By the age of 14, Moore, a self-described "trailer park kid," has moved at least 30 times. Her parents, Danny and Virginia, divorce the following year, and Moore settles in L.A. with her mother, where she eventually drops out of Fairfax High School at 16. She works as a debt collector and takes up acting in earnest after reading scripts with a young German neighbor and aspiring actress named Nastassja Kinski.
Moore, 18, marries rocker Freddy Moore, 30, whose last name she adopts as her own. Their marriage lasts for four years, and ends amicably. "I'm not surprised she's now the star she is," he later tells London's Daily Mirror. "She's a genius." In 1982, she plays reporter Jackie Templeton on General Hospital. "She had street smarts," GH veteran Norma Connolly tells PEOPLE. "She learned fast."
Moore bares her chest in her first major motion picture, Blame It on Rio. Over the next 12 years, she will appear topless on screen five more times and nude on two Vanity Fair covers.
Moore plays the emotionally damaged Jules in the hit St. Elmo's Fire. Before filming begins, though, director Joel Schumacher pressures the young actress to get treatment for her drug and alcohol problems. "I didn't want to do what they had done with John Belushi," he tells PEOPLE in 1997, "which was just give her the money to kill herself." The movie helps launch her, boyfriend Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Andrew McCarthy into Brat Pack fame.
Moore and Estevez decide to marry but, two years later, the busy actors end their on-again, off-again engagement. "I was deeply in love with her," Estevez says to PEOPLE in 1996, and Moore tells Cosmopolitan that Estevez "was definitely my first love." The two remain friends.
Moore meets Moonlighting star Bruce Willis at a screening of Stakeout, featuring her former fiancé, Estevez. Willis is a legendary drinker and carouser, but Moore takes a chance because, PEOPLE reports her saying, "he was just so ready to embrace and give me love."
Following up on the diamond "friendship ring" Willis, 32, gave Moore ten days earlier, the two get hitched in a suite at the Golden Nugget hotel with a few guests. A big, black-tie celebration follows in L.A. a month later.
Moore gives birth to her first daughter, Rumer Willis, named after British writer Rumer Godden. She and Willis love being parents: "I'm a big fan of kids. I tell everybody they should have them," PEOPLE reports Willis saying. The couple will continue to expand their brood with Scout LaRue (July 20, 1991) and Tallulah Belle (Feb. 3, 1994).
Moore takes on the challenge of designing her own outfit for the Oscars. A black split-front gown over biker shorts and a bustier land her on a few worst-dressed lists that year.
Starring with Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg, Moore gains wide attention as a grieving wife in the movie Ghost. It is a blockbuster at the box office and establishes Moore as a bankable star.
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