News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by
Arts & Entertainment

Brooke Shields opens up about her late mother, Teri

Actress Brooke Shields and husband Chris Henchy  attend the
Actress Brooke Shields and husband Chris Henchy attend the "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," premiere.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Actress Brooke Shields and husband Chris Henchy  attend the
Brooke Shields appeared on the cover of Vogue at 14 years old.

Listen to story

Download this story 4MB

Brooke Shields has had a pretty tremendous career. She landed her first gig on an Ivory Soap commercial when she was just 11 months old and by the age of 14, she became the youngest model to ever appear on the cover of Vogue.

She got an early start in Hollywood, too, landing her first big role in the film "Pretty Baby" when she was just 12. Shields didn't have an agent. She just had exceptional beauty, natural talent... and her mom Teri. 

Their incredibly close and yet incredibly tumultuous relationship is the topic of Brooke Shields' new memoir - "There Was A Little Girl: The Real Story Of My Mother And Me."

"Well, I think that we sort of look at the stage moms as the Mama Roses or the more current sort of reality star stage moms and in all of them, these moms themselves are prominent in the picture... [My mom] didn't want to try to be the star."

Shields talked about her personal and working relationship with her mom in a recent interview with Alex Cohen.

"I think that she actually felt uncomfortable with the focus on her... so she drank and completely made the focus be about her."

And as Shields' manager - Teri helped get her roles, like as Violet - the young prostitute in the controversial, but iconic 1978 film, "Pretty Baby." Shields described it as the best movie that she's ever been in, and that she's grateful that her mother brought it to her, even though she was so young at the time.

"I really enjoyed the whole process of being on a set, being with a family, them becoming your family. And because of my mom's alcohol and the drinking - these movie sets became these little utopian protective places for me. Because she wouldn't drive, because a teamster would take us everywhere... And she could drink, but I knew that somebody would take care of her... But it was this weird sort of, it kept me grounded in the most ironic way. And usually it's the antithesis of that. It's usually the movies that unleash the crazy."

Watching her mother struggle with alcoholism  forced Shields to avoid going down the same path, but it also helped shape who she became.

"I was that type A, child of an alcoholic, wanting to be... I was the golden retriever puppy, but that was what my drug was. That was what I became addicted to, was the approval."

But Shields takes a lot away from her relationship with her mother, especially when she thinks about her relationship with her own daughters.

"I don't want my girls to worry about me. I want them to feel safe, but feel the freedom to question me and  try and learn and reveal who they want to be... I never knew that that was an option to ask questions, because I looked at my mother as knowing better than any human being. But I also realized in writing the book that my mom had a lot of fear about being honest with herself, about herself. And therefore, even though I felt like I really knew her. I really felt that she didn't let me in at time and for a good portion of her life."