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Brooke Shields on Secret to Decades-Long Marriage to Chris Henchy

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Brooke Shields is sharing the secret to her decades-long marriage with husband Chris Henchy.

“Always have forgiveness in your heart, but make sure that you communicate about it,” Shields, 58, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting her new Netflix film, Mother of the Bride. “Don’t just give forgiveness and say, ‘Oh, well, I guess this is the way it is.’ Or, ‘Oh, I’ll forgive that behavior,’ or (do it) just to keep the peace.”

Shields noted that while couples should always have forgiveness as their “go-to” so that the relationship doesn’t ultimately “blow up,” she stressed the importance of making sure what each person “expresses” and “interprets” in times of contention is clear.

“Instead of pointing the finger, like, ‘You made me feel like this,’ just (change) the vernacular (to), ‘I got to be honest. I really felt like this when that happened, what was going on with you?’” she said. Shields added that it’s only after two people are “understanding of communication and empathy” that they can take steps forward.

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“And then you decide if you really want to forgive the person, but to just forgive blindly so that you stay together? It’s going to implode one day,” she said. “That is my opinion.”

Shields and Henchy, 60, met in 1999 on the WB lot where the actress was filming her hit sitcom, Suddenly Susan. While on set, her dog, Darla, wandered off – and it was Hency who brought her back. The two have been together ever since, tying the knot in 2001 and welcoming their daughters, Rowan and Grier, in 2003 and 2006, respectively. (Shields was previously married to tennis star Andre Agassi from 1997 to 1999.)

Brooke Shields Shares the Secret to Her Decades-Long Marriage to Chris Henchy: 'Communicate!'

Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Expanding their brood has only made Shields and Henchy’s relationship stronger – but it was important they waited until the right time. “You add kids to it and it actually makes the picture look so different,” she told Us, noting that held off on having kids until her “late 30s, early 40s.”

Although Shields is happy she took time before having children, she does wish she had frozen her eggs. The Mother of the Bride star told Us that she went through IVF “seven times” while trying to conceive, which is why she plans to help her daughters finance the process when it comes time.

“It’s going to be my birthday present to them,” she told Us. “Seriously. I know. It sounds weird, but you lose them anyway.” (Shields acknowledged that “financially it’s a luxury” to freeze eggs, but shared that she is simply a proponent if “it’s available to you.”)

Brooke Shields Shares the Secret to Her Decades-Long Marriage to Chris Henchy: 'Communicate!'
KMazur/WireImage

Shields has been famously open and transparent with her daughters over the years, telling Us that both Rowan and Grier share “quite readily” with her. An open line of communication is something the mom of two has worked hard at maintaining after not getting one with her own mother growing up.

“I wanted (didn’t want them to) feel like they needed to grow up and hide me from whatever their reality was,” she continued. “And no matter what their reality is, as horrible as it gets on, as great as it gets or as uncomfortable as it gets, I just have zero judgment, because it’s their experience.”

She continued, “I’ve made a really concerted effort to have them choose what they reveal, but not feel like they can’t share anything. They don’t have to hide anything from me because they’ll get in trouble, or I’ll think less of them. Because I know how messy life is and why should they have that added pressure? I did. I had it tremendously. I had it to my mother. I had it to the world. I had it to my public. I was constantly trying to navigate everything but my own life and that I don’t want them to have to be that way”

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One thing Shields hasn’t talked to her daughters about is Mother of the Bride. The Suddenly Susan star said neither of her kids have gotten a chance to see the rom-com, which follows Shields’ Lana as she deals with the fallout over her daughter Emma’s surprise wedding. She hopes, however, that the movie will open a “conversation” between all mothers and daughters.

“The thing that’s so amazing about this movie is that a lot of younger people or my daughters actually love this movie,” she said. “And then if their moms are still around, they love it too. I’ve never really been a part of a movie that was not polarizing.”

Shields suggested that daughters take their moms out to brunch before sitting down to watch it together.

 “It’s kind of nice,” she said.

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