Whatever Happened To Cybill Shepherd?

In 2023, Cybill Shepherd told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "I started at the top and have been working my way down ever since." In many ways, she isn't wrong. After all, her career started with a bang. After making her professional debut in Peter Bogdanovich's eight-time Oscar-nominated "The Last Picture Show" in 1971, Shepherd landed a string of huge roles throughout the '70s, starring in "The Heartbreak Kid," " Daisy Miller," "At Long Last Love," and "Taxi Driver." Shepherd was en route to becoming one of the biggest stars of her generation. Yet in the late '70s, she announced her retirement from the industry. 

However, she continued acting in the '80s, primarily making appearances on TV shows and made-for-TV movies. She returned to stardom in 1985, with a lead role opposite Bruce Willis in the TV series "Moonlighting." This was followed by her own fairly short-lived show in the '90s and a few TV roles throughout the 2000s. Despite reviving her career, Shepherd never really reached the Hollywood heights everyone had expected her to. So, whatever happened to Cybill Shepherd? Let's take a look.

Cybill Shepherd didn't always receive great reviews for her early work

A quick glance at Cybill Shepherd's CV, and you'll find plenty of A-list projects, from the multi-Oscar nominated "The Last Picture Show" to the Martin Scorsese classic "Taxi Driver." However, although Shepherd appeared in plenty of well-respected projects, her performances themselves weren't always critically acclaimed. 

As critic Gene Shalit once stated about her performance in the 1975 musical comedy "At Long Last Love" (via Rolling Stone), "Cybill Shepherd cannot walk, talk, much less sing." Later, Shepherd even agreed with part of the statement. "He was right about the walking and talking part, but I actually sang pretty well considering it was all done live without overdubs," she wrote in her online biography. She added that another reviewer once suggested that she had "all the charm of a hamster." 

Whether or not these harsh criticisms were true, it's clear that Shepherd wasn't exactly a critical hit at the beginning of her career, which may explain why her career never fully took off.

Cybill Shepherd's affair with Peter Bogdanovich turned her into the fallen woman

In the '70s, while making "The Last Picture Show," Cybill Shepherd began an affair with the film's director, Peter Bogdanovich. "Cybill and I kept saying this was just during the [filming of the] picture," Bogdanovich told Vulture in 2019, less than three years before his heartbreaking death. "We were not going to be going out after the movie's over. But we fell in love." A major Hollywood scandal ensued — Bogdanovich and his wife divorced and images of Shepherd and Bogdanovich filled the tabloids.

As Shepherd told Rolling Stone of the romance: "If you think of a person as a circle, I had a huge wedge of myself that was empty, which was confidence. And he helped fill that. And then he helped me get to the point where I could do things to fill myself up." 

However, public perception of the pair wasn't exactly positive and Shepherd was harshly judged for the scandal. In fact, Bogdanovich's producer told him he couldn't cast Shepherd in his 1976 film "Nickelodeon." He told Rolling Stone, "There was a kind of mood in the town." Clearly, the scandal did nothing to help Shepherd's burgeoning career.

Cybill Shepherd had three children and moved to the Valley

After her affair with Peter Bogdanovich came to an end, Cybill Shepherd married twice. First, she tied the knot with David M. Ford from 1978 to 1982, then, she was married to Bruce Oppenheim from 1987 to 1990. One of her main goals was to have kids — something Bogdanovich hadn't been interested in. "He already had two kids with Polly Platt and didn't want any more. I really wanted to have children," she told Ventura Blvd.

Shepherd had three children from her marriages — from her first, a daughter, and from her second, twins, a boy and a girl. Her children quickly became one of her main focuses. She moved to California's San Fernando Valley and began living a more quiet life. "I just thought the Valley was a better place to raise kids. The Valley is down to earth and my kids went to school here," she said. "Plus, I wanted to avoid the tour buses that you get on the other side of the hill."

Cybill Shepherd had an alleged feud with Bruce Willis

From 1985 to 1989, Cybill Shepherd starred in the ABC series "Moonlighting," a series about the owners of a detective agency. Shepherd starred alongside Bruce Willis in the show and, according to most accounts, the pair had a very tumultuous relationship. 

In his book "Revenge of the Nerd," their co-star Curtis Armstong revealed the nature of their working relationship — and, spoiler, it wasn't very good. "Bruce and Cybill were called to set at the same moment so that one would not have to wait for the other," Curtis wrote. On one occasion, Shepherd allegedly threw a briefcase at a wall during an argument with Willis (via Radar Online). 

According to Curtis, their feud might have been a result of a short-lived fling between the two co-stars. Shepherd herself has spoken of their initial flirtation. "I was very attracted to him," she said to Extra adding, "I would never act on it, 'cause we were both very attracted to each other." Still, Shepherd maintained that she has nothing but love for her former co-star.

Cybill Shepherd was reportedly hard to work with

Apparently, Bruce Willis wasn't the only one who struggled to work with Cybill Shepherd. In fact, over the years, she's developed a reputation as being something of a diva. "If anyone ever said no to her, they were gone," wrote Curtis Armstrong in his book. "That's why she was the way she was" (via Nine). 

Shepherd's co-stars on the sitcom "Cybill" have also spoken up about the actor's diva tendencies. "She kinda said some pretty mean things about pretty much everyone she worked with, as I understand," said Alicia Witt during a Reddit Q&A. Another co-star, Christine Baranski, told The Guardian: "There were issues, but I prefer to take the higher ground and say, look, that show gave me so much. I was fine working with her. Politically, it did get difficult, but I wish her well."

Howard M. Gould, an executive producer on "Cybill," even wrote a play loosely inspired by the experience of working with Shepherd called "Diva."

Cybill Shepherd was shocked that Cybill was canceled

"Cybill" came to an end after just four seasons in 1998. At the time, Cybill Shepherd was sad to see the show end — in fact, she had hoped it would run for much longer. 

"It was very unexpected. It was 'to be continued' at the end of the very last episode!" she later told Bullz-Eye. "It was because of the deal between the network and the studio." According to Shepherd, it was simply a money issue that led to the show's cancellation. She added, "The cancellation of 'Cybill' had nothing to do with the quality or anything. It was just over a deal."

However, in another interview, Shepherd confided that another reason for the cancellation might have been that she refused the advances of CBS producer Les Moonves. "My show could've lasted another five years," she said to SiriusXM. "He didn't make it easier. I made the right decision." Moonves resigned as CEO of CBS in 2018 following a wave of sexual assault and harassment allegations. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Cybill Shepherd appeared in The L Word

Cybill Shepherd kept acting sporadically after her sitcom ended, but her next big role didn't come until 2007, when she landed a guest role in "The L Word," appearing in 19 episodes of the popular Showtime series. At first, Shepherd feared that her fans wouldn't like the show that saw Shepherd in same-sex relationships. However, she was proud of what she did, telling TV Guide it was "some of the best work I have ever done."

She was originally meant to star in the show from Season 1, but she wasn't added to the cast till Season 4. "I was very happy," she told Bullz-Eye of the show. "They created a wonderful character for me."

As Shepherd went on to explain, her career had been dwindling before "The L Word" came along. "What has brought me back has been 'The L Word,' because...it's been hard," she confessed. "I've been fighting hard and, all of a sudden, now I'm working all the time, and I'm just so grateful."

Cybill Shepherd starred in The Client List

Another meaty TV role for Cybill Shepherd was "The Client List," which she starred in from 2010 until 2013 as Linette, a tough Texan. For the first time, Shepherd found herself playing an older woman. She took inspiration from older women like Eileen Brennan and Ellen Burstyn, whom she had worked with earlier in her career. "They were all playing these wonderful older characters in their prime," she told The Florida Times-Union. "And I feel like this is my chance to do that." 

Shepherd was also thrilled to be on the show because she liked its premise. The show follows a Texan woman and single mother who begins offering extra services at a massage parlor to make some extra money. "It's really about how difficult it is right now for women, especially if you're a mother, to try to support yourself," said Shepherd to Pop Culture Passionistas. "These are very hard times. There's not a lot of jobs out there, a lot of men losing jobs, a lot of women losing jobs. It's a story about how women struggle to survive." And she was thrilled to have a part in telling it.

Cybill Shepherd kept dating as she got older

Cybill Shepherd's relationship history may include two divorces but, as she got older, she didn't give up on romance. First, she dated Robert Martin in the '90s. "​​I consider myself married. I might as well be married except for the scary piece of paper that wreaks havoc," she said to the Associated Press (via the Deseret News) at the time. However, they split in 1998. 

"I have a number of men I'm seeing now," she wrote for The Guardian in 2008. In 2012, she told The Florida Times-Union that she was dating again. "Mum's the word. We've managed to stay under the radar," she said at the time. Later that year, she told the Daily News that she was engaged to Andrei Nikolajevic, a Serbian jeweler turned psychologist. However, the pair parted ways before tying the knot. A few years later, she told Entertainment Tonight that her broken heart led to her finding her faith. "There was a part of [my heart] that wasn't going to heal, and that's when I turned to Jesus," she said.

In Being Rose, Cybill Shepherd gave what she called her 'best work yet'

Cybill Shepherd continued acting throughout the 2000s, although few of her roles made a big impact. One of her biggest roles came with 2017's "Being Rose," a film about an older woman who, after finding out about a terminal illness, sets out to find her son. 

Although the film didn't exactly get good reviews, Shepherd was proud of her work. In fact, she told Venture Blvd it was "my best work yet." She added, "I think it is one of my best performances." Shepherd explained that, as an aging actress in Hollywood, she's had difficulty finding roles but that she hoped her performance in "Being Rose" would prove she's still got it. "I hope this movie will give me the opportunity to do more," she said. 

Though she was happy with her performance in the film, she did find that the role took its toll on her vanity. "It is hard to look at myself though," she said. "I don't love the way I look." 

Cybill Shepherd focused on performing in intimate venues

Throughout her life, Cybill Shepherd had always considered herself a better singer than she was an actor. After all, she began singing as a child in church before studying opera. As she writes in her online biography, "Music is my first love."

While Shepherd may not have had too many huge roles throughout the 2000s, she did keep making music and releasing live and studio recordings. 

She also continued performing live at venues like Vitello's in Studio City, which has a capacity of just 125 people. And even if the venues weren't exactly massive, she was happy. "I'm not trying to get out there and impress critics or anything," she said of her singing career to Ventura Blvd. "I just want to spend an evening with my longtime fans. It's a chance for us to be together and for me to thank them for being so supportive all these years."

Cybill Shepherd has been spotted out and about in LA

In more recent years, Cybill Shepherd has largely faded out of the spotlight — however, she has still been spotted out and about in her local area.

In February 2023, she was spotted out for a walk with her dogs in Los Angeles. The actor could be seen wearing a pair of jeans, a North Face jacket, a North Face cap, and carrying a cane.

As Shepherd told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2023, she is more than happy to spend time relaxing at home in between roles. "I put it all aside at the end of the day, go home and I'm just glad to be there," she said. And that home looks like a pretty luxurious place to relax between jobs. The property features a tall wall for privacy. Inside, the home features a soothing Cape Cod-meets-Southern-style design. She has decorated with memorabilia from her career, oil paintings, and a calming green and yellow color palette. By the looks of things, the quiet life in the Valley is agreeing with her.

Cybill Shepherd is still acting in projects like How to Murder Your Husband and A Beating Heart

Although Cybill Shepherd may be slowing down, her career is still going. In fact, in 2023, she starred in "How to Murder Your Husband," a Lifetime movie based on the true story of a romance novelist who was convicted of killing her husband. For Shepherd, the role gave her a chance to dive into a complex, tricky character — which was important, because at this point in her life, she said she needs "reasons to do a project." 

"I was fascinated by this story and then when I heard that Steve [Guttenberg, her co-star] would be doing it, I couldn't think of a nicer person to have to murder on TV," she said to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "He's such a lovely, wonderful guy, which made this role so much riskier and difficult to play because I have to murder this guy I love so much."

Shepherd is also set to appear in the upcoming horror film "A Beating Heart."

Cybill Shepherd isn't afraid of getting older

Cybill Shepherd may be getting older, but aging isn't something she's too worried about. Back in 2012, though, Shepherd explained on "Oprah" that she was struggling with the ways aging affected her. "Learning to love ourselves as we age is one of the most challenging things we can do," she confessed (via Total Beauty).

However, since then, she seems to have found a way to embrace aging. "I approach each age thinking this is the best time for me as a woman," she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2023. "I believe that if you love yourself as you age, it's easier to accept some of the changes." In fact, as an older woman, Shepherd finally feels that she understands the bigger picture. "Being older means you can truly avoid making the same old mistakes, plus you realize now that it's not about you, but what you can give back," she said. "Life now becomes more of a spiritual journey."

They say that wisdom comes with age, and for Cybill Shepherd, this really does seem to be true.