What You Never Knew About Brooke Shields

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Ever since the 1970s, Brooke Shields has been a household name. After shooting to stardom at just 12 years old as a child prostitute in the controversial movie "Pretty Baby," the young actress was in high demand. She quickly followed this role with iconic performances in "The Blue Lagoon" and "Endless Love," which cemented her place as one of the up-and-coming teen stars to watch (via IMDb). Since then, Shields has continued to work consistently as an actress and model. You may remember her from "Suddenly Susan" or "Wanda Nevada," or you may be more familiar with her as the longtime face of Calvin Klein.

These days, Shields is as busy as ever both on screen and off. With five projects aiming for a 2021 release, numerous books she's authored, and two grown daughters, both Shields' professional and personal life seem to be going strong. But since there are still a few things about the star you may not know, we thought we'd fill you in.

The star called working on her controversial first film 'a beautiful experience'

One of Brooke Shields' biggest claims to fame is still the 1978 film "Pretty Baby." It was one of Shields' first projects, which quickly made a stir because of the subject matter: Shields, then 12 years old, played a child prostitute, which, naturally, led to controversy. People, for instance, claimed it was "child pornography."

These days, Shields is old enough to understand the complexities of her first big role. In fact, she's actually still incredibly proud of her work in the movie. "It was the best creative project I've ever been associated with, the best group of people I've ever been blessed enough to work with," she explained to Vanity Fair. And on "The Diane Rehm Show," she said, "It was such a beautiful experience." Even though the film deals with some seriously adult issues and scenarios — including a kissing scene — she explained to the host how she always felt it was just acting. "I never once felt taken advantage of or victimized," she said. "All of that came after in the press."

Brooke Shields had a complicated relationship with her mother

As a child actor, Brooke Shields' early career was largely orchestrated by her mother. In fact, her mother was also her manager. As Shields told USA Today, she and her mother had a super close relationship. "The love was so intense. She came before anybody. I thought she was God, I thought she could change the weather. It was us against the world," Shields recalled. Nevertheless, her mother's struggle with alcoholism made their relationship difficult. Plus, her mother was subjected to a lot of negative press over the years, usually because of her controversial choices for her daughter's career.

In fact, their relationship was so complicated, in fact, Shields wrote a book about it called "There Was a Little Girl." It's clear that the relationship has defined Shields' life even more than her own stardom has. "The movie business kept me afloat and sane. My mother's drinking superseded my stardom," she wrote (via the Independent).

She became passionate about fitness at a young age

It's hard to think of Brooke Shields without thinking of fitness — the star has always been in great shape. As she explained to SheKnows, her passion for fitness began when she was young. After rising to fame as a child actor, Shields was quickly subjected to the industry's harmful beauty standards. "My environment was saying, 'If you're not skinny, you're not worth anything,'" Shields said. "And I didn't — I was never that person. I was always athletic, I was always someone who was working really hard." It sounds like fitness came naturally to her.

However, it took the star several years before she found a truly healthy exercise routine. At first, she was a little too strict and regimented with her routines. When she reached her 40s, the star finally relaxed a little. "[I was] like, 'God, if perfection is what you're seeking, you're always gonna fail.' And in my life, I had thought that that was it. I needed to be perfect," she explained to SheKnows. Sounds like Shields finally found a healthy way to stay fit!

Brooke Shields had a life-changing accident in 2021

Up until 2021, Brooke Shields led a super busy and active lifestyle. She was in the middle of a two-week fitness challenge and working on several projects. However, all of that changed in an instant when she had a freak accident at the gym. As she explained on "Good Morning America," she had just finished a workout and was on a balance board when she took her focus off the board for a moment and fell, landing on her hip and breaking her femur. "I was just screaming," Shields recalled.

After several surgeries and an infection, Shields began a long recovery process that involved physiotherapy and massage. Even though Shields' recovery was slow and painful, she did take some positives away from the experience. "I think it's almost been the biggest blessing to date because I realized what a fighter I am," she said. And, clearly, she is!

She was once BFFs with Michael Jackson

As one of the most famous actresses of her generation, it should come as no surprise that Brooke Shields has — and had — some pretty cool friends. One of her best friends was none other than Michael Jackson. As she explained on the "Jim and Sam Show," she was 13 when she met him. "We were kids together," she explained, recalling that their relationship was always innocent and childlike.

According to Shields, they remained close and supportive friends for years. He helped her get through her father's death and supported her during her postpartum depression. Even though their friendship became much more private over the years, when Jackson died, his mother asked Shields to speak at the memorial service.

As Shields explained to Rolling Stone, their relationship never turned romantic, although, in 1980, Jackson did ask her to marry him, though she turned him down. "I would say, 'You have me for the rest of your life, you don't need to marry me,'" she told the magazine. Sounds like this friendship certainly meant a lot to Shields.

Motherhood wasn't always easy for Brooke Shields

While becoming a mother can be a joyous, exciting experience, it isn't always easy. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 8 women experience postpartum depression after giving birth. Brooke Shields has been open about her personal experience.

In an interview with Oprah, the actress opened up about the scary experience, saying that when her first child was born, she had several complications. Eventually, Shields had a C-section and stayed in the hospital under observation in case she needed further surgery. That was when she began to feel something was wrong. "Everybody says it's the most amazing moment in your life," she said. "I don't know how many people are really telling the truth because I think it becomes amazing — you have to grow into it. It was so dramatic and it was not glorious."

When she eventually brought the baby home, her husband began to worry. "He said, 'What is wrong with you? You don't sing to the baby. You don't even look at the baby,'" Shields recalled to Oprah. Eventually, she was prescribed antidepressants and began to improve. We have to say — it's incredibly brave of her to open up about her experience!

Brooke Shields never Googles herself

These days, it's pretty much impossible to be in the public eye without having loads of stuff about you on the internet. While some celebrities become tempted to see what's out there, Brooke Shields tries to steer clear.

As she told "Today" in 2020, she "absolutely" does not Google herself. "My kids have done it every now and then, and there's just too much — there's too many opinions ... I think I would get a little cuckoo with it, I can't," she said. Shields went on to explain that she also avoids reading any comments on her social media posts. Her husband, she said, does sometimes read them, but, for her, it's too stressful and upsetting. It sounds like Shields has found the perfect way to keep herself sane when she's online — and we could probably all learn a few lessons from her!

The actress and model loves to support the fine arts

Outside of film and fitness, Brooke Shields has other passions. One of her greatest hobbies is collecting art and supporting artists. As the actress told Artnet, she became a supporter of the New York Academy of Art in 2014. The first painting she bought was a male nude by Mats Gustafson. Since then, Shields has continued to purchase multiple pieces by artists such as Shiqing Deng, Kiki Carillo, Dina Brodsky, and more. "I'm always buying stuff when the academy has auctions," she said. The most she's ever spent on a painting is around $6,000. "It's not really about the money as much as it is about the piece," she said.

In another interview with Sotheby's, Shields spoke about how she's not only a collector, she's also a subject: She's appeared in a series of paintings by Eric Fischl in which she plays twins with different personalities. And, of course, she's been a model for numerous photographers. Clearly, Shields absolutely loves the arts, and we can't blame her.

Brooke Shields has always stayed grounded

Brooke Shields has been a superstar from a very young age. Nevertheless, the actress has always managed to stay grounded and maintain a sense of perspective, never becoming swept away by fame.

As she told Woman & Home, she owes her sense of perspective to what she saw as a child. As she watched the adult actresses in her first few films, Shields realized that Hollywood could quickly make people "sad and lonely." "I guess I saw so many train wrecks and I thought, 'God, Brooke, if you don't have something that's your own, it's all going to be constantly picked apart and taken away,'" she said, adding, "And that's why I think I was so adamant about having children and being married and having a house."

Instead of giving everything to her career in the pursuit of fame, Shields kept her home life separate from her work life. It seems that her approach definitely worked!

As a teenager, the media was obsessed with her virginity

Brooke Shields first found fame as a 12-year-old prostitute in "Pretty Baby." From that moment, the media became obsessed with Shields' sexuality. Though she appeared in several movies that sexualized her as a child, the actress says she's always come across as an innocent child. In 1981, The Washington Post wrote that she seemed to be "[16] going on 9" and that "she would much rather ride [horses] than kiss boys." This is just one example of the media's fixation on Shields' innocence.

When she was 20, Shields wrote a memoir in which she claimed she was a virgin. And when she lost her virginity at 22, it became public news. As Shields recalled to The Guardian, at the time, maintaining her virginal persona was an important part of her image. "I was famous from the neck up ... It was a really interesting disconnect. You sort of desensiti[z]e yourself to anything sexual," she said. Apparently, she even taped her hair down to hide her breasts in "Blue Lagoon."

This is how Brooke Shields stays in shape these days

Brooke Shields is definitely one of the most active actresses around. And her exercise regime shows just how much work she puts in to maintain her fitness. As she explained to Healthy Living Magazine, her routine includes spin classes, Ashtanga yoga, and dance. And when she's acting on Broadway, she has to work even harder. "The stamina that you need for a Broadway show is something that you have to try to keep up throughout the year," she said. And, as she's gotten older, she's realized she needs to give herself extra recovery time after tough workouts.

In addition to her exercise routine, she stays healthy by drinking lots of water and getting plenty of sleep. As she's discovered over the years, there's no easy hack to fitness and health. "Balancing seems to be the biggest tip. It's so boring but yet it's true. It gets real simple; there's no pill," Shields said. We have to say, we're impressed!

She learned to slow down as a result of the COVID pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone in different ways. For Brooke Shields, it presented an opportunity to slow down and reassess. "It took COVID to really distill everything for me," she explained to Glamour. She spent her time reading, doing puzzles, and playing games with her children. She added, "We're finding joy in rituals and self-care, because God knows nobody else is going to do it for you, so you better do it yourself."

Of course, like many, the pandemic also added a lot of stress for her. "I've gone through a huge trauma with COVID because of life and nerves and age and everything, that I noticed my hair started thinning," she revealed.

In the end, though, Shields learned a lot from the experience. As she told "Today," she learned she no longer wanted to spend her time doing unnecessary things like stressing about work or panicking about her schedule with press appearances. Sounds like Shields really transformed her outlook for the better during the pandemic!

She wanted to raise her daughters with a sense of normalcy

Brooke Shields is a mother of two daughters. As she told Good Housekeeping, she's focused on raising her daughters to be polite. "If my girls are rude, it's over," she said. "There is no place in the world for it." Giving her daughters a sense of normality was also important to her — especially since she never had a normal childhood herself. Her children always had set bedtimes, a nightly prayer routine, and a weekly visit to church. Even though Shields isn't a devout Catholic, she gave her children a religious upbringing. "I want them to have some sort of base that they can rebel against," she said.

While Shields clearly had a hands-on approach to parenting, she avoided being too overbearing. In fact, she continued working and traveling while her children were growing up, explaining that her husband and their babysitter were home when she couldn't be. Shields' modern, thoughtful approach to parenting seems to have worked for their family — and it sounds like her daughters have turned out to be amazing young women, thanks to their role model.

Brooke Shields is honest about her approach to aging

Aging is never an easy process — especially for women who are in the public eye, like Brooke Shields. However, Shields has embraced aging gracefully and thoughtfully. She confessed to People that she doesn't mind the idea of getting plastic surgery if it will help her feel her best. "I think you have to embrace [aging]," she told People, "but at the same time, be willing to do what you feel comfortable with."

As she explained on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," Shields never had plastic surgery on her face, as she was too afraid. However, she has done sessions of WarmSculpting, also known as SculpSure (via Glamour), a non-invasive approach that uses heat to get rid of fat cells. "It's really great," she said. "And it actually works."

We love how honest Shields is about her approach to aging!