'Pretty Baby' shows not-so-pretty side of stardom through Brooke Shields' eyes

BySandy Kenyon OTRC logo
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
'Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields' is window into star's difficult life
"Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields" is a two-part documentary premiering Monday on Hulu. It is a deep dive into the struggles of Shields' life of fame.

Brooke Shields has been a star since she was a child, but a new documentary reveals why it's taken her decades to feel confident in her talent.

It's also taken her many years to recover from the abuse she suffered.

"Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields" is a two-part documentary premiering Monday on Hulu that includes her account of a sexual assault by a Hollywood executive after her graduation from Princeton.

This was just one of the many challenges she faced, which makes her story so fascinating.

Entertainment Reporter Sandy Kenyon says he met her almost 40 years ago and was struck back then how smart and gracious she ways. He says that years later, his opinion has not changed, but after this documentary, his respect for her has grown dramatically.

Shields knew fame and fortune as the face of an entire era, and we all thought we knew her. It turns out few realized the hurdles Shields faced, challenges that would have broken a weaker person.

"I am amazed that I survived any of it," Shields said.

The truth of her words becomes more apparent over the course of "Pretty Baby," which gets its name from a movie Shields made as a pre-teen.

Shields was thrown into a world of adult sexuality at a young age. An interview with Shields and her close friends reveals that Shields was not OK with that aspect of life.

"I didn't believe in myself, and I let people win, and I'm past that," Shields said.

She brought her family to the premiere of the documentary that was produced by her close friend George Stephanopoulos and his wife Ali Wentworth.

"We wanted to really tell her story as well as tell a bigger story about how we have sexualized girls in our culture," Wentworth said.

For Shields' daughter, model Grier Henchy, the documentary was a revelation.

"Shocking and very emotional. I think it was stuff like I was saying to her: it's stuff that needs to be heard and needs to be talked about," Henchy said.

From the time that Shields was a baby, her mother, Terri, pushed her into the spotlight. Shields says the hardest thing she has faced in life was loving an alcoholic.

"But, we hold that guilt. We hold that feeling of 'Oh I should've, could've, would've.' You have to let yourself off the hook for that," Shields said about her relationship with her mother.

She noted that her mother's alcoholism was "a battle she never won," but added that "people are coming away from this film identifying with so many different things."

Kenyon says this was by far the best documentary he has seen this year. It can be watched on Hulu, which is owned by the same parent company as this station.