Brooke Shields Reveals She Was Sexually Assaulted 30 Years Ago: “I’m More Angry Now”

Brooke Shields is only just beginning to process her anger over being sexually assaulted 30 years ago by a powerful Hollywood executive.

The supermodel shared her harrowing story with People as part of her forthcoming documentary, Brooke Shields: Pretty Baby, premiering next month on Hulu. She explained that she never opened up about the assault because she thought at the time, “No one is going to believe me. People weren’t believing those stories back then. I thought I would never work again.” The documentary will focus on Shields rise to fame as a young girl playing highly sexualized roles in films like Pretty Baby, in which she played a child prostitute, and The Blue Lagoon, which sparked public outrage at the time of its release over its depiction of adolescent sexuality. “Doing the documentary, you see it all together, and it’s a miracle that I survived,” the actor said. In regards to her assault, she noted, “It’s taken me a long time to process it. I’m more angry now than I was able to be then. If you’re afraid, you’re rightfully so. They are scary situations. They don’t have to be violent to be scary.”

Shields went on to share that when the incident took place she was a recent Princeton University graduate and at the “lowest point of my career,” unable to find work. She went to dinner with a Hollywood executive who she thought was going to give her “a movie, a job,” but instead invited her to call a cab from his hotel room after their meal. Once in his room, he assaulted her and the model shared, “I didn’t fight. I just froze.” She went on to explain that afterward she blamed herself for the entire experience. “I kept saying, ‘I shouldn’t have done that. Why did I go up with him? I shouldn’t have had that drink at dinner,’” she continued. “It was really easy to disassociate because by then it was old hat. And because it was a fight-or-flight type of choice. Fight was not an option, so you just leave your body. ‘You’re not there. It didn’t happen.’” Shields said she learned to become detached from her own experiences at a young age as a way of coping with the intensity of her fame. “I’d always had a sense of disassociation from my body. From my sexuality. I was mostly a cover girl, so it’s all here,” she said, gesturing from her neck up. “And it was just easier to shut myself off. I was good at it.”

At the time, the actor only told one person about the traumatizing event, her close friend and one-time security consultant Gavin de Becker. He explained, “Brooke lived so long in the judgment of others, by the millions, so it was heartbreaking to see her judge herself. It has also been inspiring to see her integrate the truth as she has.” And Shields has now decided to share that truth with the rest of the world “with the hopes of helping people not feel alone,” she revealed. “Everybody processes their own trauma on a different timeline. I want to be an advocate for women to be able to speak their truth.” She concluded, “I always kept going, like a bull in a china shop…I will not be defeated.”

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