Model-turned-actress Brooke Shields is opening up about her complicated relationship with her alcoholic mother in her new memoir, revealing aspects of her childhood were abusive.

Teri Shields served as the Blue Lagoon star's manager early in her career and made a name for herself by being tough and unwavering when it came to her daughter's career.

Mum and daughter remained close until Teri's death in 2012 - and only then did the actress start opening up about her troubled childhood.

She says, "I was her greatest creation. It was us against the world. Even though I understood her better than anybody else. I'm not sure I ever understood her fully."

In the book, There Was a Little Girl, Shields goes on to reveal her mother would sometimes leave her with a male neighbour to go out drinking.

She tells the New York Post, "In this day and age, it's child abuse (to leave your child with a neighbour so you could drink alone).

"But in the late 1960s, if you were in an apartment building and had a friend there, you dropped your kid off... It was sort of sad that she couldn't afford a babysitter."