The notorious Teri Shields who didn’t raise so much as an eyebrow to the then 10-year-old Brooke Shields being photographed erotically has left this earth. The New York Times reports that the controversial mother, who in many ways initiated a much bigger dialogue regarding the sexualization of children, died following “a long illness related to dementia.” And despite what questionable parenting tactics Teri may have employed while navigating her own young daughter’s career, the massive attention she ultimately received for those choices woke a lot of people up to the pressures of children in Brooke’s line of work.
If you don’t know of Teri’s seal of approval on Pretty Baby, in which a 12-year-old played a prostitute complete with nude scene, then you’re no doubt familiar with that Calvin Klein jeans ad that came down the pike when Brooke was 15 years old.
The single mother began managing her daughter’s career when she was just 11 months old, and according to The New York Times, has accused those who yelled “child exploitation!” of jealousy. Her struggles with alcoholism were addressed nearly two decades ago when Brooke said:
“I grew up in an alcoholic household,” Brooke Shields told The New York Times in 1994. “I’m the caretaker who wants to make everything better, and you can just do that for so long, or so I’ve been told.”
Brooke refused to comment on her “strained” relationship with her mother for the Times’ obituary, leaving myself — and the Times apparently — digging through the archives to see what we could find. And what a complex bag there is. When picking through what legacy remains of Teri there are more than a few troubling windows into her relationship with Brooke. When discussing her daughter, her daughter’s career, or even her parenting, Teri remains quite iconic when understanding not only momagers but what some children in the entertainment industry are still confronted with.