“How the f–k did I get here?” pondered Demi Moore at an intimate gathering organized by Harper’s Bazaar and Salvatore Ferragamo Tuesday night to fete her highly publicized tell-all memoir “Inside Out.”
Despite what it may sound like, the actress, who looked sleek in a monochrome Ferragamo ensemble and much younger than her 56 years, wasn’t asking her assistant if they had taken the E train, a yellow cab or an Uber to Spring Place in TriBeCa. She was in fact explaining to the evening’s host, Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey, why she decided to pen the tome in the first place.
The fashion-heavy audience, which included Donna Karan, Alina Cho and Paul Andrew, had no doubt read the many, many excerpts and news stories about the drugs, alcohol and threesomes, but not a lot about why she decided to divulge so much personal and sensitive information.
The opportunity first arose around nine years ago when Moore was still married to Ashton Kutcher, but when she sat down to start writing, she felt “uncomfortable” and realized she was only doing so because she thought she should. Then when she tried again, her life “exploded” — a reference to her breaking her sobriety after two decades, her divorce from Kutcher and her estrangement for a time from her three daughters, two of whom sat front row cheering on their mother on Tuesday night.
Two years ago, when Moore had once again curbed her addictions and was six years sober, publisher HarperCollins knocked on the door again. This time, though, it was made clear that it would be their final offer, so she decided to take the plunge.
“I just thought I can’t not do it,” said Moore, although she admitted that the prospect was terrifying and left her feeling more vulnerable than at any other point in her life.
It turned out, though, to be quite the cathartic experience, helping Moore make sense of how her life had developed the way that it did.
The short version is that having grown up in chaotic circumstances with an alcoholic mother who was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she was quickly catapulted into a different world when her teenage acting career took off, only to be caught in the trappings of fame. For her, that was the eighth of an ounce of cocaine she was taking every two days.
After seeking treatment for her addictions with the encouragement of “St. Elmo’s Fire” director Joel Schumacher, she later married Bruce Willis, the father of her three daughters, and went on to become the highest paid female movie star, earning $12.5 million for her role in “Striptease.”
Following her divorce from Willis and panning by critics of “G.I. Jane” and “Striptease,” she later relocated from Los Angeles to Hailey, Idaho, to raise her three daughters out of the spotlight.
But then came Kutcher, her devastating sobriety slip-up and subsequent recovery, all of which were heavily publicized in the run-up to the release of the memoir.
“The question that kept coming back to me was how did I get here? How did I get here from where I started to the life I’ve lived, the people I met, the places I’ve gone? It just didn’t add up. On paper, it made zero sense,” she told Bailey.
“And then the other part of the question was that I had done so much work and my life sort of exploded and I thought how the f–k did I get here? Really that, too, didn’t add up. Everything that I had put myself into was just crumbling.…So that really gave me a shape of how to share this part of my story because it’s a memoir, not an autobiography,” she added.
Moore, who has now been sober for eight years, hopes that it might also inspire other people. “My hope was always that in sharing my story in that it might in some way be your story, too.”
As for what the future holds for her, she won’t rule out a fourth marriage, but believes the relationship she has with herself is the most important.
“I never like to say never because I think that’s the set up for being made to be wrong but I don’t feel a need to. I feel like, most importantly, this time has been about being in a relationship with myself and that relationship with myself needing to be whole and complete before I could really open to someone else,” she said.
“I hope that there is a partner in my future when it’s the right time. I think we’re a communal species — we’re not supposed to be alone — although I’ve gotten very comfortable alone — me and my seven dogs,” she said. “My aunt gave me a pillow that says ‘I sleep with dogs’ and I do, but maybe I can make a little room in the king-size bed.”
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