Then: Jennifer Gray at the 1987 premiere for Dirty Dancing in New York City

Jennifer Gray admits regret over nose job


Jennifer Gray is opening up about her infamous decision to get a nose job at the height of her career in the early ’90s, and how she felt she wasn’t a ‘natural match’ for her Dirty Dancing co-star Patrick Swayze.

The 62-year-old actress would go on to have two rhinoplasty surgeries after finding worldwide recognition in the 1987 box-office smash where she played Baby Houseman – but her new look left her unrecognizable, with the actress now admitting that it led to her ‘losing her identity and her career overnight’.

Speaking about the reaction to her altered appearance, Gray recalled attending a premiere shortly after she’d undergone her nose job – revealing that her actor friend Michael Douglas had no idea who she was because she looked so different.

‘That was the first time I had gone out in public,’ Gray tells PEOPLE in an interview to promote her new memoir, Out of the Corner.

‘And it became the thing, the idea of ​​being completely invisible, from one day to the next. In the world’s eyes, I was no longer me.

Now: The star is pictured at a bash in Los Angeles last October

Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Gray has detailed her regret at getting two nose jobs after starring in the hit 1987 movie, saying the rhinoplasties led her to ‘lose her identity and her career overnight’ (pictured left at the Dirty Dancing premiere and right in October 2021 )

The actress, pictured in the movie alongside Patrick Swayze, has revealed that her mother encouraged her to get a nose job so she would be 'easier' to cast in movies

The actress, pictured in the movie alongside Patrick Swayze, has revealed that her mother encouraged her to get a nose job so she would be ‘easier’ to cast in movies

However Gray (pictured in 2019) says that the plastic surgery had the opposite effect, essentially leaving her unrecognizable

However Gray (pictured in 2019) says that the plastic surgery had the opposite effect, essentially leaving her unrecognizable

‘And the weird thing was that thing that I resisted my whole life, and the thing I was so upset with [was] my mother for always telling me I should do my nose.’

She added: ‘I really thought it was capitulating. I really thought it meant surrendering to the enemy camp. I just thought, ‘I’m good enough. I shouldn’t have to do this.’ That’s really what I felt. ‘I’m beautiful enough.'”

It has long been understood that Grey’s decision to get a nose job effectively finished her career in Hollywood, preventing her from ever reaching the same heights of that one bona fide hit movie on her resume.

In her book, Gray touches on being shunned from Hollywood, writing: ‘I spent so much energy trying to figure out what I did wrong, why I was banished from the kingdom. That’s a lie. I banished myself.’

She adds of the consequences of her nose job: ‘Overnight I lose my identity and my career.’

No chemistry: Jennifer also talks about how she wasn't a 'natural match' for her co-star Patrick Swayze (pictured together in 1987)

No chemistry: Jennifer also talks about how she wasn’t a ‘natural match’ for her co-star Patrick Swayze (pictured together in 1987)

However, Gray recalls in the interview how everyone from Andy Warhol would comment on her nose shape pre-surgery, with the artist remarking that her father, Oscar-winner Joel Grey, had also got his nose done.

‘There was only one thing [Warhol] said to me, about me. And it was like, “And, you know, I would look at Jennifer. I would wonder, you know, why was her… Um, her dad got a nose job. Why wouldn’t he make sure she had one too”, or something like that.’

She continued: ‘It’s like everywhere I went, I’d be like, “Wait. Excuse me. I’m a person with other features and other amazing characteristics. Why is everyone so hung up on the nose?”

But it was Grey’s mother, actress Jo Wilder, that really put the idea in her head as a young girl about changing her appearance.

Both her parents underwent rhinoplasty surgery and Gray hints that it was down to her mother not wanting them to look Jewish in order to be cast in a wide range of roles.

‘She was saying, “Guess what? It’s too hard to cast you. Make it easier for them.” And then I did and she was right. It wasn’t like, ‘You’re not pretty.’ It’s like, ‘Guess what? If you don’t want to be an actor, okay. But if you wanna be an actor…’

Opening up: Grey, 62, has written her memoir titled Out of the Corner, a reference to the famous line 'Nobody puts baby in the corner'

Opening up: Grey, 62, has written her memoir titled Out of the Corner, a reference to the famous line ‘Nobody puts baby in the corner’

‘But when I was a kid, I was completely anti-rhinoplasty. I mean it was like my religion. I loved that my parents did it. I understand it was the 50s. I understand they were assimilating. I understood that you had to change your name and you had to do certain things, and it was just normalized, right?

‘You can’t be gay. You can’t be Jewish. You know, you can’t look Jewish. You’re just trying to fit into whatever is the group think.’

Elsewhere in the interview, Gray talks about her late Dirty Dancing co-star Patrick Swayze, who died n 2009 at the age of 57 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Admitting they shared zero chemistry during filming, Gray said: ‘The same way Baby and Johnny were not supposed to be together … a natural match, right? And we weren’t a natural match. And the fact that we needed to be a natural match created a tension.’

Looking back, the star wishes that she could have gone about the filming differently with the actor.

‘I actually just had a thought about Patrick. I feel like if I could say anything to him now I would say, ‘I’m so sorry that I couldn’t just appreciate and luxuriate in who you were, instead of me wishing you were more like what I wanted you to be. ‘”

In her memoir, Gray also talks about dating Matthew Broderick in her early twenties, and later with actor Johnny Depp.

Life-changing role: The hit film catapulted Gray to stardom, but her career never quite recovered from her changing her appearance with rhinoplasty surgery

Life-changing role: The hit film catapulted Gray to stardom, but her career never quite recovered from her changing her appearance with rhinoplasty surgery

She talks about the ‘serious traumatic lasting effects’ of a fatal car accident in 1987 in Northern Ireland, where Broderick was driving and two people lost their lives.

‘There was some very, very heavy stuff that went down that changed my life forever and there was no one to blame,’ she said. On Depp, Gray hints at electric chemistry, saying: ‘There was some heat. It was af***ing bonfire.’

She adds: ‘I’ve never seen a guy like this. And energetically, what it was like being with him, it was like, “Oh, I’m being totally, totally compensated for the s*** I just went through.’

In 2020, Gray announced that was divorcing her actor husband Clark Gregg after 19 years of marriage.

‘After 19 years together, we separated in January, knowing we’d always be a family who loves, values ​​and cares for each other,’ she wrote at the time.

‘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. – jennifer & clark ps totally crying as we post this.’

The couple’s divorce announcement came just weeks before what would have been their 20th wedding anniversary.

Jennifer and Clark married July 21, 2001 and share daughter Stella, 20, together.

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