Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Marriage to Alec Baldwin Nearly Ruined Kim Basinger's Movie Career; as She Stars as Eminem's Mum in 8 Mile, We Reveal How She Has Fought Her Way Back

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Marriage to Alec Baldwin Nearly Ruined Kim Basinger's Movie Career; as She Stars as Eminem's Mum in 8 Mile, We Reveal How She Has Fought Her Way Back

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK COLEMAN

IT was a phone call Kim Basinger must have been dreading. Sitting with her family for Christmas dinner, the last person she expected to hear from was her former husband Alec Baldwin. The celebrity pair have been on appalling terms since their divorce last year and only recently settled a bitter custody battle over their daughter, Ireland. Baldwin, however, insisted on speaking to Basinger in what her father claims was a last-ditch attempt to salvage their friendship.

"He wanted to talk to her," says Don Basinger, an 80-year-old war veteran from Athens, Georgia. "He keeps ringing her all the time, despite everything that's happened.

"Kim handled the conversation really well. She was calm, unemotional and sensible. I think Alec got the message. She's at a good point in her life and is happy being a single girl again."

It seems incredible that the actress would bother reciprocating any of Baldwin's ill-timed advances. This was the man, after all, who was reported to have bullied her during their decade-long relationship and was pictured jabbing and berating her outside a coffee shop.

But maintaining her dignity and independence is an art Basinger has learned to perfect since the fiery couple grew apart two years ago, and it seems that rebuilding her personal life has sparked a mini resurrection in her career. Just a few weeks before her 50th birthday, her moving performance as Eminem's alcoholic mother in 8 Mile, released next week, is being tipped for an Oscar.

Kim was recruited for the part by LA Confidential director Curtis Hanson, whose script helped win her an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress in the 1997 thriller, in which she starred as a Veronica Lake lookalike opposite a smitten Russell Crowe.

Tellingly, that movie was shot during her rockiest patch with Baldwin and its subsequent success sparked her decision to break free from the relationship. Richard Johnson, a US society writer who knows Basinger well, believes the couple's separation is an overriding factor in her recent big-screen success.

"It's no small coincidence that she does well for herself whenever she gets away from Baldwin," he says. "He dragged her down and turned her into a recluse. Their marriage prevented her from making the most of her talent.

"She was superb as the sex slave in 91/2 Weeks - her breakthrough film - but the parts she took after meeting him were tame by comparison, probably to appease his jealous nature over her overt sexuality."

But 8 Mile seems to have ended the years she spent in the acting wilderness, distraught that her marriage was crumbling, battling enormous debts and struggling to maintain her sanity as she spent months on end hidden behind closed doors. Even now she rarely gives interviews.

It was a far cry from the late 1970s when Kim burst on to the modelling scene in New York in a series of provocative ads and then pursued similar roles in 91/2 Weeks and as a Bond girl tangoing with Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again.

But, following her lucrative role as Batman's love interest, she spent the following years making flops as she struggled to shake off her sexsiren image by taking more worthy roles. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.