Content warning: This article contains mentions of sexual assault.
Following its premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in January, legendary model and actress Brooke Shields is the subject of a new two-part documentary series, Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields, that’s hitting Hulu on April 3.
Directed by Lana Wilson, known for her 2020 Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana, the forthcoming docuseries will examine Shields’ rise to fame, life in the public eye, her tumultuous relationship with her alcoholic mother and the sexual objectification she experienced as a child actor.
Ahead of its release, Shields sat down with People to explain what fans can expect to see in the doc — and opened up about the sexual assault she experienced about 30 years ago. She told the outlet she was assaulted by a powerful Hollywood executive and said she felt at the time that no one would believe her if she came forward. “People weren’t believing those stories back then,” she said. “I thought I would never work again.”
It happened when she was in her 20s after she had dinner with the executive to discuss a new project. He invited her to call herself a cab from his hotel room where he assaulted her. “I didn’t fight,” she recalls in the new series. “I just froze.”
“It’s taken me a long time to process it,” Shields told the publication. “I’m more angry now than I was able to be then. If you’re afraid, you’re rightfully so. They are scary situations. They don’t have to be violent to be scary.”
The new documentary draws its name from the actress’ breakout role in the 1978 film Pretty Baby, where she played a sex worker in 1917 New Orleans when she was just 12 years old. Shields got her start as a child advertising model and went on to star in other roles where she was over-sexualized at a young age, including 1980’s The Blue Lagoon. That same year, when she was just 15, Shields starred in the now-infamous Calvin Klein Jeans campaign where she recites the line, “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”
Shields explained that looking back on her life while working on the project made her realize, “It’s a miracle that I survived.”
Now, Shields has been married to television writer Chris Henchy for over 20 years and they share two daughters, Rowan Francis, 19, and Grier Hammond, 16. In 2021, Shields launched her wellness platform Beginning Is Now.
“I spent my life owing people things and doing whatever they wanted,” says Shields in the documentary’s teaser. “I finally asked myself, ‘What will I be if I don’t allow that anymore?’”
On the Sundance red carpet during the premiere, Shields said, “I would like for people to be able to find their story within this story.”
Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields will be available to stream on Hulu starting April 3.