Drew Barrymore is receiving widespread praise following from her powerful conversation with Brooke Shields about their mothers during an episode of The Drew Barrymore Show.
The segment in question focuses on the pair’s experience of being exploited in Hollywood from a young age.
At one moment during the interview, Barrymore asked Shields how she felt about the Me Too movement.
“This is gonna seem like a very weird turn,” she began. “But how did you feel about the Me Too movement, in the sense of, I didn’t feel like I had a dog in that race.”
“I didn’t feel like I could speak to it, because I experienced things that were so inappropriate at such a young age. … We were children. How did that movement affect you? Did you feel like you could speak to it?” Barrymore continued.
Shields agreed and admitted she felt a similar way, revealing she struggled to understand where she “fell on the spectrum” with her experiences.
“I was made to feel culpable, but at the same time you victim-shame yourself,” Shields said.
“We were so young and it was so ‘appropriate,’” she continued, adding air quotes around the word. “I couldn’t feel sorry. I didn’t even know. I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know.”
Both stars agreed that they struggled with the realisation that they had suffered so much abuse that they didn’t know how to contribute to the Me Too conversation.
“I felt like I couldn’t speak to the movement, and I was so happy that it was happening, but I felt like I experienced too many things that were so grey and so awkward and I didn’t know were wrong at the time,” Barrymore added.
Clips from the interview have gone viral on a host of different platforms, being seen by tens of millions, who have responded to the interview with awe.
“Thank you. When things happen to us as children it’s easy to burry it, brush it off, put it in the back of your head. Sometimes questioning if it happened because as adults it’s hard to remember and often too painful. There is also shame. You are both strong and inspiring women,” one person wrote.
Another said: “An absolutely wonderful conversation, very much appreciated that you share what you have experienced. Drew has never disappointed me and in her mature stage she seems to me to be a very empathetic woman with the whole subject of abuse.”
While a third wrote: “This breaks my heart on so many levels. What amazing women & mothers they became despite predators of all kinds surrounding them at such young ages. @DrewBarrymore really has something special with this show where you feel like you’re intruding on a friendship—not an interview.”
The viral interview comes after a swathe of publicity for Shields in response to her new documentary, Brooke Shields: Pretty Baby, where she explores her experiences as a child in the industry further.
Shields is the daughter of Teri Shields, who knew she always wanted her daughter to be a star. Reportedly, she decided when Brooke was just 5 days old that she wanted her to be involved in show business.
Her modelling career began when she was just eleven months old, and throughout her childhood she became one of the biggest child models in the world, even becoming Vogue’s youngest ever cover star aged just fourteen.
One of Shields’ most iconic images is her in a Calvin Klein advert, where she was also aged fourteen. In the advert, she says the iconic yet controversial tagline: “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”
However, one of the most controversial parts of Shields’ childhood is her role in the 1978 movie Pretty Baby, where she played Violet, a child who had been abused and forced into pro********n. She was just eleven years old when filming this movie.
Less than 2 years later, she starred in The Blue Lagoon, where she starred alongside Christopher Atkins. Shields was just fourteen then, and Atkins was eighteen, but that didn’t stop producers from attempting to cajole the 2 into a relationship.
“They wanted us so desperately to fall in love with each other,” she said, via UNILAD. “I did not react well being forced into feeling anything. I hadn’t even kissed anybody by that age.”
The model revealed to Drew Barrymore that the director has since tried to contact her.
“I saw [Kleiser’s] name on my phone, and I was like, ‘Oh, what do I do?’ and I let it go to voicemail,” Shields said, via The Independent. “Because I was like, ‘I want to see what the tone is.’ He wants to chat. I don’t know about what, but I don’t feel like bringing any of it back up again.”
She added: “It’s not about that. It was about these males needing me to be in a certain category to serve their story, and it never was about me, it was not protective of me. It was fun and loving at times, but I was just there. I was a pawn, I was a piece, I was a commodity.”
Shields further opened up about her experience in the Hulu documentary, Brooke Shields: Pretty Baby. In the documentary, Shields discusses how she was s**ualised at such a young age, and how her mother was complicit in this.
“I don’t know why she thought it was all right. I don’t know,” she said.
Teri, Brooke’s mother, died of dementia back in 2021, and is only now finding the strength to speak out about her experiences.
The documentary is available to stream now on Disney+.