“You know,” she continues, “I’m still wearing a bikini. That’s my bathing suit.” Stone doesn’t believe that “this is what you wear when you’re 40, 50, 60. I wore leather pants when I was 20. I’ll be wearing leather pants when I’m 70. Because that’s my style.”
But she is aware she’s aging—who isn’t?—and lately she’s been looking for clues on how to do it gracefully. In the supermarket and at cocktail parties, she has walked up to complete strangers and asked them about their lives. “I’ve actually started filming elderly women with my Flip video: ‘Can I sit down and talk to you and your friends? I want to talk about what it’s like getting old. How is your sex life? How is friendship? Do you date?’” she says. “I want to see the anthropology of aging.”
SHARON STONE is not “Sharon Stone.” Or, rather, she is—but not the one you see in public. That persona was created, she said, to mask her shyness.
“I could cry telling you about it, because people don’t know that Sharon Stone character is an invention,” she says. “My friends and I laugh so hard, because our joke is, ‘Baby, you do Sharon Stone better than anybody else.’” If only, she says ruefully, she’d given her alter ego a different name.
Stone-the-topless is also Stone-the-shy? Can that be true? Apparently, just as Stone-the-stone-cold-fox has also been Stone-the-insecure. It was just a few years ago, she says, in the wake of her divorce, when loneliness and self-doubt caused her to get something—she doesn’t recall exactly what—injected into her lips.
“Nobody loves me. I’m 103. My life would be better if I had better lips,” she says, recounting the thoughts that went through her head preinjection. Just one thought occurred to her after: “What the hell?”
Her lips were so overplump, lip gloss wouldn’t stay put, she recalls. What’s more, her lips no longer matched. When she put color on her lower lip and pressed it to the upper—her usual application method—nothing lined up. She looked “like a trout,” she says, pooching out her lips in a distinctly fishy manner. She adds that she’s shunned plastic surgery ever since.
On other fronts, though, Stone acknowledges that her feelings have evolved. Two years ago, she told More that it hadn’t been her idea to marry Bronstein but that he’d been “hounding” her to tie the knot. In discussing their split, she’s had a sort of tough-as-nails demeanor. But today she admits she’s been heartbroken in the wake of her divorce. Since her father’s death, she says, she’s let herself feel a lot of things she’d kept tamped down.
Her brain hemorrhage, she believes, was a manifestation of her disintegrating marriage. “When I understood that my reality was not as I had perceived it, my body had a gigantic reaction. It took a year for my basic recovery. And then my husband filed for divorce.”
But here’s the thing: She says she married him “with every best intention for every good and wonderful thing.” And when it was over, it crushed her.
“It takes a long, long time to come to the point where you can actually say”—she dabs her eyes again—“that you got married because you were in love with the person. And it makes me cry,” she tells me. It’s easier to be angry. But to let that go and “to admit your own lovingness was, for me, a harder step. Not to be embarrassed or ashamed that I could love somebody who didn’t love me. And that can be OK.”
Though the young men who pursue her are beautiful, she says, what she needs more than anything else in a future mate is purpose. It’s the ultimate turn-on, “and even in an older person, this concept is hard to locate.”