Brooke Shields Slams Barbara Walters, Says Questions She Asked of Her as a Teen Were ‘Criminal’ and ‘Not Journalism’

Brooke Shields has taken on Barbara Walters, slamming the veteran journalist for a series of suggestive questions posed to her as a teen. Walters conducted the interview on the heels of a series of evocative 1980s Calvin Klein ads Shields was the star of. In an interview with Dax Shepard for his Armchair Expert podcast, she reflected on the moment.

Brooke Shields and Barbara Walters together at an industry event in 1991.
Brooke Shields and Barbara Walters | Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Brooke Shields was just 15 when she starred in a series of suggestive Calvin Klein ads

Klein hired Shields to appear in a series of overtly sexy print and television ads in 1980. Famed photographer Richard Avedon shot these for Klein’s line of women’s jeans, a market he hoped to dominate. After photographing her for Vogue Magazine, Avedon chose Shields to star in the commercials, said the book Obsession: The Life and Times of Calvin Klein.

The commercials featured double entendres coupled with lengthy shots of Shields’ body in the clothing.

While many spots were innocent, including one called “Giggler,” where the teen laughed and said she was “going to split her Calvins.” Another called “Bookworm,” where she claimed, “reading is to the mind what Calvins are to the body,” it was one spot in particular that generated the most backlash.

In a spot formally called “Feminist II,” Shields uttered the now-classic line, “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

Barbara Walters asked questions that Brooke Shields felt were inappropriate for her age

Barbara Walters and Brooke Shields at an industry event.
Barbara Walters and Brooke Shields | L. Cohen/WireImage

During an interview with veteran journalist Barbara Walters, conducted in 1981, Shields appeared to be visibly uncomfortable after being questioned alongside her mother, Terri.

“What are your measurements?” Walters asked Shields in the sit-down before the actor stood up so viewers could see how tall she was.

“Would you be a mother like your mother?” Walters asked, followed by the question, “what about people who say, ‘she had no childhood’?”

“Do you have any secrets from your mother?” Walters also asked.

Sheilds looked back on the moment with disappointment and anger

Brooke Shields wears a sliver dress on the red carpet.
Brooke Shields | Angela Weiss/Getty Images

Now a confident woman, Shields reflected on the nature of the moment with Shepard.

She called the line of questioning “practically criminal.”

Shields said to Shepard of Walters line of questioning: “It’s not journalism.”

Shepard agreed with the actor and model, calling the interrogation of a 15-year-old girl in such a manner “maddening.”

While Walters was likely responding to the suggestive nature of the commercials, Shields maintained that at that young age, she was naive.

“I was naive and didn’t think anything of it,” Shields recalled in an interview for Vogue Magazine in October of this year.

“I didn’t think it had to do with underwear or thought it was sexual in nature. I’d say that about my sister, nobody could come between me and my sister.”

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