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Sharon Stone Opens Up

She nearly died, suffered unbearable blows and somehow found bliss outside Hollywood

Adds James Woods: "Some ladies in the business are icons, but there's lots of spackling that goes on. Sharon rolls onto a set at 5:30 a.m., beautiful with sleep stuff still in her eyes. It's wonderful that as gorgeous as she is, the industry finally recognized that she's a really good actress."

That happened with Casino. Says Martin Scorsese, her director on the film: "Working with Sharon was a great creative experience because she wanted to get out of her comfort zone. She knew that was where she was going to find her character — and did she ever find her! It was the kind of experience you look for with an actor: a journey into unexplored territory to illuminate a mystery."

Whether Stone will revisit such an acting journey remains to be seen — but she's fine with that. "If I'm not going to be a big movie star again, then guess what? That wasn't my destiny."

These days Stone credits her Buddhist philosophies with easing her suffering. "I don't blame anyone else for what happened to me," she says. "But once you've had your life burn down, it takes time to be a phoenix. You have to stand in stillness long enough that the balls stop moving, and love and forgive yourself. At a certain point you can say, 'I also made a lot of great choices in my life. And now, if I want to put the balls back in motion, how would I do that?' " She offers a satisfied sigh. "What was an endless, desperate plea has become an endless, peaceful walk. I am so free, so blessed. I have the most gorgeous children."

She no longer beats herself up over losing custody of her oldest son. "You have to get over those emotions and be a good mother," she says. Roan comes to Los Angeles for monthly weekend visits — "My main concern is that I support him, love him, and am steady," she says. For his 11th birthday, she gave him her father's old tools and had a workbench built for him in the garage. On a recent visit, he built wooden armor for Quinn's tricycle.

"I'm loving raising my kids," says Stone, showing off pictures on her phone. "Quinn is in junior kindergarten, and he's very exclamatory! Like a little FBI agent, he tells you everything that's happening, so I call him Agent Quinn. 'Mom! Toots pooped in the yard!' 'Thank you, Agent Quinn.' And Laird is like a rocket. He came home with his violin from school yesterday and played it all night. He's a big romancer: When you talk to him on the phone, he's like, 'I'm in love with you, Mommy.' "

Stone thinks she's too old to raise another infant but wouldn't rule out adopting an older child, or, say, meeting a guy with kids and "incorporating his family into mine." Yet she denies seeking a romantic relationship. "I'm not just going to be with a guy so there's a guy in my life," she says. Besides taking care of her kids, she's got a few movie roles in the pipeline, she's writing lyrics with musicians, and her plate is satisfyingly full. But if, someday, a man shows up at her door and says, "I want you to be everything you ever wanted to be," she'll let him in. Otherwise, she says, smiling, "I'm good with just me."

You may also like: Sharon Stone's life in pictures.

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