Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images
Brooke Shields’ new documentary “Pretty Baby” made headlines at the Sundance Film Festival for her revelation that she was sexually assaulted in her 20s. In a new interview with People magazine, Shields revealed that it was a powerful Hollywood executive who assaulted her over 30 years ago.
“It’s taken me a long time to process,” Shields said. “I am more angry now than I was able to be then. If you’re scared, you’re right. These are scary situations. They don’t have to be violent to be scary.”
Shields said she never went public with the sexual assault before the documentary because she thought “no one would believe me,” adding, “People didn’t believe those stories back then. I thought I’d never work again.”
The sexual assault happened at the “lowest point of my career,” Shields said. She had just graduated from Princeton University and booked a meeting with a Hollywood executive. The meeting took the form of a business dinner.
“I thought I got a movie, a job,” Shields said.
The dinner ended with the Hollywood executive taking her back to his hotel room where he continued to assault her. Shields added, “I didn’t fight. I just froze,” and said she later blamed herself for the assault.
“I kept saying, ‘I shouldn’t have done that.’ Why did I break up with him? I shouldn’t have had that drink at dinner,” Shields said. “It was really easy to separate because by then it was old hat,” she recalls. “And because it was a fight-or-flight type of choice. Fighting was not an option, so you just leave your body. ‘You’re not there. It didn’t happen.'”
In her two-part documentary, which Variety called “fascinating” and “accomplished” in her rave review for Sundance, Shields opens up for the first time about her earliest experiences in Hollywood. The film traces her rise as a child advertising model to her sexualization in film, beginning at age 12 in “Pretty Baby” (1978) and then at age 15 in “The Blue Lagoon” (1980). The documentary is directed by Lana Wilson, best known for her Taylor Swift doc “Miss Americana.”
“Brooke Shields: Pretty Baby” premieres April 3 on Hulu.