A Hollywood star recollects a traumatic past.
In an affecting debut memoir, Moore, now in her mid-50s, looks back on an undeniably successful acting career—her salary for Striptease made her the “highest-paid actress in Hollywood”—and a life marked by pain. Both parents were alcoholics. Her mother, eventually diagnosed as bipolar, repeatedly attempted suicide, and her father was a gambler whose debts kept the family on the move to outrun loan sharks and creditors. “It’s possible,” she writes, “that all the adapting I had to do primed me to become an actress: it was my job to portray whatever character I thought would be most popular in every new school, in every new town.” What also primed her was an overwhelming need to be valued. At 16, having left home, quit school, and moved in with a married guitarist nearly twice her age, Moore posed for nude photos for Japanese magazines. That photo shoot led to modeling assignments, giving her a first “tiny taste of success” and an “empowering” feeling of pride—but also constant self-scrutiny about her looks, weight, and attractiveness. Suffering from low self-esteem, she often escaped into drink. Just after turning 20, Moore landed her first real movie role in Blame It on Rio; on location in Brazil, she supplemented alcohol with so much cocaine that she “nearly burned a hole through my nostrils.” Soon she was an addict. Forced to enter rehab as a condition for a part in St. Elmo’s Fire, Moore now wonders if she would have survived without that intervention; even so, she later relapsed several times. The author makes much of her love for her three daughters, who witnessed her “gradual downward spiral” into substance abuse and who refused contact with her for three years. She recounts her marriages to Freddy Moore, Bruce Willis, and Ashton Kushner; offers fresh anecdotes about her experiences on the set of movies such as Ghost and G.I. Jane; and reflects on the demons that finally led her to seek therapy.
A forthright revelation of hard-won survival.