Jennifer Grey: ‘I believe that the second half of a woman’s life is the best half’

Jennifer Grey has a memoir coming out called Out of the Corner. The title is a nod to arguably the most famous line from her film Dirty Dancing, “Nobody put Baby in the Corner.” That’s cute. Jennifer has had a very interesting life. Her parents are famous, notably her father being Oscar winner Joel Grey. Apparently, Jennifer hung out with Andy Warhol and the gang at The Factory as a teen. And although she attended ‘regular’ high school, she was just biding her time until she could get back to the business. She had to grow up pretty fast. Her memoir sounds interesting and self reflective. She discusses her romances with Matthew Broderick and Johnny Depp and making Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze. In a recent People interview it’s obvious how much reflection Jennifer has done. So it makes sense that she would see this, her second half of life, as her best, because it’s the most honest.

On her double life at 16: Yes, there was lots of drugs and drinking. All the time. I had a boyfriend, we were out at clubs at night. I would change at his house and go to school. I was living a double life. I am like just trying to get through the high school years so that I can get on with my life because I am not dating guys my age. I am not interested… I never dated a teenager in my life. I don’t think I ever even kissed a teenager.

The good girl who is not allowed to be anything but perfect, so she’s got to hide this whole other experience, which is really individuating. It’s like natural to being too close to your parents and too good and too… You know? I didn’t hate them. I love them. Because they were so fucking cool. But they were also controlling. Just perfectionism. There was a perfectionism and expected perfectionism. The standards were high. Everyone around me was very successful. That was a lot of pressure.

On the second half of her life: I believe in my heart that the second half of a woman’s life is the best half. I can’t speak to a man as I’ve never been one, but I will tell you that my experience is the second half is the best half. I’m sure of it. I’ve never felt what I’m feeling these days. It gets disrupted by doing press, by getting hair and makeup done, getting glam and styled. (It’s not like doing press in the ’80s though!) But it turns out I like to write. I like to have a little control. I like to just be right sized. It just feels peaceful, It’s not doing the press of the ’80s.

On a Dirty Dancing sequel: It was lightning in a bottle, it’s like this thing happened, and it’s so beautiful, and I can’t explain it. No one can explain it. We’re working on this sequel, I’m working on it with Lionsgate and working on the script. We’ve been working on it for a couple of years. And I know in my heart, I would love to give fans or a young, new audience an experience that would never replicate that, but has the same kind of underpinnings. Today people think that their identity is limited, the world has told them what it is. But there are certain people who can see other parts of you. Dirty Dancing was a fairy tale, a successful movie and formula, using dance as a metaphor for embodying your energy and getting out of your head, and your limiting belief systems.

[From People]

Jennifer divorced her husband, Clark Gregg, in 2020. They’d been married for 19 years. It sounds like she’s been operating as an adult much longer than most people as well as never being on her own. This is probably the first time she’s been able to sit back, breathe and move to her own music. I agree to an extent that this second half of life is great. Except that I, a non-famous person, am finally confident enough to speak up and feel like I have something to say, but am at an age that no one is listening anymore. But, I agree with Jennifer that women have confidence at this age and live more authentically.

Jennifer spoke a lot about her nose and the decision to get two nose jobs. She corrected the story that Hollywood shunned her after the procedure, saying she did it to herself. Apparently keeping her nose had been very important to her and everyone had opinions on her ‘fixing’ it. She also retold the story of her and Patrick. I’d always heard they met on Red Dawn and hated each other. Then met again on Dirty Dancing and became very good friends. But in this interview, she said they never meshed that well. She reflects on him fondly, but doesn’t pretend it was more than it was. Jennifer clears the air on a lot of her past, and, as I mentioned, she’s processed much of it and made peace with it. If she means that the second half of our lives is the authentic half, then absolutely that’s the best half.

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12 Responses to “Jennifer Grey: ‘I believe that the second half of a woman’s life is the best half’”

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  1. Trina says:

    I keep seeing Jenny Slate when I look at that younger picture of her.

    • Orangeowl says:

      I can kinda see that now that you mention it. I remember so vividly when her face became completely unrecognizable, it was surreal to me.

      I’m glad to hear she wasn’t shunned, but also sad that she felt she had to hide. I’m happy she’s doing so well now. She’s so talented. Iconic in Ferris Bueller, too, and more recently she was great in Red Oaks, just a gem of a show that I love to recommend to everyone.

  2. AmyB says:

    I completely get what she is saying! I am 52, and I wish I had the self-awareness, and self-love I do now when I was younger. But that is the journey! Truly. I left an unhealthy marriage and am a single mother to my now 21-year daughter in college now. Life wasn’t easy, but I am proud of the choices I made…now lol. Took years of therapy, overcoming an eating disorder, and other difficult childhood issues, but so worth it. All of that is not for the faint of heart, but I would rather live an authentic life, like Jennifer said. I am comfortable in my own skin now, even if it is not as thin and youthful as my 20 something self (when I literally did hate/starve myself). I love that I can embrace all sides to me now!

  3. Ines says:

    It’s true what they say: life begins at 40.

    • Bettyrose says:

      It absolutely does! My life before 40 was so filled with anxiety, doubt, anger … I never felt that I could control my own destiny and stop letting the scars of my youth define me until after 40. Screw Hollywood and Madison Ave and all the influences saying we peak at 30. No way. We aren’t even fully formed yet.

    • TheFarmer'sWife says:

      Even better at 50! And, as I’m turning 60 this year, I can honestly say: there’s no time like the present to do the things I truly want and need to. Regardless of your age learn to say no! Shockingly, no one dislikes you, they just move on to ask the next person.

      • bettyrose says:

        Learn to say no is so important! I am so protective of my private time at this point.

  4. Driver8 says:

    I agree that you become more comfortable with yourself as you get older and that is great. But I hate the health problems that come with aging. I’m just as crazy as I was in my 20s but at least then, I was hot and free and more people wanted to fuck me, lol

    Can’t wait to read her book.

  5. R says:

    So depressing about other people pressuring her about her nose. I was working at a juice bar in L.A. and she talked with me a bit. She was very sweet.

  6. Chaine says:

    she was one of my idols when i was in high school and she was so gorgeous, perfect! it was heartbreaking what the nose job did to her whole look. i’m glad she is at peace with herself now.

  7. Twin Falls says:

    Perspective is everything but it would be nice if the second half of a woman’s life was amazing after a good first half and not just in relation to an agonizing first half…. Better than never ending shit until we die, so glass half full and all, but still. Patriarchy sucks.

  8. Dashen’ka says:

    I believe the kids say this is “cope”? Sorry, maybe if you are not with illnesses etc. My life gets worse, sicker and sicker and weaker. Usually this is norm.