In a recent interview with Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, actress Sharon Stone revealed that she lost custody of her first child, Roan, due to her portrayal of Catherine Tramell in the 1992 thriller Basic Instinct. The film, which featured a memorable scene of Stone crossing and uncrossing her legs, became a cultural sensation and transformed Stone into a bona fide sex symbol. However, the repercussions of the role would have lasting effects on Stone’s personal life.
Stone explained to Maron that the controversy surrounding Basic Instinct’s explicit content and her role as a seductive and potentially dangerous character led to her ex-husband, newspaper editor Phil Bronstein, using the film against her in court. Bronstein filed for sole custody of Roan in 2000, citing concerns about Stone’s parenting due to her “nudity, explicit sexual conduct, and profanity” in the film. Stone’s custody battle would stretch on for years, with both sides presenting witnesses and evidence that painted each other in a negative light.
While the exact reasons for Stone’s loss of custody are not entirely clear, the actress has pointed to the impact of Basic Instinct on her public image as a factor. In the years after the film’s release, Stone became a frequent target of criticism and scrutiny from the media and public alike. Her perceived promiscuity and dangerousness onscreen translated to assumptions about her character offscreen, with some outlets portraying her as a neglectful and unfit mother. Stone expressed frustration with these perceptions in her interview with Maron, noting that her co-star Michael Douglas, who played a similarly provocative character, did not face the same level of backlash.
Stone’s case highlights the double standards that exist for women in Hollywood, particularly those who play sexually charged or provocative roles. Male actors who portray womanizers, murderers, and other morally questionable characters are often celebrated for their range and depth as performers. Meanwhile, female actors in similar roles may face consequences both professionally and personally, with their onscreen personas used against them in real life.
Stone’s experience also sheds light on the larger issue of custody battles, particularly those that involve high-profile individuals. These cases can be complex and emotionally charged, with children caught in the middle of conflicting interests and accusations. While the reasons for Stone’s loss of custody remain unclear, it is clear that her portrayal of Catherine Tramell played a role in her ex-husband’s decision to seek sole custody of their son.
Stone has since regained joint custody of Roan, who is now 20 years old. She went on to adopt two more children and has spoken publicly about the joys and challenges of motherhood. In her interview with Maron, she acknowledged that her experiences with custody battles and media scrutiny have made her a stronger and more empathetic person. She views her role in Basic Instinct as a significant moment in her career but also a painful reminder of the ways in which women are often judged harshly for their sexuality.
Overall, Sharon Stone’s revelation about losing custody of her son due to her role in Basic Instinct serves as a reminder of the enduring effects of sexism and double standards in Hollywood and beyond. While the film may have catapulted her to fame, it also led to personal and professional struggles that continue to shape her life today. It is up to us to recognize and challenge these unfair and limiting attitudes towards women in all areas of our society, including the entertainment industry.