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Life in lockdown has been enough to make anyone scream, even Hollywood stars

by Gracie Breinl (2020-07-26)

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Life in lockdown has been enough to make anyone scream, even Hollywood stars.

Just ask Sharon Stone, who has spent the past few months isolating with her three sons at their sprawling home in Los Angeles.

When it all became too much for her, she discovered a novel way to let off steam. 

‘When I got frustrated with what was going on in the world, I'd go outside onto my balcony and scream at the top of my lungs, like I was being murdered,' she says in our video chat.

‘And what was so fantastic was that my neighbours seemed to understand completely - no one thought it strange in the least.

So I'd go outside and scream and scream and scream.

Sharon Stone (pictured) who lives in Los Angeles, revealed how she's been coping during the global coronavirus pandemic 

'And then I'd go inside to my bedroom and either punch the pillow or bang my head on it.

Then I'd go back to work.'

Sharon had more time than most to get to grips with what's been going on because she had advance warning of the pandemic. ‘I cancelled all my overseas dates at the end of February,' she says. 

‘My lawyer says I was the first person to cancel travel.

I was told I'd be sued but I did it anyway. I think I've always been a bit prescient, but I also listen and research. 

'And you have to realise I've been working for 25 years in the infectious disease world, and there are doctors I talk to who I've been working with for most of my life.

So I was able to make a move on this sooner than most people.'

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Sharon has been involved with the fight against Aids since the early 1990s, when she joined with neighbours to help another neighbour, Elizabeth Glaser - the wife of Starsky & Hutch's Paul Michael Glaser - organise street fairs to raise money for research.

Tragically Elizabeth, who'd already lost a child to the disease through a contaminated blood transfusion while giving birth, died of Aids in 1994. 

After her death, Sharon's commitment to the cause grew, and for more than 20 years she's been global campaign chairwoman for the American Foundation for Aids Research. 

Sharon, who has been working for 25 years in the infectious disease world, raised eyebrows when she had a nurse take guests' temperatures at her 62nd birthday party in March.

Pictured: Sharon having her temperature tested at her birthday party in LA  

As such, she's privy to inside health knowledge that others may not have. At her 62nd birthday party in early March, she raised eyebrows in Hollywood by having a nurse take guests' temperatures as they arrived. 

She's said that people at the time thought she was ‘a little bit crazy'.

No one is thinking that now.

‘I speak to people who work in health, and this didn't just happen at the beginning of March, it was already happening by then. 

'There's a lot we don't know about it - but we do know it's serious.
And opening the country back up again will be another test, because we may have a second wave of infections from that.

I wept for three days at the grief and horror of it all 

‘It's not that it's all OK out there.

It's like with Aids - you can be wanting to go back into the world, but if you don't wear a condom, Aids is still there, so get clued-up. 

'And for anyone who's been rip-roaring to go back out again during this crisis without wearing a mask, or washing your hands or, in my opinion, wearing glasses - because in my view it's all the same salivary system, and I wouldn't want anybody to sneeze into my eyeball either - have a brain in your head!'

Even though lockdown has been easing in LA before it has in Britain, she has absolutely no intention of emerging long-term from the home she shares with Roan, 20, Laird, 15, and Quinn, 13, until she's sure it's safe to do so. 

The 62-year-old (pictured) revealed that she spent three days crying when the pandemic first struck

Ask her what she misses most about normal life, and she shrugs.

‘This is my normal life,' she says. 

‘I can't go out of the house without paparazzi following me, so I don't go out much. I've lived like a hermit for 20 years, so it's not been so different. 

'For me, what's so abnormal is the crisis that's been going on in the outside world - the horror, the death, everyone acting so crazy.'

She admits that when the pandemic first struck, it hit her hard. 

‘There was one time I cried for three days.

Just the grief and the acknowledgement of the losses so many people - it was a big punch in the gut. I couldn't even get up - I stayed in bed around the clock and wept. And then it started to leave me and I began to heal.'

Sadly, bereavement has struck her on a personal level too recently, not once but twice. 

Northern Irish peace activist Betty Williams, who she says was ‘like a second mother', died on 17 March of pneumonia, then on 18 April fellow Aids worker Eileen Mitzman, who Sharon had ‘adopted' some years before along with Eileen's husband Neil as her honorary grandparents, also died, from coronavirus.

Sharon shared that her sons have adjusted to confinement with impressive ease and their grades have been coming up.

Pictured: Sharon and her son Roan Bronstein

Now, having come to terms with her personal losses and the world's crisis, she says she's actually allowed herself to enjoy her time at home. 

‘I'm here on the terrace of my bedroom in beautiful Los Angeles, which has become more beautiful every day because we haven't been driving cars and polluting. 

'I've had some laughs until I could just cry, a lot of them because I've been trying to paint, which is pretty funny. 

'Because I paint, and then paint over my paintings, and then paint over the painting I painted over, and then realise they're just awful anyway.

My roses are blooming, which I'm very excited about. And my kids are blooming too, which is really interesting.'

She says her boys adjusted to their confinement with impressive ease. 

‘They've been doing really well with home school.
Their grades are coming up, and they're getting on really well with each other. 

'They're funny and make me laugh a lot. We've had rough days, of course, but you do when you're not quarantining. This has been a great family experience.'

Sharon, who has had more than 100 acting credits in her 40-year career, revealed that her dream when she came to LA was to work for Martin Scorsese.

Pictured: Sharon in hit thriller Basic Instinct

Not every young man has a mother who became famous, as Sharon did, for a show-it-all leg-crossing scene in the thriller Basic Instinct. But Sharon says that, for her boys, it's just another part of their family story. 

‘They've all seen everything I've done.

They have a very stable sense of reality. They think I'm a badass, and they think I'm a good actress too.'

She makes no secret of the fact she wishes the rest of the world shared her sons' appreciation of her acting talents. 

Although she's had more than 100 acting credits in her 40-year career - and won both an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award in 1996 for her performance as a drug-addicted ex-prostitute in Martin Scorsese's Casino - she says she's continually frustrated that people persist in seeing her as Basic Instinct's sex bomb Catherine Tramell.

What do I have to do to be taken seriously? 

‘My real dream when I came to LA from Pennsylvania was to work for Martin Scorsese and with Robert De Niro.

I didn't come from privilege when I came here. 

'My Dad made $14,000 [around £7,000] a year, my mother planted a garden and preserved her own produce, so we had fruit and vegetables through the winter. My father hunted for meat, and I grew up knowing that work was how you got somewhere in life.

‘I took some jobs that weren't great because I needed the money, but what I really wanted to do was work with Scorsese.

And I did. 

Sharon, who is set to release her memoir later this year, says she's continually frustrated that people persist in seeing her as Basic Instinct's sex bomb Catherine Tramell.

Pictured: The 62-year-old in Casino 

'I find it odd and feel a bit disappointed that none of the other directors near his stratosphere have offered me work since. I don't quite comprehend what happened there. 

'I worked and achieved my dream, so what else do I have to do to be taken seriously?

Even after I'd done Casino, people offered me really stupid jobs and I'd think, "Even now, you want to not respect me just because Basic Instinct was sexual? What do I have to do to be seen?"'

She's set to release her memoir, The Beauty Of Living Twice, later this year and she has many stories to tell that mark her out as somewhat unlucky. 

There was the stroke in 2001 that left her with a bleed on the brain for nine days, and a few weeks ago she revealed on a podcast how she'd been struck by lightning. 

‘I was at home and we had our own well,' she explained.

‘I was filling the iron with water, and I had one hand on the tap, one hand on the iron and the well got hit with lightning and the lightning came up through the water.'

The power of the surge threw her across the kitchen and into the fridge.

Fortunately her mother was there at the time.

Sharon (pictured) explained that she's having more luck with television than movies, as she stars in new series Ratched

‘She was standing there and she just belted me across the face and brought me to.

I was in such an altered state. I don't know how to describe it - so bright, like "Wow!"' 

Her mother took her to hospital where an electrocardiogram showed her body was pulsing with electricity, and she had to be monitored for the next ten days.

Yet like many leading actresses these days, Sharon says she's having more luck with television than the movies.

Her new series Ratched, created by Ryan Murphy - who was also behind Glee and the recent series Hollywood - will be on Netflix in September.

It's a prequel to the acclaimed 1975 movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest with Jack Nicholson, detailing the early life of the cruel mental institution Nurse Mildred Ratched. 

Although Sharon is forbidden to give too much away about the plot, she admits she's excited to be in it. 

‘All I can say is that it's Nurse Ratched's life in the 1940s and everybody's nuts in it!' she laughs.

‘We have Sarah Paulson and Cynthia Nixon - who's amazing - and Judy Davis is unbelievably good. And it's Ryan Murphy, which made it a blast! We had really good fun.'

Sharon, who divorced from Phil Bronstein (pictured) in 2004, revealed that she's doing dating sites but she doesn't believe chemistry can be felt over a text or FaceTime

Divorced from journalist husband Phil Bronstein since 2004, Sharon's currently single, and having tried using dating sites (she was blocked from one, Bumble, last year because they didn't believe it was actually her) reports now that, where possible, she prefers to find romance the old-fashioned way. 

‘I've had a couple of dates but it could be a comedy show,' she laughs.

‘I'm still doing the dating sites but chemistry is something you have to feel, it's not something I'm getting over a text or FaceTime. 

'You need pheromones. My parents were married for 60 years and they definitely had pheromones.
So we'll see.'

One good thing to come out of the crisis, she says, is that a lot of men have discovered their domestic sides.  

‘Since they started cooking for themselves and taking care of themselves, they've started to talk like human beings.

They've been a bit like tigers in a cage, du lịch hồ ba bể wanting out, but they've also been thinking, "When I do get out, do I have any value, and what might that be?" They've changed, they're not being so crazy. Except for the really crazy ones of course!'  

Ratched hits Netflix in September.



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