Sharon Stone Opened Up About Her 20-Year Absence From Hollywood

People know two things about Sharon Stone: she is incredibly beautiful and insanely smart. Her talent and courage as an actress and activist led to a career full of iconic roles and major professional risks. Yet, even though it seemed like she was the biggest star in the world during her prime, few fans know her entire story. In fact, a tragic health concern almost ended her career during the height of her popularity — and she is now opening up about how Hollywood forgot about her for 20 years.

Young and brilliant

In May 2023 Stone gave an emotional speech at The Hollywood Reporter’s Raising Our Voices event about her rollercoaster journey. "Something went wrong with me," she said. "I've been out for 20 years. I haven't had jobs. I was a very big movie star at one point in my life." That is an understatement, of course. But even before she was racking up award nominations, young Sharon Stone was known for more than just her beauty. Born March 10, 1958, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, she was extremely gifted in school. And her natural aptitude for learning only went from strength to strength as she got older.

Brains and beauty

It's been reported that she has an IQ of 154, which would rank her among the top two percent of people in the world. To put it into context, that's a mere six points off of Stephen Hawking — the English physicist famous for his pioneering theories of, well, everything. And her high IQ hasn't gone to waste — Stone finished high school before she hit the age of 16. And in later life, she served as the Global Campaign Chair for the Foundation for AIDS Research.

Pageant queen — and beyond

Following high school, too, she made it into Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. But, noticing that she had both beauty and brains, her nearest and dearest had a proposition for young Stone. Before long, and with the encouragement of her friends and family, the world of beauty pageants came calling. To her surprise, Stone earned the title of Miss Crawford County and almost went on to compete for the state title. But that was only the start of her plan for world domination.

Model behavior

Given her natural good looks and charming demeanor, Stone didn't go unnoticed in the pageant world. In fact, one of the judges advised her to leave school behind and pursue a career in modeling in New York City. And as it happens, that was all it took. Stone took his advice, and in 1977 she was signed by Ford Modelling Agency. The wheels of her career were starting to spin. As you'd expect, Stone took to modeling like a duck to water.