One evening in 1991, struggling filmmaker Billy Bob Thornton spotted his dream girl outside an Italian restaurant in West Hollywood. “There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell of me getting your phone number, is there?” he drawled.
“He was charming,” says Pietra Thornton, who soon married the Arkansas auteur. They seemed to be a fairy-tale couple at last year’s Academy Awards, where Billy Bob won and Oscar for Sling Blade. But, according to Pietra, Thornton had a dark side. She sued for divorce last spring. Pietra considers posing for Playboy to be her own declaration of independance. “This is my Oscar,” she says.