Brooke Shields Admitted She “Beat” Herself Up “For A Long Time” Over The Bond Her Husband Formed With Their Newborn While She Had Postpartum Depression

Back in 2005, Tom Cruise infamously told Brooke that she was “dangerous” for spreading “irresponsible misinformation” when she first spoke out about her experience with postpartum depression.

Brooke Shields has candidly opened up about her experience with postpartum depression.

Brooke, now 57, is mom to 19-year-old Rowan Francis and 16-year-old Grier Hammond. After giving birth to Rowan in 2003, the actor experienced severe postpartum depression — something that she recounted in detail in her 2005 book, Down Came the Rain, and during a famous appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show that same year.

And now opening up further about her experience, Brooke sat down for an appearance on the WTF With Marc Maron podcast this Monday to discuss the sensitive subject.

Noting that she was “completely biochemically imbalanced” after giving birth, Brooke explained that she initially believed she could “fix” herself without external help. In fact, she said she was resistant to taking medication until her family and friends intervened.

“It was so bleak,” she said. “My mother-in-law called me and said I had dead eyes. I finally said OK to get everybody off my back.”

But Brooke went on to reveal that as soon as she started feeling slightly better, she stopped taking her prescribed medication — without consulting her doctor.

“I started just feeling more myself, so I went off [the medication] ... because clearly I was a doctor by that point,” she said with a laugh.

As a result, Brooke experienced a visual episode she described as "terrifying." She shared, "I thought I was going to drive my car into the wall on the 405. ... You see it. It has pictures. They rush, if you close your eyes, into your brain.”

Brooke explained that while she was in this state, her doctor stayed on the phone with her until she’d arrived home safely. "You’re going back on the medicine immediately," they told her afterward.

What’s more, Brooke touched on the guilt she felt when her postpartum depression made it difficult to immediately form a bond with her newborn.

Admitting that she “beat” herself up “for a long time,” Brooke noted that it was hard to see her husband, Chris Henchy, developing such a strong bond with baby Rowan while she was experiencing PPD.

Brooke discussed her experience with postpartum depression further in her new Hulu documentary, Pretty Baby. And notably, she touched on the extreme way that fellow actor Tom Cruise reacted to her comments about it when she first decided to speak out in the early 2000s.

Tom, who is famously a member of the Church of Scientology, appeared on the Today show shortly after Brooke’s book was published and called her “dangerous” for sharing “irresponsible misinformation.”

“There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance,” he said. “The thing that I’m saying about Brooke is that there’s misinformation. She doesn’t understand the history of psychiatry.”

“She doesn’t know what these drugs are, and for her to promote it is irresponsible,” he added.

Brooke responded by penning an op-ed piece for the New York Times, in which she wrote, “Tom should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decide what treatment options are best for them.”

“I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression,” she wrote.

Now reflecting on Tom’s remarks in her new Hulu documentary, Brooke described the whole thing as “ridiculous.”

“It was so ridiculous to me,” she said. “It’s not about the moral thing, or the right thing, or the good thing. It’s about who has more power.”

Tom eventually apologized to Brooke for his comments after being told by several doctors that he was misinformed, and she publicly accepted his apology.

Topics in this article

Skip to footer