Kimila Ann Basinger (pronounced: bay-sing-er), (born December 8, 1953 in Athens, Georgia) is an Academy Award-winning American film actress and former fashion model.
When Kim Basinger was 16 years old, she started her modelling career by entering and winning the Athens Junior Miss contest. She followed that up by winning the title of “Junior Miss Georgia.” Basinger then headed to New York City to compete in the national Junior Miss pageant. It was there that Basinger was approached by fashion modeling mogul Eileen Ford, who offered the young beauty queen a modeling contract with Ford Modeling Agency. Initially turning down the offer in favor of singing and acting, Basinger reconsidered and headed back to New York to become a Ford model.
Not long after penning the deal, Basinger’s face graced numerous magazine covers and she also appeared in hundred of ads throughout the early ‘70s, most notably appearing as the Breck shampoo girl. She achieved a top model status by age 20, earning a salary of $1,000 a day. In the meantime, she alternated between modeling work and attending acting classes at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse as well as performing in various Greenwich Village clubs.
Basinger's mother was a model as well. She has four siblings: two brothers, Mick (who is a marketing director) and Skip, and two sisters, Ashley and Barbara. Basinger suffers from agoraphobia, which is a form of an anxiety disorder, the abnormal fear of experiencing a difficult or embarrassing situation, such as a panic attack, in a public place.
In 1976, after a five-year stint as a cover girl, Basinger decided to put her modeling career on hold and move to Los Angeles to begin a career in acting. Her most prominent appearances include 9½ Weeks (1986), Batman (1989) and L.A. Confidential (1997) for which she received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
From 1993 to 2002, she was married to actor Alec Baldwin. They share a daughter, Ireland Eliesse (born October 23, 1995). In the years after their divorce, she and Baldwin have engaged in a contentious custody battle.
The small town of Braselton, Georgia, was bought by Basinger in 1989 for $20 million, with the hopes of establishing the town as a tourist attraction with movie studios and a film festival, but she met financial difficulties and sold it in 1993. The town is now owned by developer Wayne Mason. Her financial difficulties were exacerbated when she pulled out of the controversial film Boxing Helena, the studio sued her and she filed for bankruptcy.
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The truth behind Alec Baldwin's 'rude little pig' attack on daughter, 11
A gleaming cavalcade of blacked-out people carriers pulls up presidential-style at the gates of a smart private school in a moneyed Los Angeles suburb and disgorges a contingent of shades-wearing security men.
Then, when these bodyguards - some of whom carry small, handheld video cameras - are in position, the door of one vehicle opens and a child, pole-thin and deathly pale, emerges into the California sunshine.
She disappears inside, accompanied by her ever-present minders.
Even at this school, which plays host to the pampered offspring of some of Hollywood's most glittering names, it is a highly unusual scene.
And what makes this tableau - witnessed earlier this week by her bemused school friends - all the more bizarre is that the 11-year-old in question needs this protection (if her famous mother is to be believed) not from a lunatic celebrity stalker or kidnapper, but from her actor father, Alec Baldwin.
In recent days, this has been the disturbing reality of the school run for Ireland Baldwin as the bloody custody battle between her Oscar-winner mother, Kim Basinger, and her former husband plumbs new and unspeakable depths.
Basinger, the star of LA Confidential, called in the beefcake protection team last week after 49-year-old Baldwin left a vituperative rant on the answerphone of their daughter for daring not to be at home when he rang to speak to her during one of their court-sanctioned weekly conversations.
In the shocking tape - suspiciously leaked to a showbusiness website - a raging Baldwin (the star of The Aviator and The Departed) brands his daughter a "rude, thoughtless little pig".
"You don't have the brains or the decency as a human," he spits.
"I don't care that you're 12 years old, or 11 years old, or that you're a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn't care what you do as far as I am concerned.
"Once again, I have made an ass of myself trying to get to a phone. You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone."
But it was his sign-off to the two minute 12 second tirade - his threat to fly from his home in New York to Los Angeles to "straighten out" his daughter - that prompted Basinger to act.
In an exclusive interview with the Mail, Kim's father, Don Basinger, said: "The problem is that violence and anger are part of Alec Baldwin's make-up. He can't control his temper and you can't tell what someone like that is going to do.
"On the tape, he said he was coming to 'straighten' Ireland out. He was very threatening and Kim brought in the bodyguards because she has to protect her daughter.
"A father can just go to a school and pick a kid up. I don't think Alec is a danger, but sometimes people do things and regret their actions later. Kim is worried about her daughter."
So worrying was the anger in ex-alcoholic Baldwin's diatribe that a judge temporarily banned him from access to the daughter he and 53-year-old Miss Basinger have fought over since their highly acrimonious divorce five years ago.
Even so, given the level of hostility between them, few in Hollywood are under any illusion that the actress will seek to use his outburst to her advantage (hence the over-the-top presence of those bodyguards).
And how ironic, given the latest turn in this blacker-than-black farce, that it is the 91/2Weeks star herself who faces jail at a forthcoming hearing over 12 counts of alleged contempt of court.
Baldwin claims that she has continually ignored a series of court orders granting him visiting rights to Ireland.
Alec Baldwin's (left) alleged tirade against his daughter Ireland (centre)
is latest round in bitter feud with ex-wife Kim Basinger (right)
If, as is still a distinct possibility, she is found guilty and sentenced to the maximum two months in jail, it would be into the care of her aggressive father that the schoolgirl would be placed while her mother is in prison.
Pity, then, poor Ireland - or "Addie, as she is known to her warring parents - in this mess as she plays hostage to the bloated egos of her mother and father.
So dire has the relationship between the stars become that Baldwin even recently had to seek a court order so he could take Ireland to the premiere of one of his movies.
Meanwhile, Miss Basinger is said to have waited until the ex-husband she hates was out of the country before having her baptised.
When Baldwin sees his daughter every first and third weekend of the month, plus alternate birthdays and Christmases, the pair must, a judge has ruled, be accompanied at all times by a female carer appointed by the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Also, phone calls with her father, who lost his battle for full-time custody in 2004, are strictly timed and limited (hence his anger when she was not there when he called).
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, in this climate of loathing, Baldwin's friends this week accused Miss Basinger (who can still command fees such as the million-dollar contract she signed this week with cosmetic company Coty) of leaking the tape of his phone call to force him to drop the contempt charges against her.
At the same time, in a cynical attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of an American public shocked by the virtual round-the-clock television broadcasts of the recording, Baldwin went on TV this week to make an emotional mea culpa and blamed his outburst on being barred from seeing his daughter by his ex-wife.
"Obviously, calling your child a pig or anything else is inappropriate. I apologise to my daughter for that," he said.
"There's nothing wrong with being frustrated or angry about the situation. But as people often do, I took it out on the wrong person."
He also dramatically announced that he was quitting the smash hit NBC sitcom 30 Rock, for which he received a Golden Globe earlier this year, and pledged to give up acting to devote his time to the issue of "parental alienation".
What was hardly surprising in this tawdry saga was that he also used the occasion to promote his tell-all book, A Promise To Ourselves, about the bloodiest of Hollywood divorces, which is due out later this year.
Equally predictable was that the U.S. network - desperate not to lose him from its ratings-winning comedy - rejected his offer of resignation.
Meanwhile, Baldwin's lawyer, Vicki Greene, who says Basinger "has so contaminated this child she now doesn't even want to be with her father", has launched yet more legal proceedings to discover who leaked the explosive recording.
His legal team claims Basinger has a "pathological need" to distance Ireland from her father.
One court petition claims: "Over and over, she demonstrates that her resentments are more precious to her than the emotional well-being of her child."
For her part, the actress, who fell for Baldwin on the set of The Marrying Man in 1990, denies any involvement in the voicemail message being released to the media.
Her father told the Mail she believes the tape, which was made on April 11 when the actor called his daughter at 10.30pm from a Manhattan restaurant, was released by a member of court staff after Kim supplied it as evidence in a bid to get a restraining order against Baldwin.
Don Basinger said: "Kim had to present it and from then on she was not in control. It could have leaked out from the courthouse or somewhere.
"Kim wouldn't release that tape knowing it would hurt Ireland. How could she want to hear somebody calling her daughter a pig over and over again on TV?"
What is beyond question, however, is that both parties - who announced earlier this year they had put their battles behind them for the sake of their daughter - are still seemingly content to make poor Ireland cannon fodder in their increasingly dirty war.
It had once been so different.
The handsome Baldwin and the former Playboy centrefold became Hollywood's hottest couple after their lavish 1993 beachside wedding in the fashionable Hamptons, outside New York.
But even before the birth of Ireland, their only child, in October 1995, Hollywood was already awash with rumours about their turbulent relationship.
Basinger, who had gained a reputation as a prima donna on the set of her movies, was said to live in fear of her husband's violent rages.
At the height of her fame, she suffered terrifying panic attacks and locked herself away for six months at a time in their home as the agoraphobia that had plagued her as a child returned with a vengeance.
Baldwin, meanwhile, was already renowned for his incendiary temper, and he was forced to pay the medical bills of a photographer he was accused of attacking for trying to take a picture of them with their baby.
He was also seen humiliating his wife in public with a ferocious verbal barrage in front of embarrassed patrons at a Long Island coffee shop.
Twice-married Kim finally fled their home in 2000, five years after going bankrupt - the result of being sued for backing out of an agreement to play the role of a woman whose limbs are amputated by her mad lover in the weird movie Boxing Helena.
As their divorce and custody battle over their daughter sank into vitriol, Kim branded her ex a "tin-pot tyrant", called him "Saddam Hussein" and said she fantasised about him dying. Baldwin hit back, accusing her of being a "black widow".
Certainly, Baldwin's notorious hair-trigger temper has shown no signs of cooling.
Last year, his leading lady quit the off-Broadway play Entertaining Mr Sloane in disgust after revealing that his volatile behaviour had left her fearing for her "physical safety, mental health and artistic integrity".
Acclaimed stage actress Jan Maxwell said she locked herself in her dressing room because of his frequent temper tantrums, which included him punching his fist through a wall because the theatre was too hot.
Then the Left-wing Baldwin had to apologise after describing U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney as a "terrorist" and "hate-filled maniac".
Kim Basinger and Kevin Spacey in L.A. Confidential
Basinger, meanwhile, has been told by the court to submit herself to "psychological evaluation", after she sacked a state-appointed therapist whom she accused of taking his side.
All of which has been watched in horror by Don Basinger, who is divorced from Kim's mother, Ann.
He told the Mail this week: "I know Alec loves Ireland and I'm sure she loves her father, but this has little to do with Ireland - it's all about bitterness.
"Alec is a generous and kind man in many ways, but he has a flaw - he can't control his temper. He needs to get some help.
"Ireland is in the same situation as Kim was before the divorce. She is uncomfortable in his presence. She is suffering verbal abuse and that can be just as bad and damaging as violence.
"She's witnessed his outbursts many times and I don't think a child could ever forget what he said on that tape.
"She was with me two weeks ago and she is handling it well. It's hard to get into the mind of a child, but she's very mature and strong.
"Kim just wants to safeguard her child. The courts have nothing to do with it. Protecting her daughter comes first - regardless of the consequences, even if that involves going to jail or leaving the country.
"I think Ireland can reconcile with her father. He and Kim need to communicate. This has been going on for five years and they have each spent a fortune on lawyers.
"In the end, they will realise that what they are doing is not productive and nothing has changed. Then I think they will say 'let's cool it and stop this'. I pray that will happen."
Wise words, but not, one suspects, enough for Hollywood's most selfish battling exes to call a truce for the good of the child they claim to love.
28th April 2007 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
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