When moviegoers saw Sharon Stone’s character in Basic Instinct cross her legs and briefly expose her genitalia during a police interrogation, the infamous scene helped cement her as a ’90s sex symbol in what critics hailed as a star-making performance.
But the memorable moment, which Stone has long claimed not to have known about during the filming, had a more significant and painful impact on her personal life decades later, Stone said this week: It cost her the custody of her young son.
Sharon Stone with her son Roan Joseph Bronstein in July 2021.Credit:AP
In an interview on the Table for Two podcast, Stone claimed that judicial prejudice unfolded during her 2004 divorce case when the presiding judge asked her then-4-year-old son, Roan, if he knew that his mother starred in “sex movies”.
“I lost custody of my child,” Stone told host Bruce Bozzi on Tuesday (US time). “The judge asked my child, my tiny little boy, ‘Do you know your mother makes sex movies?’”
Stone, 64, said the scene was “weaponized against her” during the divorce case with ex-husband Phil Bronstein, who filed for divorce in 2003. The case focused over the custody of Roan, now 22, whom the couple had adopted in 2000. Years later, when Stone attempted to modify the custody of Roan after he had been in his father’s primary care, ABC News and other outlets reported how San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo ruled against the actress due to concerns over how Stone could “overreact” to the child’s health and questions surrounding whether it was right to uproot the son from his “consistent home”.
Yet, the actress railed against the presiding judge from 2004, who she did not name, and the effect it had on her. She claimed this week that it contributed to her cardiac problems that forced her to be hospitalised later that year.
Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone play a cop and killer in Basic Instinct.Credit:Getty
“People are walking around with no clothes on at all on regular TV now and you saw maybe like a 16th of a second of possible nudity of me – and I lost custody of my child,” she said on the podcast. “Are you kidding?”
She added, “It broke my heart. It literally broke my heart.”
It’s unclear who the judge was in the 2004 case and where in California the case took place. Massullo assumed office in 2006 and oversaw a separate custody hearing involving Stone and Bronstein in 2008, records show. A spokesperson for the actress did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Thursday.
Stone went from a relatively unheralded actress who was best known for her role in Total Recall to Hollywood’s A-list after she was cast in Basic Instinct as Catherine Tramell, a beautiful and brilliant crime novelist who is also a serial killer. While the film received mixed reviews, Stone was lauded by critics in a movie that Rolling Stone hailed as “a cinematic wet dream” and was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama at the 1993 Golden Globe Awards. The Washington Post celebrated Stone’s “unforgettable” performance in its review of the film and dubbed her “the coolest blonde since Kim Novak”.
Despite her success that came from the film, Stone said she was “humiliated” when some in attendance at the Golden Globes laughed at her when the nominees were announced at the ceremony. It was, in part, due to the film’s most infamous scene, which has been in question for years.
In her 2021 autobiography, The Beauty of Living Twice, Stone wrote that Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven and the crew asked her to remove her underwear during filming because “the white is reflecting the light”. She wrote that she was told how those watching the movie “can’t see anything,” which she later found out was not exactly the case.
“That was how I saw my vagina shot for the first time,” she wrote, according to the Guardian. Stone admitted that she ultimately decided keeping the scene showing her genitalia “was correct for the film and for the character”.
Verhoeven has long denied Stone’s claim that she didn’t know about the brief nudity, telling Variety in 2021 that Stone “knew exactly what we were doing”.
Sharon Stone at the premiere of the film Crimes of the Futurein May 2022.Credit:AP
The leg-crossing scene, however, would later affect her personal life more than 20 years later in a way she couldn’t have imagined, Stone said. She told Bozzi that the judge asking her son whether he knew she made “sex movies” reflected “this kind of abuse by the system – that I was considered what kind of parent I was, because I made that movie”.
After the judge in the 2004 divorce case ruled that Bronstein have primary custody of Roan, Stone attempted to modify the terms of custody years later so that her son could move from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where she lived. But Massullo denied Stone’s motion for several reasons, including how the actress allegedly “suggested that Roan should have Botox injections in his feet to resolve a problem he had with foot odour,” according to a filing in San Francisco County Superior Court. Stone’s attorneys denied she ever made the statement, telling ABC in 2008 that it was “a complete fabrication”.
Despite the custody dispute, Stone said on the podcast this week that she has maintained a relationship with Roan. Since the initial court case in 2004, Stone, who revealed last year on Instagram that she had nine children because of miscarriages, has since adopted two sons – Laird Vonne in 2005 and Quinn Kelly Stone.
The Washington Post
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