[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Brooke Shields opened up about a difficult time in her life for the very first time.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the 57-year-old actress revealed in her new documentary Pretty Baby, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, that she was sexually assaulted shortly after graduating from college at Princeton in 1987. Without naming her rapist, Brooke recalled in the doc that she was looking to enter back into the Hollywood scene after school and was struggling to find work, so she met with a man for dinner to discuss some potential projects. Following the meeting, the unidentified attacker convinced The Blue Lagoon star to go to his hotel, so he could call her a cab to take her home:
“He said, ‘Come back to the hotel and I’ll call a cab.’ And I go up to the hotel room, and he disappears for awhile.”
Becoming uncomfortable with the situation, Brooke said she tried to distract herself and took the binoculars the man left in the room in order to watch some of the volleyball players out the window. But things took a turn when he suddenly stepped back into the room – naked:
“The door opens, the person comes out naked, and I’ve got the binoculars and I’m like, ‘S**t.’ And I put the binoculars down and he’s right on me. Just like, was wrestling.”
During the horrific assault, Brooke explained that she didn’t try to run away or fight back because she was afraid he would become physically violent:
“I was afraid I’d get choked out or something. So I didn’t fight that much. I didn’t. I just absolutely froze. I thought one ‘No’ should’ve been enough, and I just thought, ‘Stay alive and get out,’ and I just shut it out. God knows I knew how to be disassociated from my body. I’d practiced that…”
When it was over, the model left the room, went down the elevator, grabbed a cab, and “just cried all the way to my friend’s apartment.” So, so awful. And for a long time, Brooke admitted she couldn’t process the fact that she was raped – even when her security specialist Gavin de Becker pointed it out to her:
“He said, ‘That’s rape.’ And I said, ‘I’m not willing to believe that.’
“That was what I had to do to my brain. He said to me, ‘I can trust you and I can’t trust people.’ It’s so cliché, it’s practically pathetic. I believed somehow I put out a message and that was how the message was received. I drank wine at dinner. I went up to the room. I just was so trusting.”
While Brooke never confronted the man in person, she shared that she wrote him a letter years later – which went ignored by him:
“I just threw my hands up and said, ‘You know what, I refuse to be a victim because this is something that happens no matter who you are and no matter what you think you’re prepared for or not.’ I wanted to erase the whole thing from my mind and body and just keep on the path I was on. The system had never once come to help me. So, I just had to get stronger on my own.”
Sending our love and support to Brooke after she opened up about this painful and traumatic moment in her life.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and would like to learn more about resources, consider checking out https://www.rainn.org/resources.
[Image via MEGA/WENN]