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Demi Moore Looks At Life 'Inside Out' In New Memoir

"Inside Out - A Memoir" by Demi Moore. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
"Inside Out - A Memoir" by Demi Moore. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

In her new memoir, “ Inside Out,” actress Demi Moore lifts the veil on her highly scrutinized life — and the parts of her that even the magnifying glass of fame never fully illuminated. 

Known for her roles as a member of the Brat Pack in 1985’s “St. Elmo’s Fire,” beside the specter of Patrick Swayze in “Ghost,” and as the buzzcutted and buff G.I. Jane, Moore was always a favorite of the tabloids. Her marriages to actors Bruce Willis and the much-younger Ashton Kutcher were constantly under a microscope. And no one could ever forget her posing naked and pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair. 

But underneath her public image, Moore was dealing with episodes of drug addiction, body shaming and trauma from being raped when she was a teenager. Moore says her tumultuous childhood with teenage parents shaped the course of her life and how she viewed herself. 

“The thing you always have to keep the perspective of is you know what your baseline is, so you can step back and look at it and go, ‘Wow that would be terrifying,’ ” Moore says. “But if it’s what you know, it’s all you know.”

No matter how beloved or accomplished Moore became, deep down she always felt “unworthy.” She says coping with that feeling is something she struggles with today. 

“What I do know now and a lot of where I’m putting my focus is in really recognizing the judgments that I hold against myself,” Moore says. “It’s not easy learning to love oneself.”

Interview Highlights 

On meeting Nastassja Kinski and realizing she wanted to be like her  

“We had so much that was similar, but yet I felt this huge divide because I was watching someone who was so self-possessed. She had a comfort with her sexuality and her body in a way that was absolutely foreign to me. And it just, from where I was sitting, seemed to be more free and more, I would say, just more comfortable.”

On getting sober at 21 when she was cast in “St. Elmo’s Fire” 

“If I had needed to do it just for myself, I didn’t value myself enough. But the fact that they stood by me, still allowed me to step in to do the film was truly divine intervention that gave me something that meant more to me, which was to do the film, and allowed me to start to begin to find some value for myself.”

On being raped as a teenager

“Up until maybe 15 years ago, maybe not even that long, I wasn’t even able to identify it as rape. I just assumed it was my fault and one of those things that I did wrong. 

“And I think my way of dealing with it was just to forge ahead and know that I better create something for myself because I couldn’t trust anything anywhere else. But as it relates to men, yeah it would be impossible for it not to be a filter through which everything that occurred for me was affected.”

On her relationship with Ashton Kutcher 

“There can be real areas of emotional stunting that occur. I started having a family at 25, and so most of those early years were already focused on being extremely responsible. And in a way, when I met Ashton, I was in a place where things were so stable and grounded, so I could actually open up to the idea of something that you usually have at a younger point in your life.

“I had an opportunity to play and explore. And I really want to clarify that it wasn’t about trying to be young. It has to do with something that was missed because when I was in my early 20s, the level of survival that I was still living in was extremely high. 

“The truth is, I disappointed myself. I certainly would have preferred it went in a different way. But somebody can’t do anything to you that you don’t or haven’t already opened the door to having done to yourself.”

On her relationship with her kids 

“Everything I do is knowing that what I do impacts my children and how I feel about myself dictates how they feel about themselves. So I have a huge motivating drive to really unearth anything that is a block or limitation that I call a misunderstanding or a misidentification that’s existed in my life, you know, that I’m unworthy. 

“And in the same way, recognizing that I, at a certain point, distanced myself from my mother and in that distancing, lost my compassion for her. And when I lost that, how could I expect my children to hold compassion for me, when I’m in a weak or low place, when I lost it for my own mother?”


Emiko Tamagawa produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Kathleen McKenna. Samantha Raphelson adapted it for the web.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.