Jennifer Grey lived the dream of every teenage girl of the 1980s on-screen.
From appearing in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with Matthew Broderick to Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze, Grey was the “it” girl of the 1980s.
Although she may not be the leading lady anymore, she is still an active member of the film industry.
10 Cold Hard Facts About Jennifer Grey
Jennifer Grey is best known for her role as Baby Houseman in the romantic drama Dirty Dancing.
Throughout her career, she has proven that nobody can put her in a corner or stop her from achieving her dreams.
Life hasn’t always been easy for Grey.
The lethal car accident that she was in is something that traumatized her and has always weighed heavily on her heart.
In her younger years, she also got a nose surgery that she would later come to regret, with no true way to go back.
Trouble struck again when her doctors found cancer as they were preparing her for a completely unrelated surgery.
Despite the struggles she has been through, Jennifer Grey has always kept her career going and uses the platform she is given to discuss topics that are near and dear to her heart.
To take a break from the silver screen, Grey began voice acting in children’s shows around the time her daughter was born and continues to do so to this day.
1. Proud To Be Jewish
When Jennifer Grey was younger, she never understood why so many of her peers made such a fuss about their Jewish heritage.
However, her opinion on the topic has completely changed since becoming a parent herself.
Raising her daughter inspired Grey to reconnect with Judaism, and she has chosen to raise her daughter in the same faith that her parents raised her in.
Grey really took the time to connect with the Jewish faith and community five years before her daughter’s bat mitzvah.
Jennifer Grey’s faith inspired her to work on Amazon’s Red Oaks, which is a historical show based around a 1985 Jewish country club in New Jersey.
Grey plays the role of a mother who must find her own identity and sense of purpose now that her son has moved out of the house.
Grey is joined by a cast that is mostly made up of Jewish actors, including Richard Kind and Paul Reiser.
Jennifer Grey decided to take the role because she related to the mother of a growing child, especially with her only daughter recently becoming a teenager.
Like her Red Oaks character, Grey slowed down the number of roles she was taking in order to have the time to raise her daughter.
As her daughter has gotten older, Grey realizes that she has to get back into the world and become her own person once more.
While on the set of Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey got to work with multiple Jewish actors.
Even Baby’s father, Dr. Houseman, was played by Jewish actor Jerry Orbach, whose father was a German Jewish immigrant.
The co-producer and writer of Dirty Dancing, Eleanor Bergstein, was also Jewish.
Dirty Dancing is based on her experiences vacationing in the Catskill mountains and the time she won a dancing contest.
2. Dated Johnny Depp And Michael J. Fox
During the 1980s and 1990s, were few actresses were more sought-after than Jennifer Grey.
Throughout her early career, she dated many fellow stars who were popular at the time.
Like many women during the 1980s and 1990s, Jennifer Grey dated Johnny Depp.
The couple never went public with their relationship and were very rarely seen together in public.
Despite the short relationship that they shared, the couple had gotten engaged at one point.
The wedding was canceled before many people even had the chance to hear about it, and neither of them has talked about the relationship since.
Johnny Depp wasn’t the only popular celebrity that Jennifer Grey has dated.
In 1986, Grey dated Michael J. Fox.
However, the couple only lasted about four months, starting their relationship in January and ending it by May.
Michael J. Fox would go on to marry Jennifer Grey’s best friend Tracy Pollan from Family Ties.
The best friends were such a close pair that they actually became pregnant around the same time and spent much of their pregnancies together.
During the fall of 1982, Jennifer Grey dated actor, Timothy Hutton.
Hutton would later go on to shoot a psychological horror film with Johnny Depp in 2004 called Secret Window.
From 1988 until 1991, Grey spent her time with William Baldwin of the Baldwin brothers.
They were often seen together at events for the movies they were starring in and the award shows that they were invited to.
From 2000 until 2020, Jennifer Grey was in a relationship with and eventually married Clark Gregg.
Gregg is best known for his role as Agent Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
After long consideration, Gregg and Grey decided that it was time to get a divorce.
Although they have separated, they’re still on good terms.
3. Was In A Lethal Car Crash
In 1987, Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey were still trying to hide their relationship from the public eye.
Although they had played siblings in the iconic 1980s comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the stars had incredibly strong feelings for each other and decided to begin dating.
The relationship was going well until the pair decided to take a private vacation to Ireland.
On August 5th, the young couple rented a BMW 316 to drive around as they toured the countryside of Northern Ireland.
After getting lost, the couple stopped to ask a police officer for directions and the officer was glad to give him a faster route to their destination.
However, they decided to take the long way to their destination while the police officer followed behind them for a while.
It had been raining and the roads were slick.
Broderick was also having a difficult time adjusting to driving on the right-hand side of the road.
Although the road had been straight, the couple crashed into another car that was going the opposite way.
The locals riding in the other car were 63-year-old Margaret Doherty and 28-year-old Anna Gallagher, who both died in the crash while Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey survived.
This threw Grey into a deep depression, and she dealt with horrible survivor’s guilt.
As soon as the crash happened, Matthew Broderick was immediately concerned for the well-being of the people he had hit.
Although his leg was broken and his face was bleeding profusely, all he could get out of his mouth when the fire brigade arrived was, “Did I hurt them?”
Only five days after the crash, Dirty Dancing was released and Grey became America’s Sweetheart.
However, she was too depressed to enjoy the success the movie had found.
4. Has Beaten Cancer
For years after her fatal car crash with Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Grey suffered from intense spinal pain.
Although her body ached, she was determined to be able to continue to dance through the pain.
Grey didn’t do anything about the pain until she was asked to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
During the pre-shooting checkup for the dance competition show, Grey discovered just how seriously she had injured herself.
Although Jennifer Grey seemed to have walked away from the crash unscathed, she had really torn the ligaments from the back of her neck and caused permanent damage.
Right after the crash, Grey suffered from headaches so intense that she couldn’t open her eyes.
When she would try to move any part of her body above the shoulders, her neck muscles would spasm.
Grey had been living with this pain for 20 years before truly discovering what had happened to her.
While at the pre-shoot medical examination, the doctor told Grey that she was at risk of becoming paralyzed if she didn’t get the proper surgery in time or pushed herself too far.
By the time she had been seen by neurological spinal surgeon Dr. Robert Bray Jr., her spine was falling off.
All it would have taken was one slip and Jennifer Grey could have been completely paralyzed.
While on the show, Grey was hospitalized after she ruptured one of her discs and finally agreed to have the surgery she needed.
While getting X-rays for the surgery, her doctors found cancer on her thyroid.
Thanks to the doctors’ early action against the cancer, they were able to completely remove it from her body before it could spread to any other part of her body.
5. She And Patrick Swayze Didn’t Always Get Along
There is no doubt that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey are both amazing actors whose talents would truly shine in the drama Dirty Dancing.
While the pair may make it seem like they can’t get enough of each other onscreen, they were prone to getting upset with each other and really only tolerated each other while on set.
Problems arose between Grey and Swayze before they ever auditioned for Dirty Dancing, rather occurring during the training for a prior movie they had done together called Red Dawn.
The action film followed a group of teenagers who band together when World War III breaks out.
For the film, the cast got military training and Swayze quickly took on the role of leader to reflect the role he was going to be playing in the film.
Patrick Swayze was known for being a method actor and often took his practicing for a role to the extreme.
During the training that the cast would do together, Swayze was especially harsh on his castmates and often got onto Jennifer Grey.
Grey had grown tired of how far Swayze was willing to push the limits of his actions and the relationship between them soured quickly.
When Grey heard that Patrick Swayze was going to be a part of the Dirty Dancing cast, she almost didn’t audition.
However, the role still called to her, and she decided to audition for the role anyway.
The production team of Dirty Dancing still believed that the two stars had excellent on-screen chemistry.
Grey later explained that having positive feelings for another actor doesn’t always translate into having good chemistry.
Instead, that chemistry is something that just happens by chance.
By the end of production, Grey and Swayze were on better terms despite never truly becoming friends.
6. Her Father Is An Award-Winning Actor
Jennifer Grey is the daughter of the award-winning film and Broadway star Joel Grey.
Grey and her father had always been close, even after her parents’ divorce.
Joel Grey is an Oscar and Tony-winning actor who is best known for his iconic role in the 1972 movie Cabaret, a role that originated from his time on Broadway.
Grey has also won a Golden Globe award and the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre.
Although Joel Grey was an excellent father and had always wanted children, he had not always wanted to be with a woman.
Joel Grey would keep his sexuality a closely held secret until 2015 when he was in his early 80s.
While the world may have not known about her father’s sexuality, Jennifer Grey learned that her father was gay when she was 27 years old.
Her father’s mother had been disgusted by this fact, but Jennifer Grey was still proud of her father and looked up to him.
Jennifer Grey saw her father’s decision to announce himself as a gay man as an action that took a lot of courage, and she was glad that he finally felt safe enough to do so.
While growing up, Joel Grey would often hear his mother discuss how gay men were being sent to prison.
Nowadays, Joel Grey loves to spend time with his daughter and granddaughter.
When he isn’t spending time with his family, he’s working as a director and making a career out of his photography.
7. Regretted Getting Her Rhinoplasty
Plastic surgery is a major step to take when you want to change your appearance, and Jennifer Grey learned what happens when the results aren’t what you were expecting.
Grey got her first rhinoplasty surgery in 1995, shortly before appearing on the popular sitcom Friends.
When Jennifer Grey first got her nose surgery, she didn’t think the surgery would make that much of a difference.
It was just going to be one small alteration to her overall appearance.
Grey woke up from surgery to find that her face was nearly unrecognizable, and her nose was completely botched.
Before her surgery, people would recognize her in public from a long distance away.
Ever since her surgery, she doesn’t get recognized in public nearly as often.
Grey went as far as to say, “It was the nose job from hell.
I’ll always be the once-famous actress nobody recognizes because of a nose job.”
After her nose job, she often felt invisible or as if she had been placed into a witness protection program.
It took her a few years to accept the change, even later having another cosmetic nose surgery to correct some of the damage that had come with the first one.
By the second rhinoplasty, Grey looked nothing like she did in all of her previous movies.
When she appeared on Friends, the only way fans were able to recognize her was by her voice and iconic curly hair.
Jennifer Grey compares her nose surgeries to having teeth pulled.
Once you have a tooth pulled, your mouth will never look the same again.
Even if you get an implant, it’ll never be your tooth.
Grey learned the hard way that it is important to value your personal features rather than trying to look like everyone else.
Being different isn’t a bad thing.
8. Voice Acts For Disney Channel
While Jennifer Grey had a young child at home, she was refusing to do jobs that meant she would have to leave home.
After dealing with the backlash that her nose jobs brought her, Grey was ready to try a new type of role.
To a young child, there can’t be anything much cooler than having your parents work for Disney Channel.
In 2008, Jennifer Grey began voice acting on the hit children’s animated show Phineas & Ferb.
On the show, Jennifer Grey lent her voice to bring multiple characters to life.
The first episode she appears on is The Monster of Phineas-n-Ferbenstein/Oil on Candace where she plays Dr. Gevaarlijk.
During her time on the show, she was only given one recurring character that was named Louisa Patel.
After Phineas & Ferb ended in 2014, Grey was off to work on Red Oaks.
Although Grey has yet to return to Disney for additional voice acting roles, she has worked with Dreamworks to release Duck Duck Goose in 2018.
The all-star cast includes stars from all over the entertainment industry, such as Zendaya, Jim Gaffigan, Lance Lim, Carl Reiner, Greg Proops, Rick Overton, Reggie Watts, Craig Ferguson, and many more.
Although she hasn’t taken on any more voice acting roles since, Grey has proven that her acting goes beyond physical movement or traits.
9. Attended The 2014 Women’s March
During the 2017 Women’s Rights marches, Jennifer Grey attended the Los Angeles march alongside more than 750,000 attendees.
Her outfit of choice for the march consisted of ripped jeans, comfortable cross trainers, and a homemade shirt that read, “Nobody puts p**** in a corner.”
At the march, she met Miley Cyrus and posted a short clip of them dancing together to Queen’s Under Pressure.
They weren’t the only female celebrities to make an appearance at the march.
They joined such Hollywood legends as Frances Fisher, Kerry Washington, Vanessa Hudgens, Jane Fonda, and even Jamie Lee Curtis.
Natalie Portman wanted to join the marches, but she had to support the protests from the sideline because of her pregnancy at the time.
While at the protest, many of Hollywood’s most famous leading ladies spoke on stage about the struggles they’ve faced and about what they believed should be done to help women get better treatment in the workplace, in the public eye, and in their everyday lives.
Across the United States, there were 2.9 million protesters who were fighting for the same cause as Grey.
The movement gained so much momentum that 100,000 people in London alone raised their voices and banners in support of the American protest.
10. Was In A Studio Ghibli Movie
Jennifer Grey had the opportunity to voice act in the Studio Ghibli film The Wind Rises.
Studio Ghibli is one of the most renowned animation studios in Japan and is regarded as one of the best in the world by film critics, creators, and fans alike.
In the hand-drawn film, The Wind Rises, Grey voices Mrs. Kurokawa who houses and helps take care of the main character’s wife while she is ill.
The story follows the life of Jirô Horikoshi who is an aircraft engineer who famously designed the “Zero” fighter, an aircraft used by the Japanese Army in World War II.
Through the story, you watch as Jirô and his wife, Naoko, suffer hardship after hardship.
The couple is only able to make it through the trials by the kindness of those around them.
Even as the community around them struggles, they still band together to keep one another alive.
Without the housing and medicine provided by Jennifer Grey’s character, Jirô might not have invented the plane that changed aircraft history and boosted innovation.