After a difficult childhood marred by cases of alcoholism and suicide in the family, Demi Moore left behind her life in a New Mexico trailer park in pursuit of the bright lights of Tinseltown. Three decades and three husbands later, Moore’s name is known the world over, but her face is rarely seen anymore. So what happened?
She became a teen icon in the ’80s, and by the ’90s was the most sought after woman in Hollywood. Then a series of unfortunate career moves — The Scarlet Letter, anyone? — sent her in a bad direction from which she’s never bounced back. As far as her career in recent years, the space between Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003) and her brief stint on the Fox series Empire (2017 – 2018) is a veritable wasteland outside of the 2012 Miley Cyrus-led romantic comedy, LOL, which kind of says it all.
On the personal front, Moore’s had more than her share of drama: the Ashton Kutcher cheating allegations; her drug and alcohol addictions and alleged eating disorder; and even, shockingly, allegations against her of sexual assault.
She seems to have been on a downward spiral for years, which makes it kind of obvious as to why she’s become so reclusive, but let’s see if we can decipher the real reason we don’t hear from her anymore.
Going head-to-head with her tabloid headlines
Demi Moore has had a feisty relationship with the press right from the get-go. The actress has battled with the media over her public image on countless occasions over the course of her career, even during her early, more successful years. The stunning young starlet first came to the attention of audiences as a member of the so-called Brat Pack, starring in ’80s coming-of-age classics like St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night, though she always hated being labelled as a brat. "I find it embarrassing, hateful and demeaning," the actress complained at the time. "The man who wrote that seems jealous because we are young and talented, so he filled the article with lies. He implied we all hate each other."
A few good movies
Unlike her Brat Pack buddies, Demi Moore’s career continued to go from strength to strength as the ’90s rolled around, becoming one of the biggest stars in the world with her performance opposite the clay pot-molding spirit of Patrick Swayze in Ghost. The supernatural romance was a surprise box office smash, raking in over $500 million worldwide and going on to become the highest grossing film of 1990. Things took a turn for the worse at the midpoint of the decade, however.
The Scarlet Letter (1995) barely managed to claw back a fifth of its budget, Razzie favorite Striptease became Hollywood slang for box office bomb after a horrible performance in 1996, and G.I. Jane (for which Moore shaved her head) was a resounding disappointment domestically.
Things only got worse as the years ticked on, with 2010’s The Joneses representing rock bottom for the former star as far as theater receipts go — the film only managed an embarrassing $1,355 per screen average in its second weekend.
Overpaid and underperforming
It might seem hard to believe now, but at one point Demi Moore was Hollywood’s highest paid female. After the success of Ghost, the raven-haired actress negotiated an eye watering $12.5 million pay check for Striptease (a sum that, according to the U.S. inflation calculator, would be in the region of $19.5 million today) and when the film flopped hard, the general consensus was that Moore was not worth the money.
She didn’t see it that way, however, and neither did Ridley Scott, who signed off on an $11 million pay packet so she would star in 1997’s G.I Jane. That would be the last eight figure sum she would receive, as studios became wise to her salary demands. One Disney senior executive seemed to realize her bubble had burst even before G.I. Jane hit cinemas. "We don’t know what to do," he told Newsweek magazine (via Telegraph). "People just don’t want to see her. We would have to drag them kicking and screaming to see this movie."
It wasn’t long before Demi Moore’s A-list status went to her head and she started to gain a reputation as an unbearable diva behind the scenes. The media started calling her "Gimme Moore," highlighting the crazy and often ridiculous requests the actress was said to have been making of movie studios — she once asked for a private plane to transport her from her secluded Idaho home to New York City and then reportedly demanded that Sony swap it for a larger one so that she didn’t have to stack her luggage!
"I’m sure people thought I was a b***h," the actress admitted when quizzed about an on-set tantrum over a production assistant, "but all I did was strive for perfection."
‘The scalpel won’t make you happy.’
"The quickest route to power for an actress in Hollywood is to hook yourself up to someone who can put you in a good position, and make yourself a sex object." This was Demi Moore speaking to US magazine (via Google Books) as a young woman, but while that approach might have worked at the time, you can only be a sex symbol for so long. The older she got, the more desperately she tried to hang on to her good looks, reportedly turning to plastic surgeons for help. Various tabloid reports claimed the aging actress spent as much as $400,000 on a full body makeover that included collagen injections in her lips, porcelain caps on her teeth and liposuction on her stomach, thighs and bottom.
When asked about the sudden differences in her appearance, Moore flat-out denied she had ever gone under the knife, telling reporters in Paris (via Daily Mail) that she didn’t like "the idea of having an operation to hold up the aging process… the scalpel won’t make you happy." This was at odds with experts consulted by Radar Online, who concluded that Moore had undergone extensive surgery on her face alone.
Not ready for the grandma roles
After allegedly spending a small fortune on changing her appearance only to be told she still was no longer suitable for the strong, sexy roles she used to get, Demi Moore spoke out against ageism in Hollywood, blaming it for her relegation from the A-list.
When she hit 44, she opened up about how difficult it was to be a middle-aged woman in the film industry. "It’s been a challenging few years, being the age I am. Almost to the point where I felt like, well, they don’t know what to do with me. I am not 20. Not 30. There aren’t that many good roles for women over 40. A lot of them don’t have much substance, other than being someone’s mother or wife."
The animal fur fiasco
Demi Moore’s fading reputation took another bashing in 2009 when she was named and shamed by animal activist group PETA for the excessive amount of animal fur in her wardrobe. After a poll on their website named the actress the year’s Worst Dressed celeb in Tinsel Town, PETA told Access Hollywood, "She may be a cougar, but that’s not helping fur-loving Demi Moore in the eyes of animal lovers."
Moore’s then-husband Ashton Kutcher came in a close second in the vote, with the Butterfly Effect star also coming under heavy criticism from the organization after he was spotted "skulking around Sundance last month wearing a gigantic coat made of coyote fur."
When robbing the cradle goes wrong
Demi Moore has struggled to keep it together since her six-year marriage to Ashton Kutcher came crashing down amid allegations that her much younger (15 years, to be exact) husband had been cheating on her with women closer to his own age. The final straw came when 22-year-old part-time model Sara Leal spilled the beans about sleeping with Kutcher on his and Moore’s wedding anniversary (ouch!), prompting the actress to release a statement confirming their split. "As a woman, a mother and a wife there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life."
Drama with her daughters
Moving forward has proven difficult for Demi Moore, however, and family troubles have only added to her isolation in recent years. The actress relied heavily on the three daughters she had with ex Bruce Willis in the aftermath of her very public separation from Kutcher, though she was said to have been contacting them so regularly (and often in tears) that they reportedly considered taking out a restraining order against her.
"Rumer, Scout and Tallulah are seriously considering taking out a restraining order against Demi to stop her from contacting them," an insider told Radar Online. "They made it clear to her weeks ago that they do not want to talk to her right now but she is still trying to contact them. Demi has been calling them incessantly and emailing them, leaving them tearful messages and begging them to call her and the girls are sick of it."
Drugs are bad, mkay
Demi Moore’s first stint in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction came way back in 1996 when St. Elmo’s Fire director Joel Schumacher threatened to fire her from the teen movie if she didn’t get totally clean before the shoot began. She managed to get sober in time and the movie made her a star in the making, but unfortunately for the actress it wouldn’t be her last experience with substance abuse.
Her excessive drug taking supposedly drove a gap between her and Kutcher, with one source close to the couple revealing that "it was a sticking point for Ashton. He wanted her to take care of herself and get a hold of things, and she wouldn’t." Things only worsened when Kutcher was off the scene, and in 2012 she was rushed to hospital after she reportedly suffered a seizure when high on whip-it (laughing gas) and prescription pills.
Is she suffering from anorexia?
Demi Moore’s drug problems lead to a period of dramatic weight loss, and before long the fading star had been diagnosed with anorexia according to sources inside her camp. "She collapsed after having an epileptic seizure," a friend of the underweight actress exclusively revealed to Radar Online. "Demi is getting treated for anorexia as well as other issues that caused her seizure. She has not taken care of her health at all lately and has lost a ton of weight."
In the months leading up to her hospitalization, Daily Mail described her as "shockingly skinny" and raised concerns about her weight, which they claimed had dangerously dropped below 100 pounds.
She was tied to a tragic accident
Demi Moore was briefly back in the news in 2015, though for all the wrong reasons. In July of that year a 21-year-old man named Edenilson Steven Valle attended a party at Moore’s Beverly Hills home — where he drowned after falling into her swimming pool while intoxicated. The actress was away visiting family at the time of the tragic accident (she released a statement that said she was in "absolute shock" when she heard the news), though the fact that a wild party had led to a death on her premises only reinforced studio fears that she was a liability.
Valle’s family initially launched a lawsuit for unspecified damages against party host Lenny Hernandez for "serving alcohol at a party which was unsafe to host," and Moore herself was later dragged into the proceedings. Valle’s mom and dad Maria and Jorge claimed that Moore was culpable as there were no depth markers on her 10-feet-deep pool and she had rocks placed around its edges, which was an accident waiting to happen according to the deceased man’s grieving parents.
The actress is said to have fought the suit, insisting that her rock display was in plain sight and it was Valle’s own fault if he failed to notice them because he was drunk. It’s unclear how much money may have eventually changed hands, but court papers obtained by TMZ in January 2018 reveal that all parties came to an agreement and asked for the case to be dismissed.
Welcome to Demi’s dollhouse
Ashton Kutcher never mentioned it after they split, but while still married to Demi Moore he admitted that her obsessive hobby totally freaked him out. Moore is an avid collector of dolls and according to reports has between 2,000 and 3,000 in her bizarre horde — enough to warrant their very own house.
The former Punk’d presenter told Conan O’Brien (via Telegraph) that he was pretty sure the dolls had souls. "They’re always looking at you! We have some in the bedroom and that makes things just weird." Daily Star reported that the collection — which is reportedly insured for close to $2 million – used to give Kutcher nightmares and that he wanted his wife-at-the-time to open up a museum so he could get them out of their home.
The scarlet (box office) ledger
To say Demi Moore’s heyday is behind her is something of a drastic understatement. While her record with the critics has always been spotty, she still managed to win favor on a semi-regular basis back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, with films like Ghost (1990) and A Few Good Men (1992) earning Certified Fresh status on Rotten Tomatoes and No Small Affair (1984), About Last Night and One Crazy Summer (both 1986) scoring respectable percentages on the Tomatometer the previous decade.
Scroll up her profile page to her recent projects, however, and the love she used to receive on occasion is nowhere to be seen. In fact, of the last ten feature films scored by the website’s network of knowledgeable critics, eight ended up with scores of 55 percent or less, a record that isn’t exactly attractive to studios. Does that mean a comeback for Moore is impossible?
She failed to conquer Empire
Back in March 2017, Radar Online spoke exclusively with a source close to Demi Moore who revealed that the actress was plotting a huge Hollywood comeback on the back of her role in hit Fox show, Empire. "Demi is trying really hard to get back into the world of TV and movies right now," the insider said. "Aside from her new role on Empire next season, she is reading a lot of other scripts and is weighing her options. […] She knows that she needs to get back into the game to survive and has rehired her team of managers and agents to help her with another big break."
She moved in with daughter Rumer Willis (who plays smart-mouthed musician Tory Ash on the show) for the duration of her filming, though unfortunately for Moore, she wasn’t needed for long. Despite all the noise made by her camp in the run-up to her return, the Striptease star only had a six-episode arc on Empire, culminating in her character Claudia being arrested for kidnapping Lucious (Terrence Howard).
Of course, there’s always a chance that the showrunners might decide to bring her back at some stage, but judging from an interview with executive producer Craig Brewer, that seems highly unlikely. "We were joking that she and Lucious’ mother were sent off to the same insane asylum and are plotting their revenge," Brewer told TV Line. "But I believe Claudia is going away for a long time."
Banking on bikinis
Demi Moore is certainly no stranger to a bikini — in fact, this shot of her coming out of the water in a skimpy two-piece during 2003’s Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle is considered one of the most iconic of her career, helping her to re-establish herself as a Hollywood hottie at a time when her on-screen pursuits had gone a little stale. Now, Moore is banking on bikinis to once again help her get out of a funk, though this time she’s going to be selling them rather than wearing them. In March 2018, she made what WWD described as a "strategic investment" in Andie Swim, a company that makes swimsuits that have been designed by women.
"I was drawn to Andie’s approach, which puts women at the forefront," Moore explained. "Shopping for a swimsuit can be stressful and time-consuming for so many women, but Andie makes finding the perfect swimsuit an incredibly simple, easy and comfortable experience." The deal is apparently worth as much as $2 million, though Moore isn’t going into it alone. Savvy young businessman Jesse Horwitz (who made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017 after co-founding contact lens company Hubble Contacts) is also involved, which can only be good news for the actress.
Her charity work also keeps her busy
Thanks to the aforementioned fur coat fiasco, Demi Moore found herself in the dog house with top animal charity PETA, and while that had a negative impact on her public image, it shouldn’t distract from all the philanthropy she’s been engaged in since. The former Brat Pack beauty has put her name to numerous good causes over the years, backing everything from AIDS/HIV and cancer research to support for the homeless. Her biggest passion has always been the abolition of modern day slavery and human trafficking, however, and in 2018 she was honored for her efforts to keep young girls safe from such horrors.
Her non-profit organization Thorn (rebranded after the name DNA — as in Demi and Ashton — Foundation became a little awkward post-divorce) has joined forces with Visionary Women, who thanked Moore for her support during an event in Beverly Hills. It was Moore who wound up thanking them, however.
"I am so grateful and honored to be a part of their family, and to have Thorn under their umbrella of support," she told Entertainment Tonight in an exclusive interview. "It’s the collective that makes the difference, and it’s time for women to not fight, but just to unite."
She went on to explain that she became passionate about the rights of young women after having three daughters. "I hope through my actions and how I live, one creates a clearer path for them. And that it inspires them to be the beautiful, powerful, young women that they are."
Demi Moore’s call for women to unite is particularly timely considering what’s happening in Hollywood right now. But in an unexpected turn of events, the actress has been dragged into the sexual abuse scandal herself — and she’s on the wrong side of it. As the ramifications of prolific predator Harvey Weinstein‘s downfall continue to grip Tinseltown, more and more stars are being implicated. But nobody expected Moore’s name to be added to that list. Maybe we should have, however, as the evidence has actually been on YouTube for years.
In 1982, the staff of General Hospital (Moore got her big break on the long-running ABC soap opera) went out on the town to celebrate the fifteenth birthday of cast member Philip Tanzini. The bespectacled teen had a memorable evening, living out the fantasy of millions of 15-year-old boys growing up in the 1980s — Moore, who was aged 19 at the time, made out with him no less than three times.
Footage of the frivolities (shot by Entertainment Tonight) first found its way online in 2012 but has been largely ignored until recently. According to Digital Music News, calls for Moore to be added to the list of offenders have been growing, though Tanzini (who joked about the fact that the actress was married to Freddy Moore during the video) has declined to comment. He certainly didn’t seem to mind at the time, and it looks as though he wants to keep the incident in the past.
As far as we can tell, Moore hasn’t responded to the outcry. However, it wouldn’t surprise us if this was now one of the biggest reasons we no longer hear from her.