Basic Instinct made her one of Hollywood’s most iconic femme fatales, but Sharon Stone has always been much more than that. At 62, the still gorgeous actress is getting ready to reveal all her life’s complexities and secrets in her memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice, due in late 2020. In it, Sharon talks about her difficult relationship with her mother, her groundbreaking roles, her greatest loves and the 2001 near-death experience that changed everything.
“Once you’ve had your life burn down, it takes time to be a phoenix,” she says. “You have to stand in stillness long enough … and love and forgive yourself.” Growing up in rural Meadville, Pennsylvania, Sharon never fit in. “I was a very intense, weird kid,” she confides. “I had adult questions and wanted adult answers. My mother would just look at me, horrified. She had no idea what to do with me as a child.”
Sharon found a way out. She left home for college and then dropped out of school to model. “I was always uncomfortable,” admits the star, who was not as tall or thin as the other girls. In the 1980s she quit modeling to pursue acting, playing mostly forgettable roles until 1992’s Basic Instinct. “Our energy together was strong,” she admits of her connection with costar Michael Douglas. “It was a primal thing.”
Basic Instinct became a sensation but success put Sharon’s private life under a microscope. She was linked to a list of the early 1990s’ most eligible bachelors, including David Duchovny, Dwight Yoakam and John F. Kennedy Jr.
A coproducer of her 1993 film Sliver left his new wife for Sharon, causing a scandal. “Sudden fame of this enormity is scary,” she said at the time. “You feel invaded.” By 1998, she’d had enough. Sharon moved to San Francisco to marry newspaper executive Phil Bronstein after a whirlwind nine-month courtship. After she suffered two miscarriages, the couple adopted a son, Roan, in 2000.
“I thought, ‘This is such a godsend. This is so right,’ ” she recalls. Sharon’s life took a grave turn 15 months later when she suffered a severe stroke and brain hemorrhage. “I came out of the hospital with short- and long-term memory loss,” says the actress, whose marriage fell apart in the aftermath. Sharon moved back to LA to rebuild her life and adopted two more sons, Laird in 2005 and Quinn in 2006.
“It was my period of biggest change,” she admits. “I was a mom with three beautiful little boys…and I was in custody court constantly over my oldest child.” In 2008, Bronstein, Sharon’s ex-husband, was granted primary physical custody of Roan. “I was just broken,” she recalls. Slowly, she continued to move forward. “I’ve made humanitarian causes and my children much more my priority than the Hollywood scene,” says Sharon, who adds that writing her memoir helped her heal and learn to co-parent with Roan’s father.
“You have to get over those emotions and be a good mother.” Telling her story also brought Sharon closer to her own mom. “She thought I didn’t like her. I thought she was mean and unloving,” Sharon says. “We lay in bed together and I read it to her, and we were both crying. She’s so proud of me and so grateful I told her.”
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