Feature

Brooke Shields’ maternal karma

With Teri Shields in declining health, it’s her 43-year-old daughter’s turn to look after her.

Brooke Shields can’t escape her mother, says Jancee Dunn in More. She was raised in Manhattan by Teri Shields, a driven, hard-drinking stage mom who pushed her pretty little girl into child modeling and acting. Brooke believes her mother feared falling back into poverty, following her divorce from her father, a Revlon executive. “She came from Newark, N.J., from the opposite side of the tracks. My dad came from the upper-crusty side of the tracks. And my mother was always adamant about being perceived as having class, not having been born into it. She didn’t want me to grow up as the daughter of someone from Newark.”

So Teri micromanaged Brooke’s career, getting her cast as a 12-year-old prostitute in Pretty Baby and in a notoriously provocative Calvin Klein jeans ad. “She didn’t want me to know the insecurity of being rejected. It plagued her. She wanted me not to forget where I came from, and how she was a street fighter. I always felt loved, but it’s never enough. You’re like a hamster on a wheel.”

Now, with Teri in declining health, it’s her 43-year-old daughter’s turn to look after her. “There’s no martyrdom. It’s a pain in the ass, but it has to be done. It’s my … burden? Blessing? I don’t know. Somewhere, karmically, there’s a reason for this.”

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