Brooke Shields (born on May 31, 1965 in New York City, New York, USA) is an American actress of Irish, Italian, German and Spanish extraction. She achieved early fame as a child actress, and by her teens was one of the most photographed and recognized models in the world. She attended Princeton University from 1983 to 1987, graduating with a degree in French literature. Her senior thesis was titled The Initiation: From Innocence to Experience: The Pre-Adolescent/Adolescent Journey in the Films of Louis Malle, "Pretty Baby" and "Lacombe Lucien".
Brooke Shields had gained a very early start as she was
a favorite as a child with the top fashion photographers
in New York city at the time, not the least of which was
the late Francesco Scavullo. Garry Gross, who later got
sued by both Brooke and her mother over a lengthy battle
for the copyright of these photographs, shot a famous
series of photographs (one, that was auctioned at
Christie's sold for near 1,000,000 USD) involving a very
nude and explicit Brooke in heavy make-up when she was
10. It was this series which would lead to her film
career as the French director Louis Malle would later
see them and cast her for his film.
Brooke Shields' career really started then among much ballyhoo over her appearance in Malle's Pretty Baby (1978), a movie in which she played a child living in a brothel (and in which there were numerous nude scenes). Because she was only 12 when the film was released, and possibly 11 when it was filmed, questions were raised about child pornography. This was followed by a slightly less controversial, but also less notable film, Wanda Nevada (1979).
Brooke Shields also appeared in provocative, controversial ads for Calvin Klein jeans in 1980, when she was 15 years old. The ads included the famous tagline, "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins."
After two decades of movies, Brooke Shields's best-known films are still arguably The Blue Lagoon (1980) (which included more nude scenes, but Shields later testified before a U.S. Congressional inquiry that older body doubles were used in some of them), and Endless Love (1981), both made near the beginning of her career.
In 1984, Brooke Shields was Michael Jackson's date to the Grammy Awards and also dated him for a brief period.
Brooke Shields, who developed a strong sense of comic timing as her acting career advanced into adulthood, has played in a number of television productions, the most successful being the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan, in which she starred from 1996 until 2000.
She won the People's Choice Award in the category of Favorite Young Performer in four consecutive years from 1981 to 1984 and more than a decade later she won again in the category of Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series in 1997.
Beginning with undergraduate appearances in the Princeton University Triangle Show, Shields has appeared in many on-stage productions, mostly musical revivals, including Grease, Cabaret, Wonderful Town and Chicago on Broadway. She also performed in Chicago in London's West End.
It is widely reported that Shields' legs are insured by Lloyd's of London.
Brooke's parents are the late Francis Alexander Shields who married Brooke´s mother, Maria Theresia Schmonn, in 1964. Her paternal grandparents are Francis Xavier Shields, (a tennis star) of Irish decent, and Italian princess Donna Marina Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi, who was a sister of Don Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince di Civitella-Cesi, the husband of the Spanish Infanta Beatrix of Bourbon-Battenberg (aunt of King Juan Carlos I of Spain). Their granddaughter Sibilla Weiller (b. 1968), Brooke's second cousin, married in 1994 Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg (b. 1963), a younger brother of the reigning Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
Through her Italian-American grandmother, Brooke Shields is a descendant of Lucrezia Borgia, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Honoré I of Monaco and Henry IV of France. Her great-grandmother, Elsie Moore, was a sister of Glenn Close's grandfather. Shields is "a 23rd generation descendant of Francesco I Gattilusio, the founder of the Lesbian Gattilusii dynasty," according to William Addams Reitwiesner's monograph, The Lesbian Ancestors of Prince Rainier of Monaco, Dr. Otto von Habsburg, Brooke Shields, and the Marquis de Sade.
Brooke Shields was married from April 19, 1997 to April 9, 1999 to professional tennis player, Andre Agassi, but she bore no children from this marriage. Since April 4, 2001 she has been married to TV writer Chris Henchy. They are parents to a daughter, Rowan Francis, born on May 15, 2003, and they are expecting their second child, another girl, in the spring of 2006.
In the spring of 2005, Brooke Shields spoke to magazines and appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to publicize her battle with postpartum depression (postnatal depression), an experience that included depression, thoughts of suicide, disturbing thoughts, an inability to respond to her baby's needs, and delayed bonding. The illness may have been triggered by a traumatic labor and delivery, the death of her father three weeks earlier, stress from in vitro fertilization, a miscarriage, and a family history of depression, as well as the hormones and life changes brought on by childbirth. Her book, Down Came the Rain, discusses her experience.
In May 2005 former co-star Tom Cruise, a Scientologist whose religion frowns on modern psychiatry, criticized Shields for both using, and speaking in favor of the drug Paxil. Cruise also said, "Here is a woman, and I care about Brooke Shields because I think she is an incredibly talented woman, you look at (and think), where has her career gone?". Shields responded that Cruise's statements about anti-depressants were "irresponsible" and "dangerous." She said he should "stick to fighting aliens" (ostensibly a reference to Cruise's starring role in War of the Worlds, but also to Scientology doctrine and teachings), and let mothers decide the best way to treat postpartum depression. Shields responded to a further attack by Tom Cruise in an essay published in The New York Times on July 1, 2005.
Several celebrities spoke out in support of Shields. At least two, Marie Osmond and Carnie Wilson, went through postpartum depression themselves.