In her new memoir, There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me, Brooke Shields ’87 details her early career as a famous child actress, her years at Princeton, and the effects of her mother’s decades-long battle with alcoholism.
First put in the spotlight at the age of 11 months in an ad for Ivory soap, Shields describes life on the movie sets of Pretty Baby, The Blue Lagoon, and Endless Love; her marriage to tennis star Andre Agassi; and her decision, as an adult, to remove her mother, Teri, from her longtime role managing her career.
At Princeton, Shields initially was so homesick that she told her mother she had decided to drop out (her mother persuaded her to stay). She also details how photographers pursued her:
“The paparazzi tried to sneak onto campus, dressed like what they thought college students looked like, and follow me around. The students were great and they alerted the school and me if anyone saw anybody suspicious. One photographer hid in a vent to photograph me walk to a class; another attempted to bribe a Mathey College freshman to take a camera into the showers and snap me in the nude. They would have been in for a surprise if they tried, because I had taken to showering in a one-piece bathing suit!”
Eventually Shields moved off campus, and during her junior year began dating actor Dean Cain ’88, whom she calls “my first real love.” The book also recounts her later career on the TV show Suddenly Susan, her marriage to writer and producer Chris Henchy, and her mother’s death in 2012. “There has been so much written about my mom, and most of it has been quite negative,” Shields writes. “This is by no means an attempt to idealize her or condemn her. It is simply my turn to tell the story as I saw and felt it. It’s about the 48 years that I knew — yet never really knew — my mother.”