Inside Brooke Shields' Relationship With Chris Henchy

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Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy are one of Hollywood's longest standing couples, but are also one of Tinseltown's most private.

Shields, of course, is one of the most iconic beauties of our generation, from making her debut in a soap ad at 11 months old to uttering those famous words, "What gets between me and my Calvins? Nothing" (via The Telegraph). She's also starred in dozens of movies and hit shows, including her own sitcom, "Suddenly Susan," and has dated a slew of famous men, including Dean Cain and Liam Neeson, and later married tennis star Andre Agassi.

Henchy is a film and TV writer and producer known for "Land of the Lost," "The Other Guys," and "Eastbound & Down." The two married in 2001 and share two daughters, Rowan and Grier (via People). Shields and Henchy might be two of the busiest people in Hollywood, but they've also made time for their nearly 20-year marriage throughout the ups and downs. Here's a look into Brooke Shields' relationship with Chris Henchy.

They first met thanks to Brooke Shields' dog Darla

Brooke Shields was previously married to tennis star Andre Agassi before she met Chris Henchy. She later remarked that she "still had so much growing up to do" after her relationship with Agassi officially dissolved in 1999.

According to an excerpt from Shields' book, "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression," she met Henchy later that same year, thanks to her American bulldog, Darla. The young pup wandered off on the Warner Bros. lot where Shields was shooting "Suddenly Susan," only for Henchy, who was also writing for a show there, to bring her back. Henchy made a strong impression on Shields instantly. Over the next few weeks, they further connected as friends through a show Shields was hosting in Washington, D.C. that Henchy wrote. Shields appreciated how thoughtful and funny Henchy was.

While Shields wasn't in a place to date, given that she was recently divorced, she noted that finally "there was something between us that I could no longer ignore," and they started dating.

They got married in secret

Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy dated for two years before getting engaged in Mexico when Henchy popped the question with an antique, cushion-cut diamond ring.

The details around their wedding have been a bit hush-hush and mysterious. Initially, reports said the two got hitched on the beach at Catalina Island in April 2001 surrounded by a small group of friends and family (via The New York Post). One source even told the Post that "the wedding was a very beautiful and tasteful affair" and also added that no one really knew where the couple was honeymooning.

But Hollywood gossip columnist Liz Smith, per ABC News, said the news about their April nuptials on Catalina Island were actually false and part of a ruse used to throw off paparazzi and Shields' long-time stalker. According to Smith, the couple didn't really marry until a month later when they had a Roman Catholic ceremony at a luxurious Palm Beach estate.

They supported each other through fertility issues

Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy wanted to be parents even before they got married. According to Shields' book, "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression," she went off the pill before their wedding but wasn't getting pregnant (via Today). The couple learned surgery on her cervix to remove precancerous cells a few years prior had resulted in scarring that affected her ability to become pregnant.

Through it all, Henchy remained by her side and supported her, using his trademark humor. When the doctor mentioned her cervix becoming "incompetent" during pregnancy, Shields recalled Henchy saying, "Please, Doctor, we don't like to use the word 'incompetent' in our house. Could you just say she has a 'special' cervix, or that she is simply 'cervically challenged?'"

After trying artificial insemination, the couple moved onto in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. While Shields admitted in her book that the process was "quite upsetting" to the couple, they stuck by each other, knowing they would need to "mentally and physically" prepare for it together.

They have two daughters

Thankfully, Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy's fertility struggles had a happy ending. According to an interview with Fertility Today, the couple's last cycle with IVF was the one that worked and resulted in their first daughter, Rowan Francis.

Shields delivered her first daughter on May 15, 2003 in New York and heard her cry for the first time as James Taylor's "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" played in the background. Shields shared that she and Henchy chose the name Rowan because they loved "the sound of Irish names and there was folklore surrounding it," as the name means "little red one." The middle name Francis was chosen in honor of Shields' father, who passed away from prostate cancer three weeks before her birth (via People).

Three years later, the couple welcomed their second daughter, Grier Hammond, in Los Angeles on April 18, 2006. Unlike her first daughter, Grier was conceived naturally, to which Shields said "all our jaws dropped" (via People). According to People, Shields was happy to have a second child and felt relieved that her daughters will have each other when she and Henchy "aren't here anymore," noting that it "really settles [her] mind."

Brooke's postpartum depression affected their relationship

After Rowan's birth, Brooke Shields suffered from severe postpartum depression that affected her marriage with Chris Henchy. Shields told Oprah Winfrey that her depression "gripped my heart to such an extent that I didn't even have the desire to try to overcome it. I mean, I was flattened by it. I was devastated by it." She shared in the interview that Henchy was confused and hurt by her behavior, ultimately breaking down into tears. "[He] burst into tears. ... He said, 'What is wrong with you? You don't sing to the baby. You don't even look at the baby.'"

After speaking with her doctor, she was soon prescribed antidepressants. Shields told Winfrey she was hesitant and embarrassed about taking them but Henchy convinced her, telling her, "'Please, there's nothing wrong with it. Just try.'" In her memoir "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression," Shields says her husband was supportive in dealing with her depression, but admitted the fear and lack of trust still existed within their relationship at the time: "Damage gets done ... my husband, if I have a bad day, he looks at me, thinking, 'Oh God, it's going to come back again.' There's a lack of trust that was there at one time and I think that that's damaging, and that's damage to our relationship" (via People).

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

They raised their daughters as normally as possible

Despite the fame and wealth that Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy have both separately and together as a couple, they were determined to raise their two daughters as normally as possible. "I think they need to really have as much of a conventional upbringing as you can in New York City, with kids their own age, and not be thrown into something with all the pressure," Brooke Shields told the New York Post. In the same interview, Shields said that while her youngest daughter, Grier, was hinting about following in her mom's modeling footsteps, she wouldn't be pushing them into it.

Instead, the couple prioritizes family time, including summers at their home in the Hamptons, and instilling them a sense of care and respect for the environment. "I make my kids go on garbage pickups along the beach, and we don't use plastic straws in our house," she told Net-a-Porter.

Their daughters also did away with their privilege and had their first summer jobs in 2020. Shields shared with Us Weekly that her kids got their paychecks weekly and, through the experience, "they realized how hard it was to get that check, that piece of paper."

They know marriage takes work

After being married for almost two decades, Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy know that marriage takes work. Shields told NBC that she and Henchy have to have date nights to keep their marriage strong. Sometimes it's just grabbing an hour in the morning and being together. "I was like, 'Please, let's just go have coffee out on the porch.' He got the paper, and we went and sat out, and he had his glasses. I said, 'Look at us, Grandpa!' It maybe lasted 45 minutes before life came back at us."

At the same time, Shields and Henchy understand that absence does make the heart grow fonder. "A little space is good," she told Closer Weekly as she talked about how the couple sometimes work bi-coastally between LA and New York separately. She also swore by "separate sinks" in the bathroom.

But it's clear that Shields and Henchy love being around each other. "He's extremely patient and ridiculously funny," she gushed to Good Housekeeping. "And he has the ability to approach situations head-on and not let things fester ... I'm lucky I have an amazing husband."

They have a daughter in college and a daughter at home

In 2021, Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy got a small take of the empty nesters life when they dropped off their firstborn, Rowan, to college for the first time at West Lake University. Of the occasion, Shields wrote on Instagram, "My unique and extraordinary baby girl spreading her wings. I love you so. We are so proud of you."

Now Shields and Henchy are spending more time on the East Coast, which might have explained Shields listing her Pacific Palisades home around the same time Rowan went to school (via Dirt). However, their teenage daughter Grier is still home, and she doesn't mind stealing from her mom's closet. Shields told People that if she's missing clothing, she knows it's her daughter. "If I want to know where anything good that I have is, and I can't find it in my closet, I know exactly where to find it."

Expanding more onto her younger daughter's "growing pains," when asked how old her daughters are on the "Armchair Expert" podcast, the actress said they are "18 and a–hole," respectively (via Page Six). But she also mentioned how the girls have a soft spot for Henchy. "Their dad is kind of their first love," Shields said. "There's something in that."