Sharon Stone Says Judge In Custody Case Asked Her Son If He Knew His Mom Made 'Sex Movies'

Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
(Image credit: TriStar Pictures)

While the last several years have seen Sharon Stone star in projects like The Laundromat and The Flight Attendant, the actress is still quite well known some of her earlier movies, particularly her Golden Globe-nominated turn as Catherine Trammel in Basic Instinct, one of the truly iconic ‘90s movie roles. Unfortunate, the 1992 erotic thriller ended up negatively impacting the custody case over her son when a judge asked the boy if he knew Stone made “sex movies.”

The controversy surrounding Basic Instinct has been well documented in the decades since its release, with Sharon Stone in particular drawing attention for that interrogation scene where she briefly uncrosses her legs and the audience can plainly see she’s not wearing underwear. While appearing on the Table for Two podcast, Stone shared that this moment played a role in her losing custody of her son Roan. She explained:

I lost custody of my child. When the judge asked my child – my tiny little boy, ‘Do you know your mother makes sex movies?’ This kind of abuse by the system, that it was considered what kind of parent I was because I made that movie.

To provide additional context, Sharon Stone married journalist Phil Bronstein in 1998, and two years later, they adopted Roan. By 2004, Stone and Bronstein’s divorce was finalized, with the judge ruling that the latter would remain custody of their son, who certainly wasn’t anywhere near old enough to see, let alone understand the content in Basic Instinct. As Sharon Stone explained, her brief moment of nudity in Basic Instinct was used against her in a personal matter, despite the fact that this scene of hers came nowhere close to the kind of nudity she saw on television. She continued:

People are walking around with no clothes on at all on regular TV now and you saw maybe like a sixteenth of a second of possible nudity of me – and I lost custody of my child.

Basic Instinct marked Sharon Stone’s second time working with director Paul Verhoeven. The first time was 1990’s Total Recall, which served as her breakthrough movie. Regarding Basic Instinct, Stone alleged in her 2021 memoir The Beauty of Living Twice that she hadn’t been informed that her vagina would be easily seen in the shot, but Verhoeven claimed he’d properly communicated with her about the shot

Regardless of which version of the story is true, that moment, along with Basic Instinct’s other sex scenes, resulted in the movie’s gaining notoriety in Hollywood. Unfortunately, one of the costs was a judge using this as rationale to rule in Phil Bronstein’s favor over hers in the custody case for Roan. This led to Sharon Stone checking into the Mayo Clinic for “with extra heartbeats in the upper and lower chambers,” i.e. her heart literally being broken, as she put it.

If you’ve never seen Basic Instinct and are curious about what all the fuss was about back in the day, it can be streamed with a Paramount+ subscription. Although Sharon Stone didn’t end up starring in the upcoming DC movie Blue Beetle, she will appear in What About Love, which doesn’t have a release date yet.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.