The most intriguing, or amusing, thing about Brooke Shields' new autobiography, There Was a Little Girl, may be how she and Andre Agassi fell in love: "By sending long heartfelt faxes when she was filming in South Africa." It speaks to just how long ago that happened—1993. Perhaps we should all fall for our significant others in such earnest and longing, if dated, ways. Absence can truly cause the heart to grow fonder.
Now, while Shields' book is unlikely to find its way onto the shelf of history's most celebrated memoirs, the self-described one-time "most celebrated virgin of our time" has finally told her side of a roller-coaster relationship many in the entertainment and tennis communities rooted for. (To note, Agassi's own tome, Open, is one of those best-ever autobiographies, notably co-authored by Pulitzer Prize winner J. R. Moehringer.)
Ultimately, Shields' book was catalyzed by the death of Teri, her "momager" of many years, in 2012. That was related to dementia's complications. But Shields seems a woman unleashed now in telling of her many flings and friendships, which range from chaste times with George Michael and Michael Jackson to dalliances with Liam Neeson and John F. Kennedy Jr. (One truly forgets over time just how many famous paramours Shields has taken to.) Agassi should feel special, probably, in that—after all the two went through—she reserves some very kind words for him, despite his lies to her about his crystal-meth addiction and other troubles:
"He is a devoted person, sweet and good, but he had this demon, this affliction. But the other side, and what makes this so hard, is the way he welcomed me and my mother and anybody I loved. He is a really good human being."
"The whole relationship with him was so necessary. He gave me my first taste of freedom from my mom. He swept me away. You'd say something and it would happen. There would be a plane or if I said, 'I can't believe I have termites,' within 24 hours, the house would be tented."
About her then-husband Agassi's revelation to her that he was addicted to crystal meth, Shields wrote:
"I was so unbelievably clueless. To this day, I think to myself 'My God, Brooke. All you've seen in your life and you couldn't pick this up?' But if you watch these athletes play, they play five, six, seven hours at the highest level and they keep going and going and the regimen surrounding them is so intense that my justification was, I guess you need to blow off steam when you can."
Shields and Agassi understood each other, in part, because of their similarly controlled upbringings. Emmanuel "Mike" Agassi, Andre's father, and Teri Shields each raised their children to be stars. After her mother's death, Shields opted to house her ashes in a silver urn, one that stands out on her own home's living-room bar top, where "she could remain forever close to the two most important things in her life: me and booze."
Agassi and his now-wife Stefanie Graf haven't addressed Shields' words in her book about him and their fairly tempestuous marriage. And they may never do so, nobly private as they are. What's grand, at the end of it, about the Agassi-Shields relationship is that neither of them is throwing stones years later. Time does so much. So does new love.
If the saying "No day like today" is to be treasured, Agassi and Shields have done well to acknowledge the past without gazing too long in the rear-view mirror.
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