Molly Ringwald: Sixteen Candles in the Wind
Having discussed Ringwald's show-biz father figures. I wonder about her flings with actor Anthony Michael Hall and Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz. "Michael and I went out a couple of times, but it wasn't really that serious. He was the only person I knew who was my age. Emilio [Estevez], Judd [Nelson] and Ally [Sheedy] were already in their 20s. It's like doctors and nurses going out together, right? He was, you know, there. I was 16, he was 16, he lived in New York, I lived in California--we didn't see each other that often. As for Adam. I'm attract-ed to musicians and he seemed really wild and crazy. Actually he was really gentle. I was a lot crazier than he was. People wrote that I had relationships with Rob Lowe and John Kennedy Jr. when there's no truth to that. In those days, I never felt like I chose anyone."
Ringwald says this with extraordinary glumness, as if those days were completely cheerless. Then again, at the height of her fame, she worked with some flaky, messed-up people, including a young actor battling alcohol addiction and at least one other dealing with multiple addictions. "I've done scenes with people who have been loaded--kissing scenes, too," she says, sneering delightfully. "It is really gross. Plus insulting. I'd think. Do you actually have to drink that Jack Daniel's to kiss me?" She kissed Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink, in Fresh Horses and in a stage production. I mention, thinking he might fit the bill. "Well, I felt bad for him because he was obviously struggling with it," she declares. "We had chemistry, but we never got along when we were working. He was terribly mean to me, just horrible. During Fresh Horses, he'd make dates and stand me up. But he always wanted to work with me. After we'd done three projects together, he called me up to do something else and I said, "Andrew, I think we've just been a little too closely connected. Besides, why the hell do you want to work with me. anyway? You never even talk to me.' He's a little bit like the boy in school who pulls the girls' pigtails."
How about Robert Downey Jr., opposite whom she did The Pick-up Artist? "Drinking didn't seem to be his drug of choice at the time," she observes, wryly. "That was kind of obvious, not so much in his behavior as in the long times he spent in the trailer and the people that were sort of hanging around the set. When one person's doing drugs and the other person isn't, they can't--well, let's say. I wasn't somebody he could associate with. I talked with him after the movie and he seems like a different person from the guy I was doing that movie with. I really wasn't crazy about Chaplin, though. I mean, for such a fascinating life as Charlie Chaplin's, it's the dullest movie."
Did Ringwald choose to lose her virginity to any of these guys? She rolls her eyes and replies, "No. That happened at 15. His name was Danny, and he wasn't famous or anything. He was a musician, quite a bit older, 26, and my parents were furious and forbid me to see him. They told him that if he had anything more to do with me. they would call the police. All of which thrilled me. The more they resisted the idea, the more I had to see him. My mom says, 'With you kids, we always have to worry about something.' With my brother, it was pot, drugs. With my sister, it was alcohol. With me, it was men. Once I got it into my head that maybe men would be attracted to me, that was it. I never thought I was pretty and once there was somebody there to say that I was pretty, it was more. More. MORE! The first lime 'it' happened, it was at his apartment. And it wasn't so bad--I mean, for the first time. It wasn't like it was in the back of his car, and it wasn't with a guy who was insensitive. But it wasn't like firecrackers exploded either."
Ringwald narrows her eyes, spying a book on the chair next to me. "Is that Mark Lindquist's book there?" It is indeed Mark Lindquist's 1987 Sad Movies, a novel that contains a scene in which Molly Ringwald careens off a mountain in a U-Haul, I've brought the book because I heard about her relationship with the author, and I want to know more. They met, she tells me, at a dinner party, after which she bought a copy of the book, not knowing she was in it. In the middle of reading it--before getting to the section about herself-- she phoned Lindquist and they made a date. Then, before the date, she read the part about herself and flipped out, but went anyway. She and Lindquist became friends and, after five years, lovers. "He moved into my house for a while," she admits, "but I never got over being tilled with paranoia about, 'Why did you do that?' Somebody told me that, when you have your first big argument with someone, that will be the same argument you're going to have for the rest of your time together. So, is that an argument you can live with for your whole life? My question. Why did you do that? never went away."