ByKarly Rayner, writer at Creators.co
Moviepilot's celebrity savant.
Karly Rayner

When you think of Demi Moore, at best you think of a wildly successful actress of the Brat Pack generation, and at worst public opinions sway toward the image of a man-eating cougar who has struggled with addiction.

It's public knowledge that Moore struggled enormously with her breakup with Ashton Kutcher, but the tragedies that have blighted this actress' life from the very beginning make her success all the more incredible.

Most people have no idea about the hardships that Demi lived through in her early life, and the article below is a rundown of some of the sadness that Moore has overcome on her long hard road to success.

A Rough Beginning

Demi Moore as a child
Demi Moore as a child

Despite her flawlessly polished image, Demi Moore is actually the product of a saddeningly turbulent and poverty stricken upbringing.

A self described "trailer park kid," Moore was born in Roswell, New Mexico in 1962 to Virginia (née King). Her biological father Charles Harmon, was an air force serviceman who left Demi's mother before she was born.

When Moore was under three months old, her mother remarried a man named Danny Guynes who went on to raise Demi as his own. Although this new arrangement initially sounds idyllic, both of Moore's parents had alcohol problems and there was often physical violence in her childhood home.

Even worse though, was the lack of stability when it came to putting down roots. Moore had moved over 30 times before she was 14 years old and found it hard to make meaningful relationships with her peers.

This probably wasn't helped by the fact that Moore was born cross-eyed and had to wear an eyepatch until two operations corrected her eye sight. Moore also suffered from kidney disfunction and was repeatedly hospitalized.

Suicide in the Family

Although there is no denying Dan Guynes was not a stable figure, Moore acknowledged him as a meaningful father figure in her life. In 1991, she told the press that:

"My dad was Dan Guynes. He raised me. There is a man who would be considered my biological father who I don't really have a relationship with."

Tragically, Guynes committed suicide by inhaling carbon monoxide from the exhaust of his car when Demi was 17 years old. He had split with her mother two years previously.

Although Demi has never spoken out about this sad event in her teenage years, I can imagine that it was a life-altering one that cast a shadow of grief over both her and her mother.

Growing Up Too Fast

Due to her turbulent home environment, Moore moved out of the family home (they eventually settled in L.A.) as soon as possible. In an interview from the mid '90s Moore recalled that:

"I moved out of my family's house when I was 16 and left high school in my junior year."

In August 1979, a few months before her 18th birthday, Moore met the musician Freddy Moore and they married in early 1980. She has used his surname as her stage name ever since.

Moore had clearly been forced to grow up at lightening speed so it's no surprise that she married so young to gain some stability in her life, but unfortunately her first marriage only lasted four years.

During this time, Moore was working as a debt collector and also modeling in some nude photoshoots as a pin up girl.

It was in the early '80s that Moore took an interesting in acting after moving next door to a young German actress, an aspiring actress named Nastassja Kinski who had recently been cast in a Roman Polanski movie.

Spiraling Into Addiction

A young Demi Moore
A young Demi Moore

Moore made her acting debut in 1981 with a small supporting role in the deaf-teen movie Choices, but her career really took off with her role as an investigative journalist in the ABC soap opera General Hospital.

Moore ended up using her first salaries to fuel a wild drug-fueled party lifestyle which led to a three year drug addiction that could have threatened her future career.

Thankfully, this decadent and damaging lifestyle ended with Demi's commercial breakthrough in Joel Schumacher's yuppie drama St. Elmos Fire (1985), when the director demanded Moore got sober before filming began.

Schumacher told People magazine that:

"I didn't want to do what they had done with John Belushi which was just give her the money to kill herself."

Severing Ties with Her Mother

Moore with her mother, Virginia
Moore with her mother, Virginia

Moore and her mother's relationship was strained by Virginia's long record of arrests for crimes, including drunk driving and arson and, despite Moore's repeated attempts to help her mother battle her demons, they eventually severed contact in 1990 when Virginia walked out of a rehab facility that Demi had been funding.

After losing contact with Demi, her mother publicly humiliated her daughter by posing naked for the low-end magazine High Society in 1993. To add insult to injury, Virginia also parodied Moore's controversial pregnant Vanity Fair cover.

After years of being estranged, Moore's mother was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1997 and the pair were finally reunited for a few short months before Virginia succumbed to her disease.

Losing a mother is obviously excruciatingly painful for anybody, regardless of how story their relationship was, but Moore also had another painful loss to deal with at the same time.

An Untimely Divorce

I can only imagine how heartbroken and alone Moore felt when, after 10 years of marriage, she announced her separation from Bruce Willis just days before her mother died.

After having three children together, Willis and Moore have remained one of Hollywood's most unified divorced couples, but realizing their was no salvaging their romantic relationship at such an emotionally fraught time must have been devastating.

Professional Struggle

Around the same time, Moore was also struggling in her professional career. She threw herself into training for G.I. Jane with gusto and undertook vigorous weight training and lengthly runs, but this dedication had minimal gains.

Despite garnering a wealth of column inches for shaving her head for the role, G.I. Jane performed poorly at the box office and Demi told Entertainment Weekly that:

"Media Reports killed G.I. Jane before it ever even had a moment."

Instead of making her bread and butter through acting, Moore managed to remain financially solvent by producing Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and its sequels.

Sexual Harassment Accusation

Lawrence Bass who sued Moore for sexual harassment
Lawrence Bass who sued Moore for sexual harassment

In May 2003, Moore had her public image besmirched by the former manager of her Idaho ranch, Lawrence Bass.

Bass sued Moore for sexual harassment and discrimination, claiming in his lawsuit that Moore had hunted him down like prey in the same way her character did with Michael Douglas in the 1994 movie Disclosure.

After dragging Moore's reputation through the mud and invoking a tabloid frenzy, Idaho state investigators ruled their was "no probable" cause to support Bass' allegations and Moore's name was cleared of any wrong doing.

A Third Marriage Breakdown

After taking a self-imposed hiatus to concentrate on raising her three daughters, Moore returned to the scene with roles such as Madison Lee in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle in 2003.

In the same year, Moore began dating Ashton Kutcher, who was 15 years her junior and, despite tabloid headlines suggesting their relationship was a publicity stunt, the pair got married in 2005.

After years of cruel tabloid headlines about their age difference and rumors that Kutcher was unfaithful to her, Moore filed for divorce after releasing a statement saying:

"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."

Splitting with Kutcher and hearing the 'I told you so' attitude from the tabloids hit Moore hard and she spiraled into a deep depression that led her to sooth her pain with drugs once more.

Drug Overdose and Family Tensions

After the stress of her third failed marriage, Moore had a very public nervous breakdown and she was taken to an L.A. hospital after suffering a seizure from inhaling the drug nitrous oxide.

Moore never publicly acknowledged her overdose, but a spokesperson for the actress released a statement declaring that Moore planned to get:

"Professional assistance to treat her exhaustion and improve her overall health."

In the wake of her personal crisis, Moore also dropped out of her upcoming movie, Lovelace, and her role as feminist Gloria Steinem was given to Sarah Jessica Parker.

Images of Moore at this stage show a gaunt, wide-eyed figure who is clearly deeply troubled with what The Daily Mail claims were "eating disorders and addiction issues."

Moore's erratic behavior soon led to problems within the family and her daughters began to distance themselves from their mother until she sought intensive help. A source close to the family claimed:

"She's [Moore's] been acting crazy, calling the girls at all hours of the night and leaving rambling messages."

A Fresh Beginning

Thankfully, after distancing themselves over their mother's erratic behavior, Moore's daughters have patched things up with their mother and they are often pictured indulging in a spot of yoga with her.

Were you surprised to hear about Demi Moore's difficult life?

(Source: People, Biography, Ace Showbiz, Okay, The Daily Mail)