The 57-year-old discussed her childhood and mother Teri Shields, who died in 2012, during a recent interview with The Sunday Times. During the conversation, she was asked about an upcoming clip in her new documentary, where she talked to her daughters, Rowan, 19, and Grier, 16, about her 1978 film Pretty Baby, in which she played a child prostitute.
“It’s child pornography!” Rowan said in the documentary, also called Pretty Baby, as reported by The Times. “Would you have let us [do that] at the age of 11?” to which Shields responded: “No.”
Speaking to The Times, Shields acknowledged how difficult it was for her to have this conversation with her daughters, given the way in which she was raised.
“That was hard for me, to not justify my mom to them, but when they asked me, I thought, ‘Oh God, I have to admit this,’” she added.
She went on to address her early career, including posing nude for Playboy at the age of 10, and how she couldn’t tell her daughters why her mother let her do these projects. “I mean, I could say, ‘Oh, it was the time back then,’ or ‘Oh, it was art,’” Shields said. “But I don’t know why she thought it was all right. I don’t know.”
She recalled how her mother has turned heads over the years, for her decision to let her child star in Pretty Baby. However, Shields has made it clear that she doesn’t feel any anger towards her.
“Everyone always wanted me to be angry with her, but anger was just too sad for me to take when I looked at how insecure she was,” she said.
Shields also acknowledged how she still feels like she wants to protect her mother, whose struggles with alcoholism were discussed in the actor’s 2014 book, There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me.
“It’s so innate when you’re an only child of a single mother,” she told The Times. “All you want to do is love your parent and keep them alive forever, and so I wanted to protect her. And by virtue of protecting her, I was justifying everything, and that solidified that bond between us.”
This isn’t the first time that Shields has opened up about her complex relationship with her parent and former manager. While visiting the Variety Studio in January, the former model spoke about her childhood, with Shields describing her mother’s issues with alcoholism before her death.
“You don’t ever recover from losing a parent,” The Blue Lagoon star said. “It’s a primal thing. You learn to put it in a different place in your heart. I also said goodbye to her every time she drank. She wasn’t present. I knew who she was capable of being because it was in there… I feel sad that she’s missing out on this. She’s probably looking down saying, ‘I didn’t get enough screen time.”