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No Apologies No Regrets

From the roles she plays to the cigars she smokes, actress Demi Moore makes her own choices.
Mervyn Rothstein
From the Print Edition:
Demi Moore, Autumn 96

(continued from page 4)

The children—Rumer Glenn, 8, Scout Larue, 5, and Tallulah Belle, 2—are "always with us," she says. "They have a wonderful home base, with the same school and the same friends, and yet they get to see amazing parts of the world that they would never experience if they were only in one place." Two of the children have already begun their own film careers. Tallulah had a brief role in The Scarlet Letter as Hester Prynne's child, and Rumer had a much bigger part in Striptease.

Moore says that the earliest memories of her own childhood include the recurring desire to be a movie star. "I can't remember not wanting to be one," she says. Her childhood, however, was not the happiest—and it is a subject on which she prefers not to dwell: "It's just that it's been done."

Demi Guynes was born on Nov. 11, 1962, in Roswell, New Mexico, to Danny and Virginia Guynes. Her parents were both teenagers. Her father sold newspaper advertising—when he could find work—and by the time Demi was 13 the family had lived in almost 30 towns. She was 15 when her parents divorced. Demi was, she once told McCall's, "lost"; she felt as if she "was nothing." Her father committed suicide when she was 18, and she is estranged from her mother.

She left high school at 16 and began pursuing a career as a model and actress. When Demi was 18, she met and briefly married a 30-year-old rock performer named Freddy Moore. She was now living in Los Angeles, and she tried a few acting classes, practicing with a young neighbor who was also trying to start a film career: Nastassja Kinski. She got her first big break at age 19, landing a role on the TV soap opera "General Hospital." Two years later, in 1984, she was cast as Michael Caine's sexually precocious daughter in Blame It on Rio. Next came her breakthrough role, as the wild, drug-addicted Jules in St. Elmo's Fire, a character who Hollywood insiders said bore more than a passing resemblance to the actress who portrayed her. But when the director threatened to throw her off the set, Moore entered a rehabilitation center—and put that unhappy part of her life behind her.

Moore has said that in those years she used alcohol and drugs "to hide my feelings." These days, looking back, she says that she has "no regrets."

"I think that everything that happens to us in our lives makes us who we are right now," she says. "So I wouldn't change one thing. Not one thing. It's not through ease that the things that are good come to you, that you learn how to excel. It's through the adversity. It's through overcoming obstacles that we grow, that we have perspective and appreciation. How do you understand gain if you don't understand loss?

"My parents gave me the best they could. They gave me a lot. And the things they didn't have spurred me to reach for what I didn't get. So I have no regrets in my life, and I don't blame anyone for anything, because I still have an opportunity to strive for the things that weren't."

The next morning. Sick bay. A long, narrow stucco building, pale yellow, a mile or so from the barracks. It's the real sick bay; the producers have persuaded the camp officials to move the ill soldiers to a tent set up nearby. The movie lights are shining through the windows, but this day the sun is shining, too.

Inside, on a white-sheeted bed, Demi Moore is seated, in white bra and dark pants. Another actress, in a dark blue uniform, a Navy nurse, examines Moore's blood-stained back—for the eighth time. The camera is rolling. The nurse touches a bruise. Moore winces. The nurse pauses, looks at Moore. "Why are you doing this?" she asks.

Moore hesitates. "Do you ask the men the same question?"

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