REPORTER: I'VE BEEN FRIENDS WITH BROOKE'S MOM FOR YEARS
When Brooke Shields and her lawyer first revealed the details of her mother’s “dementia,” I was shocked and upset at the tragic news. In the 10 years I’ve known Teri Shields, I’ve found her to be more in control of her faculties – and certainly more outspoken – than most young people I know.
When I first interviewed Teri in 1999, I didn't expect to become her friend. She was 65 at the time, and she'd agreed to talk to me about her ongoing battle with alcoholism.
"I knew I needed help last year (1998) after I passed out in a New York City department store," Teri confessed to me. "I was so sick, I couldn't remember."
Her brutal honesty and heartfelt attitude endeared me to this lovely woman. She was not the tough divorcee often described in press reports. After our first meeting, I spent many afternoons with Teri in her comfortable Haworth, N.J., home, which is near my own.
We watched TV (Dr. Phil was a favorite) and chatted endlessly about her love of movies. It was an unconventional relationship over the years between the mother of a world-famous movie star and a freelance tabloid reporter, but I always treated Teri with the same warmth, kindness and respect that I do my own mother, who is 82.Most of our wonderful afternoons together never resulted in a story, but one thing remained constant:
Teri was always clear to me how much she loved Brooke, Teri would repeatedly tell me how much she loved her daughter and her grandchildren unconditionally.
She often showed me her "pride and joy" - a tattered scrapbook she lovingly filled over the years with pictures and stories about Brooke, many of them clipped from The ENQUIRER.
One day, as a present, Teri gave me a gorgeous personal photo of Brooke. She told me it was taken by a famous fashion photographer, Francisco Scavullo, and called it "one of her all-time favorite" pictures.
"I want you to have it, Bob," she said. Another time, she gave me a couple of ties that she had originally intended to give as a gift to her son-in-law Chris Henchy.
Maybe not everyone was pleased with my relationship with Teri over the years, but, I wish only the best health for my friend.
She is truly a special woman.