Virginia Guynes was Demi Moore’s mother. Guynes died from cancer in 1998 at the age of 54.
In 2019, Moore said that she was raped at the age of 15 with her attacker paying her mother $500 following the assault. Moore wrote in her autobiography, “Inside Out,” “It was rape and a devastating betrayal’ – saying that the man then asked: ‘How does it feel to be whored by your mother for $500?” Moore spoke further about her ordeal in a September 2019 interview with Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America.” The “Ghost” star said, “I think… in my deep heart, no. I don’t think it was a straightforward transaction. But she still did give him the access and put me in harm’s way.”
Demi Moore was born Demi Gene Harmon in Roswell, New Mexico, to Guynes. Her biological father, Charles Harmon Senior, who was in the Air Force, left Guynes before Moore was born. The pair had been married for two months. When Moore was three months old, her mother married Dan Guynes. Moore said of Dan Guynes in a 1991 interview with Vanity Fair, “My dad was Dan Guynes. He raised me. There is a man who would be considered my biological father who I don’t really have a relationship with.” Dan Guynes took his own life in 1980 at the age of 37 by carbon monoxide poisoning. At the time of his death, he had recently split from Moore’s mother.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Guynes Attempted Suicide With Moore Saying on One Occasion She Had Dig Pills Out of Her Mother’s Mouth
Moore has said previously that her mother was an alcoholic who had attempted suicide on multiple occasions. In her 2019 autobiography, Moore wrote of one specific suicide attempt saying, “I remember using my fingers, the small fingers of a child, to dig the pills my mother had tried to swallow, out of her mouth.”
When asked about her stepfather’s suicide during a 1991 interview, Moore said, “A lot of my family doesn’t want to deal with the fact he committed suicide. I feel this man chose the best way for himself. He was in so much pain. I accept and love him for whatever he needed to do. I strongly believe that some of us have to die for others to live.” Moore told the Guardian in an October 2007 interview that Dan Guynes’ suicide caused her mother’s alcoholism to worsen.
2. Guynes Posed Topless for High Society Magazine in 1992
In April 1992, Guynes posed topless for an issue of “High Society” magazine. The article referred to Guynes as being a boutique owner in New Mexico. Guynes is quoted as having said about the photoshoot, “I feel real good about myself, so why shouldn’t I celebrate?” Part of the photoshoot saw Guynes pose in front of a pottery wheel, mimicking her daughter’s iconic scene with Patrick Swayze from “Ghost” as well as Moore’s famed Vanity Fair pregnancy cover photo.
According to one article, Guynes had attempted to pose for Playboy but the magazine rejected her approach. In 2005, Slate referred to Guynes foray into modeling by writing, “Years later, her mother descended into alcoholism, rebuffed Moore’s attempts at intervention, and wound up replicating her daughter’s nude poses for a low-end magazine.”
3. Guynes & Moore Reconciled Shortly Before Her Death
Moore and her mother became estranged in 1990 when Guynes abruptly left a rehabilitation facility in Hazelden, Minnesota. Moore had paid for her mother to attend the facility. Moore said in 2019 that shortly before her mother succumbed to cancer in 1998, the pair had reconciled.
A Variety obituary from 1998 said that Guynes had been battling a brain tumor at the time of her death. The article mentions that Moore had been living with her mother in Farmington, New Mexico since April 1998. A publicist for the family is quoted by Variety as saying, “It was a long vigil. She was there for her children.” Guynes died a month after Moore announced her separation from then-husband Bruce Willis.
Later, Moore told the Guardian in 2007 that she and her children had been living in a motel in Farmington in order to stay close to Guynes.
4. Moore Said in the Past That Her Mother ‘Always Desired the Best’ for Her Children
In a 1991 feature for Vanity Fair magazine, Moore said of her mother “always desired the best for us. She always told me to ‘buy the best thing, the highest quality.'” Moore said in the same feature that in 1978, Guynes left her husband to move to West Hollywood where Guynes had found a job working for a magazine distribution company. Moore said that she enrolled at Fairfax High School in West Los Angeles but dropped out at 16, her mother didn’t care.
Moore’s mother got her daughter’s name from a magazine advertisement for a shampoo called Demetria.
Moore told the Guardian in October 2007 that her character in Emilio Estevez’s “Bobby,” an alcoholic singer named Virginia, brought back memories of her mother. Moore said, “[Estevez] did know my mother. I’m not sure if it was specifically her, but I think there were interesting elements. When he first sent me the script it was to look at it, to see what I thought of it, it wasn’t necessarily to be in it.”
5. Moore Has Said That Her Mother Brought Her to Bars in Her Youth as Means to Attract Men
Moore writes in her 2019 autobiography that her mother would regularly bring her daughter to bars in order to help her meet men. Moore said that her mother that her teenage daughter’s presence would help men to notice her. Moore told Diane Sawyer that she had written the book in order to find herself again. Moore said, “If I were to look back. I would say I blinded myself and I lost myself.” During the same interview, Moore had said, “I guess the fundamental question that came forward for me was, ‘How did I get here?’ I mean, from where I started to what I’ve experienced, where I’ve been, like, how did I get here?”