each other," she wrote in "There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me." "I was working so hard on the show and he was really working hard playing at various tennis tournaments."

They divorced in 1999

Not long after Andre Agassi admitted to Brooke Shields that he had been dealing with substance misuse, the high-profile couple would call off their marriage once and for all. Shields has revealed in her memoir, "There Was a Little Girl," that she had suggested they give couples counseling a shot, but Agassi had not been willing to do so. Agassi was the one who initially filed for divorce, and the announced the split to the public in March 1999. Per People, Shields' rep said in a statement, "We have the utmost love and respect for each other and will remain the best of friends."

Their relationship had been strained for years, but Shields and Agassi tried to push through. Eventually, however, they accepted they simply were not right for one another. "We had love, but it did not seem like that was enough," Shields wrote in her memoir. "I always thought love was enough. But the truth was we were growing past one another. And I'm not sure if we individually enjoyed how the other liked to live." Agassi also shared his thoughts on why their marriage was doomed to fail when he appeared on the "Today" show in 2009. "I think at that time in my life I couldn't be married to anyone. I think timing is really important," he said. "You need in a marriage, two people who understand themselves ... and I certainly didn't understand myself."

Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi's divorce was 'easy'

The news of Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi's divorce, and what exactly happened in the lead-up to this point, would surprise many people, including their own family members. "I'm as much in the dark as anyone," Brooke's father, Frank Shields, told People in 1999. Despite this, they appeared to have been able to part ways without too much drama or animosity.

Brooke and Agassi would move on to new marriages and have children with their new partners, but their own relationship produced no kids. And this was perhaps a good thing, as the "Pretty Baby" actor explained in an appearance for a "Dealing With Divorce: How to Move On" segment on "Today" (via Us Weekly) in 2013. "I am divorced. And mine was fairly quick and relatively easy," Shields said on the show. However, she recalled a comment from her ex-husband about how things could've gone under different circumstances: "Be happy that we don't have children, or I would not have made this easy for you.'"

The former couple did not stay in each other's lives

Some celebrities have managed to stay friends after their divorce, but for Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi, this was not an option. "I've never reconnected with him," she said in the 2023 documentary "Pretty Baby" (via USA Today). "That was an important stage and relationship in my life and I don't regret it." Shields can reflect on the marriage and see it for its positives and negatives, and she acknowledges that she and Agassi may not share the same perspective. "But I don't know if he does that much reflection on things," she said. "People process things very, very differently, and I have come to respect that."

The actor shared more about what happened after they cut ties in an episode of the "WTF with Marc Maron" podcast. She revealed how she initially thought they could maintain contact because their split was not "ugly," but that didn't happen. "But that's not the kind of person he is. When you're out, you're out," she said of her ex-husband's mindset. 

Andre Agassi wrote about her in his memoir

When Andre Agassi was getting ready to put out his 2009 memoir, "Open," he let Brooke Shields see some excerpts first. In the aforementioned episode of "WTF with Marc Maron," Shields revealed that she disagreed with what had been written, and even worked with her ex-husband's ghostwriter to rework details that did not line up with her own account. "Everything was just off," she said.

Despite her efforts to amend his version of events, Shields told Maron that Agassi dismissed her suggestions. According to the actor, her ex apparently stuck to his initial timeline and let her know he'd be doing just that in a letter. "That's not how I remember it, and it is my book," he wrote. Agassi's actions left Shields with no recourse. "I got duped in a big way," she said.

While Shields might not agree with what ended up in the final draft, she was able to let roll off her back. "With all due respect, I did not come across as badly as people might have thought that he wanted," she said on "Watch What Happens Live" in 2016 (via ET). "That's not who he is. He's not an evil person."

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