Brooke Shields on Sexual Assault from Hollywood Executive: ‘I Just Froze’

"Fight was not an option, so you just leave your body," Shields recalled, thinking, "'You're not there. It didn't happen.'"
Brooke Shields at the 2023 TIME Women of the Year event
Brooke Shields at the 2023 TIME Women of the Year event
Getty Images for TIME

Brooke Shields is opening up about surviving sexual assault in her early 20s.

The supermodel and actress revealed she was raped by a studio executive soon after graduating from Princeton University. “It’s taken me a long time to process it,” Shields told People magazine in a new cover story. “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, who was grappling with the “lowest point of my career” at the time, had dinner with a Hollywood executive who later invited her to his hotel room to call a cab from the landline. She was then assaulted.

“I thought I was getting a movie, a job,” Shields said. “I didn’t fight. I just froze.”

Shields detailed the assault in two-part Hulu documentary “Pretty Baby,” which premiered at 2023 Sundance. Per Entertainment Weekly, Shields explained how it was “just like wrestling” with the executive on top of her.

“Doing the documentary, you see it all together, and it’s a miracle that I survived,” Shields told People, at the time thinking, “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.'”

The “Blue Lagoon” child star 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.'”

She added, “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 [in the face]. And it was just easier to shut myself off. I was good at it.”

IndieWire’s Kate Erbland praised the “unsettling” documentary “Pretty Baby” for not shying away from Shields’ high-profile status. “Viewers who have never seen early interviews of Shields — who started her modeling career when she was just an infant, making her someone who has literally been famous nearly all of her life — will likely be shocked to see the way Shields was treated even in seemingly friendly chats,” Erbland wrote. “Nearly always, she is an object, constantly told how pretty she was, being praised solely on her looks, simply a face and body to people. As one talking head explains it, Shields was a ‘nuclear version of what it was to be judged by your appearance.’”

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