Brooke Shields Says She Was ‘Taken Advantage Of’ In Infamous Barbara Walters Interview
It’s been 41 years since famed TV interviewer Barbara Walters asked then-15-year-old Brooke Shields about her body measurements on national television. Shields, now 57, reflected on what she called “the fiasco” on Tuesday’s “The Drew Barrymore Show.”
“She asked me what my measurements were and asked me to stand up,” Shields told Barrymore, per Page Six. “And I stand up, and she was like comparing herself to this little girl. And I thought, ‘This isn’t right. I don’t understand what this is.’ But I just behaved and just smiled.”
Shields added she “felt so taken advantage of in so many ways” during the controversial 1981 sit-down. Then a child model, she had already become a movie star with roles in “Pretty Baby” and “The Blue Lagoon.” She was featured in racy Calvin Klein jeans advertising shortly before the chat.
Barrymore, a former child star who experienced similarly confusing situations, sympathized with Shields and reflected on her own uncomfortable interview with Walters — who asked Barrymore in 1997 about her childhood experiences as a rising Hollywood star.
“She was like, ‘Talk to me about the drugs and alcohol, talk to me about your mother, talk to me about bisexuality, talk to me about everything,’” Barrymore told Shields. “And I kept saying, ‘You know, Barbara, I’m really doing well,’ and it was five, six, seven times over.”
Barrymore added that she had nothing but respect for Walters and never thought of her “in a negative light” — which Shields said she “absolutely” agreed with.
Reps for Walters didn’t respond to Page Six’s request for comment.
Shields has talked about her bad feelings about the interview before. Last year, she called the session “practically criminal” and “not journalism” on Dax Shephard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast. She said she felt pulled in two directions, between a media that “couldn’t figure out” if she was “a sexual tigress” or a child “being taken advantage of.”
Shields hasn’t stopped forging ahead, however. She founded the “Beginning is Now” fashion line and community of women over 40, and recently modeled for Kim Kardashian’s Skims brand, alongside Juliette Lewis and Chelsea Handler.
“I felt like I was in a train wreck by the end of it, but it was an honor,” Shields told People of the bra advertising. “There was a human piece to it, that probably shocked me more than the fact that I had the guts at all to get in underwear after these few years.”