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Sharon Stone Talks to Katie About Finally Getting to Control Her Narrative

She revisits the moments in her career that have shaped and changed her.

In her new memoir, Sharon Stone unpacks a lifetime of trauma. She writes about being sexually abused by her grandfather, a gruesome neck injury she suffered as a teenager, navigating an industry rife with misogyny, and the stroke that nearly killed her in 2001. But writing and publishing her book, The Beauty of Living Twice, Stone said in this episode of Next Question With Katie Couric, has been a healing experience. 

“Writing this book and coming fully into transparency is for me, like the greatest thing that ever happened,” Stone said.

She opened up about the intense scrutiny she faced as her star rose in Hollywood. There was the pressure to present herself in public like the femme fatales she became famous for playing in films like Basic Instinct and Casino, even though the actress describes herself as exceedingly shy. 

And then there was the constant policing of women’s bodies that made the mere act of raising her arms on film, showing her “naked armpits” a potential scandal, Stone said. There were unwritten rules that dictated how women should even sit (with your legs crossed at the ankle, never with your ankle over your knee, Stone recalled). 

“That’s why I was so rattled, that all of a sudden we’d seen up my skirt,” Stone said, discussing the leg-crossing scene in Basic Instinct. She writes in her memoir that it was shot without her knowledge, and she later slapped the director across the face when she saw it, but consented to it later by not taking legal action. 

“There were all kinds of things while I was coming up as an actress that you could and couldn’t do as a woman on film,” she says. 

Being able to tell her own story, when for years she felt she had no control over her own public image, felt freeing.

And Stone says she’s been awestruck by the response. Choking up, Stone said: “People haven’t always been particularly nice to me. Traditionally, people have always been rather cool to me…as opposed to being warm and embracing of me. This is quite new. It’s so wonderful.”

Listen to this episode of Next Question With Katie Couric to hear Stone discuss all this and more.