Coming-of-age classics like St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night made Demi Moore a household name in the 1980s. The New Mexico-native shot to fame as a member of the Brat Pack (a term she hated with a passion), becoming one of the group’s breakout stars. She was paid a huge sum of money to star in 1996’s Striptease, and showed dedication to her craft the following year when she shaved her head for the lead role in G.I. Jane. Unfortunately for Moore, neither movie was well received and her A-list status was swiftly revoked.
Moore moved away from Hollywood and has largely shunned the limelight in the years since. She’s booked the odd role here and there, but has become best known for her relationship dramas — the actress has been married three times. When she spoke to The New York Times in 2019, Moore admitted that her own infidelity led to the breakdown of her first marriage to musician, Freddy Moore. Her marriage to Bruce Willis gave Moore three daughters, though her relationship with them hasn’t always been perfect. The 15-year age gap between Moore and third husband Ashton Kutcher caused quite the stir, as did their divorce.
It’s been a long, hard road for Moore. She had a tough childhood, and adult life hasn’t exactly been a breeze. From relationship revelations to the truth about her health scare, let’s take a look at the times Demi Moore opened up about her private life.
Demi Moore was lied to about her biological father
Demi Moore’s mother gave birth to her when she was just 19 years old. Her biological father (a vending machine salesman from Texas who reportedly struggled with addiction) had already skipped on them at that point, though she didn’t know anything about that until much later. The actress didn’t find out that the man who raised her wasn’t her real dad until she was 15, and the revelation rocked her world. While speaking to The Guardian in 2007, Moore said that she would never keep such a huge secret from her own children: « If I didn’t step out of how hurtful that was, it would have been mind-twisting for me. »
The movie star also told the British newspaper that she often had to play the parent at home (« I took it all on, » she said), and things only got worse when her stepfather took his own life. Her mother hit the drink hard in an attempt to cope with the loss, but Moore didn’t let the experience break her. « You could either be trapped by what was going on around you, or you could find a way out, » the actress said. « I think that everything, even if it is scary or good, comes into our life to help elevate and expand us as human beings. »
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She stopped her mother from overdosing
Losing one parent to suicide is bad enough, but in Demi Moore’s case, it could have quite easily been two. According to The New York Times, Moore’s mother would make regular attempts on her life, and her stepdad would often seek her help in dealing with those attempts. When Moore spoke to Harper’s Bazaar for a cover story interview in 2019, she recalled a harrowing incident in which she had to save her mother from an overdose. « I remember […] using my fingers, the small fingers of a child, to dig the pills my mother had tried to swallow out of her mouth while my father held it open and told me what to do, » she said. « Something very deep inside me shifted then, and it never shifted back. My childhood was over. »
The pair reconciled later in life, but they didn’t get to spend as much time together as they would have liked. According to Fox News, Moore’s mother died of a brain tumor in New Mexico in 1998. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the actress — her marriage to Bruce Willis was falling apart when her mom fell ill, per People.
Moore felt pressured into doing drugs
While Demi Moore has become more open about her personal life in recent years, she’s always been something of a sharer. When she spoke to the Lawrence Journal-World back in 1985, the up-and-coming starlet revealed that she started messing around with drugs when she first arrived in Tinseltown. « I moved out of my mother’s house when I was 15, » Moore said. « I traveled a lot as a kid […] and I never felt I had any roots, any friends. So I became obsessed with the idea of being liked. »
According to Moore, she found the « sudden burst of fame » that General Hospital gave her very difficult to navigate. The actress played Jackie Templeton on the long-running daytime medical drama, which was her big break. However, she wasn’t used to being around Hollywood types, and so Moore did what she felt she had to do in order to be accepted. « I got involved with drugs because I was young and didn’t know how to become part of the crowd, » she confessed.
Her value was ‘tied into’ her body
Using her General Hospital exposure to book some movie gigs, Demi Moore appeared in 1984’s Blame It on Rio and 1986’s About Last Night – though those early roles weren’t exactly empowering as Moore was little more than eye candy. « When I was younger, I was obligated to be of service, » she told The New York Times in 2019. « I wouldn’t be loved if I wasn’t — if I didn’t give of myself. My value was tied into my body. » A decade after About Last Night came out, Moore was starring in a now infamous movie called Striptease, but this time she was taking her clothes off because she wanted to.
Moore later confessed to The Guardian that she’d always been « uncomfortable » with her body. She took on the role of FBI secretary-turned-stripper Erin Grant in Striptease, because she wanted to feel « female and seductive » for the first time. « It was difficult for me to do the dancing and the stripping, and the gain from it was different to what I would have imagined, » Moore said. « While the public perception was hyper-focused on what I was being paid for taking my clothes off, for me it was the intense focus of connecting with my body and myself in a sensual, sexual way, in a way that I’ve never felt before. »
Demi Moore was judged for wanting equal pay
Demi Moore was reportedly paid $12.5 million for Striptease. While that’s still a considerable sum for any actress, back in the mid-90s, a woman commanding this kind of fee was pretty much unheard of. However, Moore knew that she was a hot property and understandably wanted to be paid accordingly. The Striptease fee became a point of contention among critics, but the fact of the matter is her husband at the time (Bruce Willis, the middle one) was earning just as much per picture, if not more.
She’s considered a trailblazer today, but Moore has claimed that her equal pay demands got her the cold shoulder in Hollywood. « With that came a lot of negativity and a lot of judgment towards me, » she told The New York Times, though she added that she’s happy to have suffered through this if it « made a difference » in terms of gender equality in the long run. According to fellow actress Gwyneth Paltrow, it most definitely made a difference. « She became a movie star in this time where women didn’t naturally fit into the system, » Paltrow said of Moore. « She was really the first person who fought for pay equality and got it, and really suffered a backlash from it. We all certainly benefited from her. »
The failure of G.I. Jane crushed Moore
Unfortunately for Demi Moore, her performance in Striptease led to her being named worst actress at the Golden Raspberry Awards. When her next big movie failed to impress, the actress was forced to take a hard look at herself. « I took a lot of criticism, a lot of heat, » she told The Guardian. « [I] got hit really hard for both of these films, I think because there was a lot of money attached to it … Both these movies combined to give me some big lessons. I feel I betrayed women with Striptease and men with G.I. Jane. »
Moore played the first woman to go through Navy SEAL training in Ridley Scott’s G.I. Jane. To her credit, she did her research for the role, but the film was still called out for inaccuracies by military veterans. « The way they present training is bloody way off the mark, » retired SEAL Tom Hawkins told The Baltimore Sun. When Moore sat down with The New York Times in 2019, she was still sore about the harsh criticism that G.I. Jane received. « They weren’t going to let me win, » she said. « That, to the little girl in me — that was crushing. »