In a new interview, Sharon Stone recalls the emotionally wrenching court fight she had in 2008 with ex-husband Phil Bronstein over custody of their then-8-year-old son Roan, saying she “lost custody” after a judge excoriated her for making “sex movies” like “Basic Instinct.”
But news accounts from 2008 show that a San Francisco Superior Court judge had other reasons, saying the boy should continue to live with his journalist father in the Bay Area rather than with Stone in Los Angeles because the actor had a tendency to “overreact” to their son’s health issues. The judge also questioned uprooting Roan from his “consistent” home with his father, saying his famous mother seemed to put her career first and to delegate parenting duties to “third parties.”
Stone, 64, opened up a bit about her custody fight with Bronstein in this week’s podcast episode of “Table for Two” with Bruce Bozzi. She broached the topic while explaining the toll that starring in “Basic Instinct” took on her life as a mom.
In the neo-noir thriller, Stone played a glamorous mystery novelist and prime suspect in a murder case who becomes involved in an intensely passionate relationship with the lead San Francisco detective, played by Michael Douglas. The film featured graphic sex scenes and an infamous police interrogation in which Stone’s character uncrosses her legs to show she’s not wearing underpants.
“I lost custody of my child,” she shared on “Table for Two.” “When the judge asked my child my tiny little boy, ‘Do you know your mother makes sex movies?’ This kind of abuse by the system, that it was considered what kind of parent I was because I made that movie.”
“People are walking around with no clothes on at all on regular TV now and you saw maybe like a sixteenth of a second of possible nudity of me – and I lost custody of my child,” Stone continued.
Reports from ABC News and other outlets don’t mention that the judge excoriated Stone for making “sex movies,” but cite other reasons that the judge ruled that Bronstein could “provide … more structured continuity (and a more) stable, secure, and consistent home” for their son.
In 1998, Stone went outside of Hollywood to marry Bronstein, then the executive editor of the San Francisco Examiner. She also moved to San Francisco, at least part of the time. After Stone had three miscarriages, the couple adopted Roan shortly after his birth. But by 2003, they were separated. After their 2004 divorce, both filed for sole custody, while Bronstein married his second wife, Christine Borders, the daughter of Borders Book Store co-founder Louis Borders.
In court records, Stone stated that she had been Roan’s primary caretaker since he was a baby, but Bronstein disputed that, saying their son’s care was “delegated to a series of full-time nannies,” ABC News reported. However, Bronstein conceded that Stone’s career meant she had to spend a great deal of time away from their son.
Through kindergarten, the boy alternated spending three weeks with each parent, traveling with a nanny hired by Stone between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, ABC News reported. In November 2005, a judge ordered a two-year rotating schedule, in which the boy would live with Bronstein for the first two years and his mother the following two.
But a 2007 court ruling gave Bronstein temporary primary custody of the boy during the school year, ABC News said. When Stone sought to modify the ruling and ask for Roan to live with her and attend school in the Los Angeles area, the custody fight erupted, with San Francisco Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo eventually siding with Bronstein.
In a tentative ruling, Massullo said Stone had overreacted to Roan’s health issues, for example, when she insisted that Roan had a spinal condition, but “there was no evidence to support this allegation,” ABC News said.
According to ABC News, Massullo also expressed concern about Stone’s priorities, suggesting that the actor was more focused on her career at the time than on her child. The judge thought Stone’s day-to-day involvement with her son’s upbringing was “limited” and that she didn’t seem “present” in her son’s education or extracurricular activities, missing school parenting meetings and other appointments.
While Massullo said the court understands that Stone had a demanding career that required time away from Roan, the judge also didn’t believe she could provide for him in the way that he needed.
“While this court in no way faults (Stone) for having to travel for her career, she is unavailable for Roan on a constant basis,” a court document read.
Meanwhile, as Stone fought for custody of Roan, now 22, she also adopted two more sons, Laird, 17, and Quinn, 16. But she said on “Table for Two” that losing custody of her oldest “broke” her heart.
“I ended up in the Mayo Clinic with extra heartbeats in the upper and lower chambers of my heart,” Stone revealed. “It broke my heart.”
Years later, the court allowed Roan to move down to Los Angeles to live with his mother and brothers. In 2018, Stone opened up to People about having her three sons with her. “I live in the same house I’ve had for 25 years, and I feel happy waking up in my house with my kids,” she told People.
Stone continued: “They’re at a wonderful age when we don’t have to have a nanny living with us anymore. I can wake up on a Saturday and I come downstairs, and they’re playing and we hang out. We swim, play basketball, we watch movies. We have such a lovely family dynamic.”
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