Actor Brooke Shields started dating tennis champion Andre Agassi in 1993 then the pair were married from 1997 to 1999.
An incident Shields said happened while they were still dating apparently foreshadowed the kind of conflict that would lead to their divorce after only 2 years of marriage.
Shields recently told The New Yorker about Agassi's "petulant behavior" while she was filming an episode of Friends in 1996 in which she plays a stalker who follows Matt LeBlanc's character Joey Tribbiani. The cameo role was a major lifting off point in her acting career, leading to her own starring sitcom role in Suddenly Susan.
Erika believes that Joey, who is an actor in the show, is actually Dr. Drake Ramoray—the fictional Days of Our Lives character that he plays on TV.
At one point during the episode, Shields' character Erika licks Joey's fingers during a date in a nice restaurant—an apparent bid by the writers to make the character seem as outlandish as possible to the audience—but Agassi apparently couldn't handle his actor girlfriend doing that.
"In the scene, I’m supposed to lick Joey’s fingers, because they’re the hands of a genius, and I want to devour them, and I’m a nut."
LeBlanc was reportedly great about easing the tension of the awkward moment though.
"He was cute—he was, like, 'I've washed my hands and they’re all clean.' I was, like, 'I had a mint!'"
You can view the scene in question below, in case it's been a while since you watched Friends.
While both actors involved in the scene came to terms with the awkwardness of it, Agassi had not.
He was present for the filming and reportedly stormed off the soundstage.
"Andre was in the audience supporting me, and he stormed out. He said, 'Everybody’s making fun of me. You made a fool of me by that behavior.' I’m, like, 'It’s comedy! What is the matter with you?'"
After leaving the set, Agassi reportedly went home and smashed his trophies in anger.
Shields was shocked by his behavior.
"Smashed all his trophies. Who wins for that? That’s just—don’t!"
Shields described filming the scene and trying to pitch her character should cackle in a bit of an unhinged way.
"And I throw my head back in this cackle. We had done it in rehearsal, and they said, 'It’s too crazy. Don’t do it.' And I begged for it. 'It’s so funny. It just makes her crazier. And she’s pretty, so she needs to really be crazy.' And they were, like, 'No, no'."
That resistance changed during filming though and that cackle and her overall performance apparently impressed some important people.
"We did the first take, and it was fine. And then the second take, they scream, 'Shields! Put it back in!'"
"All of a sudden, the energy changed, and all these men in suits started coming into the studio. The next day, I was asked if I wanted to do my own television show."
Shields' sitcom Suddenly Susan began airing later that same year.
When asked if Agassi's behavior at the time was an example of a man co-opting her victory, Shields called his behavior "petulant."
"'Co-opted' gives him too much credit. It was petulant behavior. Well, I guess you’re right. It co-opted it for me emotionally, because all of a sudden then my focus went to him."
Shields' acting career has now spanned over 4 decades, starting when she was just 11 years old, and her cameo in Friends was absolutely a turning point for her.
A documentary about Shields' life and career is set to release next month, titled Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields. The documentary title comes from the controversial film of the same name, which was Shield's first credited movie appearance.
The two-part documentary will be available to stream on Hulu starting on April 3.