Every once in a while we need to tuck into a good old fashioned Hollywood autobiography just to remind ourselves that high and mighty celebrities aren’t as high and mighty as we might think. They often started out with the same challenges as the rest of us and fame and fortune don’t necessarily guarantee happiness. This was brought home in actress Demi Moore’s recent memoir Inside Out, where she tells all, or at least a good portion of ‘all’ to set the record straight about her personal life and career.
Demi Moore began life under the assumption she was someone she wasn’t. Her teenaged mother was already on her second marriage when Demi was born. The difficult man she thought was her father was in fact not her biological father. His drug and alcohol problems, combined with her mother’s manipulative, erratic and unpredictable behavior created an environment of domestic chaos for Demi and her younger brother, Morgan. Financial and emotional instability meant the family moved often, frequently without warning or explanation. By the time her parents separated, the damage was irreparable and resulted in Demi being poorly educated and lacking in love.
A chance meeting with the actress Nastassja Kinski at the pool in one of the apartment complexes where the family lived, introduced Demi to a world previously unknown and unconsidered as a possible future. The 17-year-old Kinski was involved with Roman Polanski at the time and the two teenaged girls struck up a friendship and compared stories of their lives. Moore consequently got involved in modeling and acting classes with results that are now well-documented.
By the time she met Bruce Willis, Moore was divorced and at the bottom of the acting ladder. They immediately clicked and she became caught up in the whirl of private jets, celebrity parties, and high living. Both wanted children and even though they had three daughters, Willis was never totally committed to the institution of marriage and was frequently unfaithful.
In a replay of life with her mother, Moore adapted by becoming independent, accommodating and self-sufficient. Same dance, different partner. After they split up, Moore fell in love with younger, seemingly more mature Ashton Kutcher. He embraced life as step-dad to Moore’s three daughters and in another replay of past experience, the less-famous Kutcher became accustomed to the higher lifestyle enjoyed by Moore. Until their marriage also broke down.
What struck me most in this book is Moore’s honesty in admitting to her mistakes. Pop psychologists would have all kinds of fun examining her actions, reactions and roads taken, but she clearly recognizes her own short-comings and their genesis. “I got here because I tried so hard to be different from my mom that took care of everyone but myself.” In both of her marriages, she bent her personality to accommodate her husband, at the expense of her own mental and physical health. Who among us hasn’t made this mistake in at least one relationship in our lifetime?
Demi Moore’s life has not been smooth sailing. Despite a successful career, falling in love twice and having three daughters, she’s had her share of heartache, disappointment, humiliation and pain. It’s particularly difficult when you have to live out life’s challenges and disappointments in the public eye. But she survived, learned and shared with us each step of the journey. The book is well-written and informative. I’d rate it 8 out of 10.
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