Shields was born in New York City. Her parents, Frank Shields and Teri, divorced several months after she was born. Her father's family was very social and had Italian and French roots and relations to nobility. Her paternal grandmother was the Italian princess Donna Marina Torlonia. Shields was raised as a Catholic. She has one stepbrother, one stepsister and three half-sisters.
When Brooke was five days old, her mother openly stated she wanted her to have a career in show business, "She's the most beautiful child and I'm going to help her with her career."
Shields adopted her middle name, "Camille," for her Confirmation at the age of 10. During her high school years, Shields resided in Haworth, New Jersey.
When she was 12 years old, Shields played a child prostitute her age. Eileen Ford, founder of the Ford Modeling Agency, said of Brooke Shields: "...She is a professional child and unique. She looks like an adult and thinks like one." Shields with Princeton University Bandfor taping of Sally Jesse Raphael's Show (Feb 1991)
She attended the all-female Lenox School until eighth grade, before graduating from The Dwight-Englewood School of Englewood, New Jersey in 1983.
Shields moved into the dorms of Princeton University to pursue her bachelor's degree in French literature, graduating in June 1987. While attending Princeton, she spoke openly about her sexuality and virginity. Shields was a member of the Princeton Triangle Club and the Cap and Gown Club. Her autobiography, On Your Own, was published in 1985. Her 1987 senior thesis was titled "The Initiation: From Innocence to Experience: The Pre-Adolescent/Adolescent Journey in the Films of Louis Malle, Pretty Baby and Lacombe Lucien."
In the op-ed page of The New York Times, her school records were made available shortly after the university graduation. The criticism emphasized that Shields did not take any courses in history, mathematics, economics, world literature or science with laboratory experience.
Shields began her career as a model in 1966, at the age of 11 months. Her first job was for Ivory Soap, shot by Francesco Scavullo. She continued as a successful child model with model agent Eileen Ford, who, in her Lifetime Network biography, stated that she started her children's division just for Shields.
In early 1980, the 14-year-old Shields was the youngest fashion model ever to appear on the cover of the top fashion publication Vogue magazine. Later that same year, Shields appeared in controversial print and TV ads for Calvin Klein jeans. The TV ad included her saying the famous tagline, "You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing."[ Brooke Shields ads would help catapult Klein's career to super-designer status.
From 1981 to 1983, Brooke Shields, her mother, photographer Gary Gross, Playboy Press and the New York City Courts were involved in litigation over the rights to some photographs her mother had signed away to the photographer (when dealing with models who are also minors, a parent or legal guardian must sign such a release form while other agreements are subject to negotiation) which were originally intended to appear in a book titled Sugar and Spice to be published by Playboy Press. The courts ruled in favor of the photographer but due to a strange twist in New York law, it would have been otherwise had Brooke Shields been considered a child "performer" rather than a model.
By the age of 16, Shields had become one of the most recognizable faces in the world, because of her dual career as a provocative fashion model and controversial child actress. TIME magazine reported, in its February 9, 1981 cover story, that her day rate as a model was $10,000. In 1983, Shields appeared on the cover of the September issue of Paris Vogue, the October and November issues of AmericanVogue and the December edition of Italian Vogue. During that period Shields became a regular at New York City's nightclub Studio 54.
In 2009, a naked picture of Brooke Shields, taken when she was 10, and included in a work by Richard Prince, Spiritual America, created a row. It was removed from an exhibition at the Tate Modern after a warning from the police.
Shields' first major film role was her 1978 appearance in Louis Malle's Pretty Baby, a movie in which she played a child who lived in a brothel (and in which there were numerous nude scenes). Because she was only 12 when the film was released, and possibly 11 when it was filmed, questions were raised about child pornography. This was followed by a slightly less controversial and less notable film,Wanda Nevada (1979). Brooke Shields at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. After two decades of movies, her best known films are still arguably The Blue Lagoon (1980), which included a number of nude scenes between teenage lovers on a tropical island (Shields later testified before a U.S. Congressional inquiry that older body doubles were used in some of them), and Endless Love (1981). The MPAA initially rated Endless Love with a X rating. However, the film was re-edited to earn a R rating. She won the People's Choice Award in the category of Favorite Young Performer in four consecutive years from 1981 to 1984. In 1998, she played lesbian Lily in The Misadventures of Margaret.
In 2001, Lifetime aired the film What Makes a Family, starring Brooke Shields and Cherry Jones in a true-to-life story of two married lesbian mothers and a baby versus the adoption laws of Florida.
Shields has appeared in a number of television shows. In 1980, she was the youngest guest star to ever appear on The Muppet Show, in which she and the Muppets put on their own version of Alice In Wonderland. She was also the youngest person to host ABC's Fridays, a Saturday Night Live-like sketch comedy show, in 1981. In one episode of the popular comedy sitcom Friends, Shields played Joey's stalker. This role led directly to her being cast in the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan, in which she starred from 1996 until 2000, and which earned a People's Choice Award in the category of Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series for her, in 1997, and two Golden Globe nominations.
In the early 1980s, she starred in the USPHS PSA sponsored by the American Lung Association as an initiative that VIPs should become examples and advocates of non-smoking.
Shields made a couple of guest appearances on That '70s Show. She played Pam Burkhart, Jackie's (Mila Kunis) mother, who later was briefly involved with Donna's (Laura Prepon) father (played by Don Stark). Shields left That '70s Show when her character was written out. Shields recorded the narration for the Sony/BMG recording of The Runaway Bunny, a Concerto for Violin, Orchestra and Reader, by Glen Roven. It was performed by the Royal Philharmonic and Ittai Shapira.
In the late 2000s, Shields guest-starred on shows like FX's Nip/Tuck and CBS' Two and a Half Men. In 2005, Shields appeared in a season two episode of HBO's Entourage, entitled "Blue Balls Lagoon." In 2007, she made a guest appearance on Disney's Hannah Montana playing Susan Stewart, Miley and Jackson's mother, who died in 2004. In 2008, she returned in the primetime drama Lipstick Jungle. The series ended a year later.
In 2010, Shields guest-starred in the situation comedy, The Middle, as the next-door nemesis of Patricia Heaton's character, Frankie. She also appeared as a featured celebrity in NBC's genealogy documentary reality series, Who Do You Think You Are?, where it was revealed that, through her father's ancestry, she is the first cousin (many generations removed) of King Louis XIV of France, and thus a descendant of both Saint Louis and Henry IV of France.
Shields has appeared in many on-stage productions, mostly musical revivals including Grease, Cabaret, Wonderful Town and Chicago on Broadway; she also performed in Chicago in London's West End.
In the June 2009 issue of Health magazine, Shields announced she lost her virginity at age 22. She said the incident would have occurred earlier if she had a better self-image.
In the mid 1980s while at Princeton, Shields dated classmate Dean Cain. Shields has also been linked to John F. Kennedy Jr, actor Liam Neeson and singer George Michael. She was also a favorite date of Prince Naruhito of Japan. After a romantic interlude with John Travolta, the 16 year-old Brooke Shields dated 18 year-old Mohammed, son of the arms-dealer billionaire Adnan Khashoggi, in Cannes where they first met. At 18, Brooke Shields met Dodi Fayed and they became friends. Brooke was 24 years old when she spent the evening with Dodi Fayed in Paris to celebrate his 33rd birthday.
By the 1990s, Brooke Shields would be exhibiting her physique as an extension of her womanhood, promoting physical fitness as an extension of femininity, demonstrating that femininity and athletics are consistent rather than incongruous. Although she was not the only one, Shields had what was required to promote woman athletics.
Shields has been married twice. From April 19, 1997 to April 9, 1999, Shields was married to professional tennis player Andre Agassi; the couple had been together since 1993. On April 4, 2001, she married television writer Chris Henchy after they met in 1999 through mutual friends. The couple have two daughters: Rowan Frances (born May 15, 2003) and Grier Hammond (born April 18, 2006).
In the spring of 2005, Shields spoke to magazines (such as Guideposts) and appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to publicize her battle with postpartum depression, an experience that included depression, thoughts of suicide, an inability to respond to her baby's needs and delayed maternal bonding. The illness may have been triggered by a traumatic childbirth, the death of her father three weeks earlier, stress from in vitro fertilization, a miscarriage and a family history of depression, as well as the hormones and life changes which were brought on by childbirth. Her book, Down Came the Rain, discusses her experience, contributing to a greater public awareness of postpartum depression.
In May 2005, Tom Cruise, a Scientologist whose beliefs frown upon psychiatry, condemned Shields, both personally and professionally, particularly for both using and speaking in favor of the antidepressant drug Paxil. As Cruise said, "Here is a woman and I care about Brooke Shields, because I think she is an incredibly talented woman, you look at [and think], where has her career gone?" Shields responded that Cruise's statements about anti-depressants were "irresponsible" and "dangerous." She said that he should "stick to fighting aliens" (a reference to Cruise's starring role in War of the Worlds as well as some of the more exotic aspects of Scientology doctrine and teachings), "and let mothers decide the best way to treat postpartum depression." The actress responded to a further attack by Cruise in an essay "War of Words" published in The New York Times on July 1, 2005, in which she made an individual case for the medication and said, "In a strange way, it was comforting to me when my obstetrician told me that my feelings of extreme despair and my suicidal thoughts were directly tied to a biochemical shift in my body. Once we admit that postpartum is a serious medical condition, then the treatment becomes more available and socially acceptable. With a doctor's care, I have since tapered off the medication but, without it, I wouldn't have become the loving parent I am today." On August 31, 2006, according to USAToday.com, Cruise privately apologized to Shields for the incident and Shields accepted and said that it was "heartfelt." Three months later, she and her husband attended the wedding of Cruise and Katie Holmes, in November, 2006.
Shields is a spokeswoman for Tupperware's Chain of Confidence SMART Girls campaign, a program that teaches girls to nurture their mental and physical well-being.
Relationship with Michael Jackson
Shields spoke at the memorial service for Michael Jackson on July 7, 2009 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, before a television audience of more than one billion people. Shields stated in that speech that she first met Michael when she was 13 years old, and the two instantly became friends. Shields said: Thinking back to when we met and the many times that we spent together and whenever we were out together, there would be a caption of some kind, and the caption usually said something like 'an odd couple' or 'an unlikely pair,' but to us it was the most natural and easiest of friendships... Michael always knew he could count on me to support him or be his date and that we would have fun no matter where we were. We had a bond... Both of us needed to be adults very early, but when we were together, we were two little kids having fun. In her eulogy speech, she also shared a number of anecdotes, including an occasion in which she was his date for one of Elizabeth Taylor's weddings, and the pair sneaked into Taylor's room to get the first look at her dress, only to discover Taylor asleep in the bed. Shields gave a tearful speech, referring to the many times she and Michael Jackson shared and briefly joked about his famous sequin glove. She also mentioned Jackson’s favorite song "Smile" by Charlie Chaplin which was later sung in the memorial service by Jermaine Jackson.
New York Times columnist Gail Collins noted that "it was a little peculiar hearing Brooke Shields’s weepy testimony about her deep friendship with Jackson given the fact that she told reporters that the last time she saw him was at Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth wedding in 1991." This however does not agree with Michael's statements during his 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey that he was dating Shields at the time, as well as with the fact that Shields was Michael Jackson's date to the 1993 Grammys. Shields has stated that Jackson asked her to marry him numerous times and to adopt a child together.
Jackson said of Shields in a conversation with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in 2001: That was one of the loves of my life. I think she loved me as much as I loved her, you know? We dated a lot. We, we went out a lot. Her pictures were all over my wall, my mirror, everything. And I went to the Academy Awards with Diana Ross and this girl walks up to me and says "Hi, I'm Brooke Shields." Then she goes "Are you going to the after-party?" I go, "Yeah." "Good, I'll see you at the party." I'm going "Oh my God, does she know she's all over my room?" So we go the after-party. She comes up to me she goes, "Will you dance with me?" I went, "Yes. I will dance with you." Man, we exchanged numbers and I was up all night, singing, spinning around my room, just so happy. It was great.