The Stunning Transformation Of Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields has gone through a number of phases in her long career. First, she was a child star known for her portrayal of a child sex worker in the controversial "Pretty Baby." And, then, after her roles in "Blue Lagoon" and "Endless Love" and her iconic Calvin Klein campaign, she became one of the biggest teen stars of her generation. As she got older, Shields continued to work steadily, cementing herself as a respected adult actor. Now, as a middle-aged woman, Shields is, in many ways, in her prime. These days, she's busy promoting anti-ageism and generally living her best life.

After being thrust into the industry at the very young age of 11 months old, Shields has spent her entire life in the spotlight. Unlike many other child stars of the '80s, however, she has always remained clear-headed, professional, and grounded. So, how did Shields manage to navigate the notorious industry so gracefully? Here is the stunning transformation of Brooke Shields.

Her mom pushed Brooke Shields into the spotlight at 11 months old

It's safe to say that Brooke Shields probably can't remember a time when she wasn't an actress. When she was just 11 months old, Shields landed her first professional role in an Ivory soap commercial, thanks to her mother, Teri Shields. Teri, as reported, had once been a model herself, and it was a friend in the industry who first suggested that Teri bring Brooke to audition for the soap commercial. After that first job, Teri became the devoted manager of her daughter's career. "I was her greatest creation," Shields once told People. "It was us against the world."

Because of her early exposure to the industry, Brooke has always lived in the spotlight, so it was never something she had to adjust to. "I never had the shock of losing all my privacy," she said to The Guardian. "It's always been my reality."

At 11, Brooke Shields got her first taste of fame (and controversy) starring in Pretty Baby

Brooke Shields' first real brush with fame came at the young age of 11 when she played a child sex worker in the film "Pretty Baby." Needless to say, the film and her part in it stirred up lots of controversy, with many critics and cinema-goers complaining about what they saw as the sexualization of a child.

However, at the time, Shields was simply having fun on set. "I just loved the approval. And I loved working and I loved being on a set," she told The Guardian, adding, "I also wasn't personally scathed by it." In fact, she was always proud of the film.

Even now, looking back at the movie, Shields maintains it wasn't inappropriate — nor did it leave her with any deep-seated trauma. "I was such a naïve, innocent child," she said to USA Today. "I wasn't Lolita. I didn't have that precocious understanding of my sexuality."

Brooke Shields became world famous and became obsessed with perfection

After the success of "Pretty Baby," Brooke Shields' career continued to blossom. As a teenager, she appeared in numerous films, including "King of the Gypsies," "Wanda Nevada," and "Tilt." However, it was the 1980 film "The Blue Lagoon" and the 1981 film "Endless Love" that got the most attention. In both films, Shields once again played sexualized teens. As The Guardian reported, she appeared on the covers of 30 magazines in 1981. These films were quickly followed by her famous Calvin Klein campaign.

Throughout these successive achievements, Shields remained focused on doing a good job rather than reveling in the fame. "I was 15 — it was 37 years ago," she told The Guardian of her Calvin Klein campaign. "It was a lot of work. And I wanted Dick [Avedon] to be proud of me. You just wanted a gold star, you know?"

As a teen, the actress was incredibly responsible

Brooke Shields always had a complex, intense relationship with her mother-manager, Teri Shields. As Brooke got older, her mother's drinking became a defining feature, not only of the relationship but also, of Brooke's early years. "My mother's alcoholism kept me on the straight and narrow throughout my childhood and teen years," she revealed to The Guardian. "I was a caretaker to a drinker. I didn't have time to consider going off the rails myself — all I wanted to do was to get A's in school and keep my mum alive."

Even though Brooke was, in many ways, the mature one in the relationship, Teri also babied Brooke well into her teens and early 20s. As Brooke revealed in another interview for The Guardian, her mother would brashly interrupt interviews because she thought Brooke needed to "go tinkles." According to People, Teri even told Brooke to write a chapter about her virginity in her teen memoir, "The Brooke Book."

Ultimately, the co-dependent relationship was too intense. "​​I was in a cocoon with my mom," Brooke recalled to The Guardian. "You know, we were one summer away from 'Grey Gardens.'"

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Brooke Shields struck up friendships and relationships with famous men

Throughout her teens, Brooke Shields was under an intense spotlight. In addition to the media's obsessive fixation on her virginity, they fixated on her various relationships and friendships with a series of famous men.

First was her close friendship with Michael Jackson. She struck up a close friendship with the pop star in the '80s. While he apparently asked her to marry him, she always felt their bond was more platonic. "I would say, 'You have me for the rest of your life, you don't need to marry me, I'm going to go on and do my own life and have my own marriage and my own kids, and you'll always have me,'" she told Rolling Stone.

Then, Shields had more romantic relationships. As reported, she was linked to Scott Baio, Leif Garrett, and George Michael. And, according to Shields' memoir, she also dated Liam Neeson. Apparently, Neeson proposed twice, but Shields didn't trust him (via Yahoo!).

She studied at Princeton, which gave her a more normal experience of young adulthood

After spending years in the Hollywood spotlight as a teen, Brooke Shields made the surprising choice to attend Princeton University. As far as Shields is concerned, her time at college, while, perhaps, not ideal for her career momentum, was exactly what she needed. "It didn't occur to me not to go," she told Today. "And I had been working for so long by then it was almost like a vacation."

In fact, as she told Princeton Magazine, "It's been the thing that's helped me stay standing." At Princeton, Shields tried to live a life that was as normal as possible. She dated normal guys and even fell in love for the first time and lost her virginity. It's clear these four years are a big part of why Shields has remained so grounded throughout her career.

The model's first husband convinced her to cut professional ties with her mother

When Brooke Shields met her future husband, tennis player Andre Agassi, in 1993, the course of her life changed dramatically. At the time, her mother was still running Shields' career. However, as Shields told, Agassi encouraged her to cut ties with her mother.

Apparently, Shields closed down her mother's management office and canceled the company credit cards. In hindsight, Shields realizes it was a drastic, cold way to do things. "I might have tried to do it less like a business transaction ... Weirdly enough, she kind of gave me props later, because she probably saw herself in me at that point. 'Cut your losses,'" she recalled.

Her relationship with Agassi ended up being a toxic one, but, according to People, Shields was always grateful to him for helping her break free from her unhealthy relationship with her mother.

Brooke Shields divorced Andre Agassi after they grew apart

After two years of marriage, Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi divorced in 1999. As Shields explained in her memoir, "There Was a Little Girl," she knew almost instantly the marriage had been a mistake. "It hit me all of a sudden — I knew I had made a mistake," she wrote (via NDTV Sports).

Shields was busy filming "Suddenly Susan," while Agassi had a busy tennis schedule, leaving very little time for them to spend together. "He alienated me when he lost and was on to the next tournament after he won," she went on. "We were drifting apart." Agassi, it turns out, was also unhappy. "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," he wrote in his autobiography, "Open" (via SheKnows).

Eventually, Agassi revealed he had an addiction to crystal meth. The relationship broke down further, and the couple divorced. In the end, it seems the separation was the best thing for both of them.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

She remarried and had a much happier relationship with Chris Henchy

After her divorce, Brooke Shields met screenwriter Chris Henchy and tied the knot in 2001. As Shields told The Guardian, in many ways, her first marriage is what made a healthier relationship with Henchy possible. "[I] think I couldn't have even been with my [now] husband had I not been in that relationship with Andre," she said.

Over the years, Henchy and Shields have built a strong, powerful bond. Unlike her previous intense relationships, Shields has learned the importance of maintaining space. Often, she told Closer Weekly, the pair need to travel to opposite sides of the country for work. Plus, she loves having "separate sinks" at home. Of course, they still love to spend quality time together. It's clear that Shields has grown a lot and has learned a few key lessons about how to make a relationship work in a healthy way.

The actress struggled with infertility and postpartum depression

Brooke Shields' first child, Rowan, was born in 2003 (via People). For a long time, Shields and Chris Henchy had struggled to conceive. As the actress explained to Oprah Winfrey, she and her husband went through several rounds of IVF before they were able to successfully conceive.

After her daughter was born, Shields was shocked to find she felt a deep depression set in. "Everybody says it's the most amazing moment in your life," Shields said to Winfrey. "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 and her newborn got home, at first, Shields struggled to bond with her daughter. She even had to "pretend to care about her," she shared, noting, "And it absolutely terrified me."

Eventually, Shields realized she had severe postpartum depression and, after being prescribed antidepressants, began to feel like her old self again. We are so impressed at Shields' bravery in opening up about her difficulties with postpartum depression and infertility, topics women are often afraid to talk about.

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.

Brooke Shields wanted to give her two daughters a normal family life

After Rowan was born, Brooke Shields had another daughter, Grier. Soon, she settled into a new rhythm of life — one centered around quiet family life. Growing up with a mother who could be overbearing and who struggled with alcoholism, as Shields explained to Good Housekeeping, she never had the urge to act out. She wanted things to be different for her daughters. She set clear boundaries and strict routines that involved consistent dinner times and weekly church — quite different from her own childhood spent traveling between film sets.

While Shields made sure to spend plenty of quality time with her children, giving them a normal childhood, she didn't let her family hinder her career. "I'm so adamant that being a really good parent does not mean you have to be there 24/7," she told the magazine. It seems that, after a hectic, unusual childhood, Shields found her own way of building a steady, healthy family as an adult.

A terrifying accident in 2021 taught her about her own strength

In 2021, Brooke Shields had a horrible, life-changing accident. She was at the gym doing a two-week workout challenge when she decided to hop back on the balance board at the end of one of her sessions. As she told "Good Morning America," she lost focus and fell. "I landed so heavy and so hard ... on the top part of my femur, and it just snapped it," she recalled.

Shields was rushed to the hospital, where multiple metal rods were inserted into her hip. Then, her arm, where she'd had an IV, became infected. "I don't think I've ever been more afraid because I was helpless," she said. Finally, her recovery period began — and it was a grueling process involving massage, exercises, and perseverance.

Although the ordeal was terrifying, it taught Shields a crucial lesson: that she has a huge store of inner strength. As she put it, "It's almost been the biggest blessing to date because I realize what a fighter I am."

Brooke Shields feels more empowered than ever in middle age

It's hardly a great secret that Hollywood is unkind to women as they age. In an industry rampant with sexism and ageism, Brooke Shields has faced middle age with an impressive amount of self-acceptance. When she was younger, she told Marie Claire, she was often critiqued for her body type. "Over the years," she said, "I have decided that I'm not going to be done in."

Instead of succumbing to ageism, she's become a proud, vocal advocate for the empowerment of middle-aged women. As far as Shields is concerned, it's never too late to look and feel your best. These days, she's practically the poster woman for self-love. "I'm not tied to what the outside is for my self-esteem," she told Yahoo!. "And I think that's a miracle coming through this business, and being in it as long as I have ... It's about vitality, not aging."

She is all about challenging ageism in her work

Brooke Shields' newfound self-love isn't just something she wants to incorporate in her life — it's also something she wants to bring into her work. She started a wellness company called Beginning Is Now to encourage other women her age to embrace their bodies and get fit, no matter how old or inexperienced they are.

Shields is advocating against ageism in her acting work. In 2021, She took on the lead role of Sophie in Netflix's Christmas rom-com, "A Castle for Christmas." She was initially attracted to the strength of the character and drawn to the fact she is a middle-aged woman with a full life and the capacity for romance. As Shields pointed out to USA Today, it's rare to see a middle-aged woman at the center of a romantic comedy. "It's such a refreshing perspective, because it's real," she said. "I know so many women, even just over 40, who are either divorced or falling in love or deciding to get married for the first time."

It sounds like defying ageist stereotypes is a big part of what made Shields eager to take on this part — we just hope she continues to challenge expectations with more strong female roles in the future.