July 1, 2005

Shields blasts Tom Cruise for ‘ridiculous rant’

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actress Brooke Shields on Friday firedback at Tom Cruise after the actor criticized her for havingrevealed she had taken an antidepressant to cope withpost-natal depression.

Shields called Cruise's comments "a disservice to motherseverywhere" in an opinion column for The New York Times.

"To suggest that I was wrong to take drugs to deal with mydepression, and that instead I should have taken vitamins andexercised shows an utter lack of understanding about postpartumdepression and childbirth in general," the actress wrote.

"If any good can come of Mr. Cruise's ridiculous rant,let's hope that it gives much-needed attention to a seriousdisease."

During interviews to promote his new film, "War of theWorlds," Cruise has discussed his skepticism of psychiatry toexplain his belief in the teachings of the Church ofScientology, founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

In one such interview on NBC's "Today" show, he was askedabout his recent criticism of Shields, a film and televisionstar now appearing as Roxie Hart in the London staging of themusical "Chicago."

"Before I was a Scientologist, I never agreed withpsychiatry," Cruise said. "And when I started studying thehistory of psychiatry, I understood more and more why I didn'tbelieve in psychology ... And I know that psychiatry is apseudo science."

Disputing the effectiveness of antidepressants generally,Cruise said, "all it does is mask the problem." He added,"There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance."

Shields said her doctor prescribed Paxil for postpartumdepression after she experienced extreme despair and hadsuicidal thoughts following the birth of her daughter, RowanFrancis, in the spring of 2003.

"I wasn't thrilled to be taking drugs. In fact, Iprematurely stopped taking them and had a relapse that almostled me to drive my car into a wall with Rowan in the backseat.But the drugs, along with weekly therapy sessions, are whatsaved me -- and my family," she said.

Shields is author of "Down Came the Rain: My JourneyThrough Postpartum Depression."