Governor Defends Brooke Shields in Feud With Tom Cruise

UPDATED 07/05/2005 at 03:00 PM EDT Originally published 07/04/2005 at 10:00 AM EDT

Governor Defends Brooke Shields in Feud With Tom Cruise
Cruise (left) and Shields
Splash News; Ash Knotek/Snappers/Zuma

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

Brooke Shields may have left New Jersey behind when she graduated with honors from that state’s Princeton University in 1987, but the Garden State still has a place for her in its heart.

New Jersey's acting governor, Richard J. Codey, has stepped forward to support the actress in her war of words with Tom Cruise over her use of prescription drugs to treat postpartum depression.

"Tom Cruise knows as much about postpartum depression as I do about acting," said the politico, whose wife, Mary Jo Codey, has struggled with the illness. "He should stick to acting and not talk about women who need help."

In a much-discussed outburst a week ago on the Today show, Cruise, 43, declared that there was no such thing as chemical imbalances that need to be corrected with drugs, and that depression could be treated with exercise and vitamins.

Shields, 40, reacted a week later, writing in a 715-word op-ed piece in The New York Times that Cruise's personal opinions did "a disservice to mothers everywhere."

In her own case, Mary Jo Codey, a 49-year-old kindergarten teacher, has openly discussed her struggles with postpartum depression, saying she was first diagnosed with the condition 28 years ago.

So closeted was Codey with her illness, she said that she felt forced to drive to a pharmacy four towns away from her home in order to fill a prescription for antidepressants. She also "wore dark sunglasses and prayed really hard to God that no one would see me."

In a nod to others who might feel similar shame for their feelings and behavior, Shields wrote in her Times essay: "If any good can come of Mr. Cruise's ridiculous rant, let's hope that it gives much-needed attention to a serious disease."

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