Jennifer Grey Of ‘Dirty Dancing’ Fame Has A Mini-Me Daughter In Her 20s Who Is The Spitting Image Of Her Famous Mom

Jan 30, 2023 by apost team

“Dirty Dancing” was one of the biggest surprise film hits of the 1980s, and it catapulted its two main stars, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, into the spotlight. Prior to her rise to fame, Grey had other moments of success with “Reckless” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” While Swayze went on to have an illustrious career, Grey receded from the public eye. The film’s success was unexpected, which made their instant fame even trickier to navigate. Regardless, the movie has continued to live on as one of Hollywood’s standout hits from the 1980s and is still a fan favorite for many.

Grey left the spotlight in the decade following the film’s release. She didn’t open up about why that was the case until much later. After more than three decades following the release of “Dirty Dancing,” Grey opened up about a tragic car accident that changed the course of her life. Taking the time she needed to heal and find her passion for acting again, she did eventually get back into the entertainment industry. She has since continued to act in movies and television shows in more minor roles and even appeared on “Dancing With the Stars,” where she was able to show off her outstanding dancing abilities.

Today, Grey is 63 years old and looks absolutely breathtaking. While her personal struggles have made her story incredibly touching, Grey is now strong-willed and has plenty of confidence from her hardships. The lessons she has learned from her experiences are also something she wants to impart to her 21-year-old daughter, who has already inherited her mom's good looks. 

Jennifer Grey (1987), (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Grey was born on March 26, 1960, in Manhattan, New York. Being raised by two actors, it was no surprise when Grey herself found a love for the art. She is the daughter of Academy Award-winning actor Joel Grey and actress and singer Jo Wilder. Studying dance and acting at Dalton School in Manhattan, Grey made friends with a fellow actress, Tracy Pollan. She graduated in 1978 and studied at Manhattan’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre for two years.

It wasn’t long until Grey began picking up jobs in the industry. She first appeared in a commercial for Dr. Pepper when she was 19 years old before making her film debut in “Reckless” in 1984. Shortly after this, she also had a small role in “The Cotton Club.

Grey began finding more success for herself as she landed more jobs, with one of her most notable roles being the sister in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” in 1986, where she starred opposite Matthew Broderick. The film was a hit and launched Broderick into stardom. He later starred in “Inspector Gadget” and voiced the character of Simba in “The Lion King” movies. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” also helped Grey pick up more roles later on.

While Grey had worked with Patrick Swayze in the movie “Red Dawn” in 1984, she didn’t have as big of a role as him in the film. However, the two were equals in the 1987 hit film “Dirty Dancing.” The movie followed a coming-of-age love story between the two main characters, played by Grey and Swayze.

Jennifer Grey (1989), (Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

During an interview with Glamour Magazine in 2015, Grey talked about how she wasn’t sure if there would be chemistry between her and Swayze on-screen. “I didn’t think we had chemistry,” she said. “It doesn’t have to do with whether you like someone or not. It’s just you either have it or you don’t.” 

Grey’s opinions on Swayze changed during filming as she realized that they actually balanced each other out. “He was a great dancer and he was fearless,” she said. “His fearlessness with my fearfulness… together was like a marriage where you have two opposites. He’d do anything and I’d be scared to do anything.”

The movie didn’t feature any big stars, nor did it have a well-known director. It also wasn’t planned to be a big release, instead, it was meant to have a one-week-theater release and go direct to video. “Dirty Dancing” was such a success that it became the first movie to sell more than one million VHS copies. Meanwhile, the film’s soundtrack, a significant part of its appeal, was also incredibly successful, with the movie’s main song, “(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life,” winning both Golden Globe and Academy Awards for Best Original Song, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Duet.

“Dirty Dancing” catapulted both Swayze and Grey into instant Hollywood stardom and was a defining moment in Grey's career as it earned her her first Golden Globe nomination. Swayze also received a Golden Globe nomination for his part in the widely successful film, which defined both of their careers.  

Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey (1987), (Hulton Archive/Moviepix via Getty Images)

The actor went on to star in other films, like “Road House” in 1989 and “Ghost” in 1990. He was even given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997 for all his work in motion pictures. Unfortunately, Swayze had a few health issues over the course of his life, as he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and later had pneumonia. The star passed away on Sept. 14, 2009, at 57 years old. 

While Swayze’s career was consistent following the film’s release, Grey’s career path was a bit different. Grey suffered a few unfortunate events that took place just before “Dirty Dancing” was released. Her career didn’t come to a complete stop, but it was not as fruitful as it could have been. 

During the 1990s, Grey had two rhinoplasty procedures. While only one was planned, it went wrong, resulting in a second procedure being needed to correct the mistakes. Grey’s new nose drastically changed her appearance, making her almost unrecognizable, and it affected her career. Thankfully, Grey was able to move past the incident and even laugh at herself. She starred as herself in “It’s Like, You Know…” from March 1999 until January 2000, where she even made fun of her nose job. Grey continued to land minor roles throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, appearing in “The West Side Waltz” and an episode of “Friends.”

In 2010, Grey was a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” where she was partnered with professional dancer Derek Hough. Fans were able to witness Grey’s incredible abilities in dancing during her performance in “Dirty Dancing,” and her time on the competition show was no different. 

Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey (1987), (GAMMA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Despite having to overcome stress, exhaustion, and a few injuries while competing, Grey came out on top and won her season of “Dancing With the Stars.” She finally received the appreciation and acknowledgment she wasn’t able to enjoy when she was younger. Since then, Grey has taken on more acting roles, including parts in “Red Oaks” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Although Hollywood is well-known for altering the looks of its stars, Grey’s story is an example of how outside pressure to conform to society’s expectations can have significant consequences. Grey is still undeniably beautiful, but the features that made her unique were stripped from her face and ultimately played a part in stalling her career progression. Sadly, this was not the only setback the star faced that further pushed her away from the spotlight.

Grey was involved in a tragic car accident that would change the trajectory of her life and contribute to her never becoming the star she could have been. Grey was on vacation with her then-boyfriend, Broderick, in August 1987. Broderick had been driving their rental car on the wrong side of the road, and they collided head-on with another vehicle. 

The mother and daughter in the other car were instantly killed, while Broderick fractured his leg and ribs. Grey walked away with minor injuries but also with an overwhelming sense of survivor’s guilt. Broderick was charged with dangerous driving but eventually was convicted of the lesser sentence, careless driving, and paid a small fine. Unfortunately, though, the damage had already been done. 

Jennifer Grey (1999), (Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)

Grey talked about how the accident impacted her during an interview with Irish Central. “I became America’s sweetheart within five days of the accident,” she said. “The juxtaposition of that deep sorrow, the survivor’s guilt, and then being celebrated as the new big thing just didn’t jibe. It didn’t feel good to be the toast of the town.” The actress’s ambitions were never the same following the accident, and she stepped away from the spotlight.

Even years later, the accident has had an impact on how she sees herself and her current career trajectory. During an interview with People in November 2020, she talked more about this.

“I think one of the things I’ve understood as I’ve gotten older is how little I care what other people think of me,” she said. “What I’m mostly concerned about is how I feel about myself.” 

Grey, who was 60 at the time, also talked about what it’s like to age in Hollywood. “I really don’t give too much weight to chronological age, even though the world wants to tell you it means something,” she said. “But to me, it’s as abstract and random as anything, because I know a million people who are very young who behave like they’re ancient. I know my grandmother, who was 93 when she died, was dancing and making art and walking and living independently.” Grey explained that what really matters is what you do with your time on earth, rather than focusing on how long you have. “I think that it’s all about how you live, not how long you live,” she said. 

Jennifer Grey (2019), (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

After Broderick, Grey was romantically involved with other celebrities, including Michael J. Fox, William Baldwin and Johnny Depp, but eventually traded “I do’s” with actor Clark Gregg of Marvel movies fame. They wed on July 21, 2001, and welcomed a daughter, Stella, on Dec. 3, 2001. It’s clear the pair simply adore their little girl, as evident in a mommy-daughter interview Grey had with Stella when she was just 9. When prompted to list her favorite things they had done together, the youngster was full of love for her famous mom, as she said: “My favorite part of all was just being with you alone together. You can be an actress and a dancer and a great, funny, messy, nature-camping mom.”

In May 2020, Stella graduated from high school. Her proud mom paid tribute to Stella’s achievement on Instagram with an endearing photo, captioned: “so proud of your tenacity, focus and 🔥” Many fans commented on just how similar the mother-daughter duo looked: “Absolutely beautiful inside and out. Just like her mama,” and “Omg!! She is beautiful, she looks just like you!!”

However, in July 2021, Grey announced she and Gregg were separating after 19 years of marriage but had no regrets, particularly when it came to Stella. “We recently made the difficult decision to divorce, but we remain close and are deeply grateful for the life we’ve shared and the wonderful daughter we’ve raised,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

Not to be outdone, Gregg posted a sweet 20th birthday message for his kid on Instagram, in which he described her as “a beautiful, big-hearted miracle of depth and epic sass and you melt me in my tracks on the regular.” 

Jennifer Grey, Stella Gregg, Clark Gregg (2018), (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

In an ironic twist, it appears Stella is not the biggest fan of arguably Grey’s most famous role in “Dirty Dancing.”

“I think she saw it once. She did not like and it and did not want to watch it again. I don't know if she ever watched it again. (Laughs) She did not want see me dancing with anybody but Daddy and it bugged her,” Grey told Entertainment Weekly. However, she said Stella did take more to her memoir, “Out Of The Corner,” released in May 2022.

“She read my book, and that was the biggest thing for me. I wanted her to know what I went through before she was born. … It was really the reason I wrote the book, because I wanted her to have a kind of owner’s manual about where she came from. … Then she would quote things back to me that were helpful to her – I said, ‘You read it?’ And she goes, ‘Mom, I’m so proud of you.’ I was like, ‘This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,’” Grey told the publication.

She said she had dedicated the memoir to Stella because “I know what it is I want to impart and I know what’s most important to me,” and added, “I don’t even know if she will consciously make mental notes, but I hope that what people see is what it is to be a human and try your best and have enormous adversity.”

Now 21, Stella is the spitting image of her famous mom, who gushed about her on her 21st birthday. “This amazing human changed every cell in my body the moment i met her. ... she is my heart. … thank you for blessing my life with the light of your beautiful soul,” she wrote

Clark Gregg, Stella Gregg, Jennifer Grey (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

Do you think Jennifer Grey and her daughter look stunningly similar? What do you think about the struggles Grey has had to go through in the past? Let us know and pass this on to friends and family to get their take on it, too.

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