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Jennifer Grey Says This Famous Ex "Didn't Feel Comfortable" With Her Success

Her star was rising faster than his in the '80s, thanks to Dirty Dancing.

Jennifer Grey's memoir is titled Out of the Corner, not only as a reference to the line from her most famous movie, Dirty Dancing, but also because it tells stories of self-discovery. And one way in which the actor felt she was put into that metaphorical corner was through a relationship she was in during her 20s. In a new interview with about the book, Grey talked about dating a fellow artist who struggled with the fact that her career was progressing faster than his and why she stayed in the relationship despite realizing that.

Grey doesn't blame this famous ex now for how he reacted; instead, she sees their past as a learning experience for herself. Read on to see what the actor had to say about her former relationship.

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Grey dated her Ferris Bueller co-star.

Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey at the 1987 Oscars
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Grey got together with Ferris Bueller's Day Off co-star Matthew Broderick when they played brother and sister in the 1986 film.

"I was as surprised as anyone when our relationship morphed from on-screen sibling rivalry to off-screen illicit romance," Grey writes in Out of the Corner (via the New York Post). According to her, Broderick was in a relationship with someone else at the time. "I realized I was in love with Matthew and told him I couldn't see him anymore," she continues. But then, he "promptly broke up with his 'close family friend' and we were together."

The pair dated—and were even briefly engaged—until 1988. Grey later married actor Clark Gregg in 2001. The couple welcomed a daughter, Stella Gregg, together, and divorced in 2021.

Grey says Broderick told her she wouldn't be cast in Dirty Dancing.

Jennifer Grey and Matthew Broderick at a benefit for The Writer's Theater in 1987
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In her book, Grey writes that on the night before her audition for Dirty Dancing, Broderick told her he didn't think she'd get the part.

"He said this odd thing, as if to reassure himself, like he wasn't aware he was using his 'out loud voice,'" she writes. She says he told her, "I don't know what I'm worried about. There's no way you're gonna get it. I'm sure they're seeing everybody for this part."

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She doesn't think he was "comfortable" with her career.

Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Grey, and Joel Grey at the premiere of "Burn This" in 1987
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

"To me, it's love, it felt like love. It was like a like an imprinting," Grey told the Los Angeles Times of the relationship with Broderick. "Some part of me was addicted to that dynamic of being with somebody who didn't feel comfortable with me blowing up and getting to where I was going. And some part of me felt that I deserved it. And that's what I'm trying to get out in the book. Not that he was bad because he wasn't. It was me. I could have been with anybody, and that's what I picked. I could have left but I stayed because I agreed with it. I colluded with that because it actually felt like home."

Grey shares similar words in her book. "Matthew just felt like my guy [and] he felt like home," she writes. But, she added of his personality at the time, "He was a 24-year-old who could easily slip into the persona of a cranky old guy when it suited him."

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Grey noticed her relationship was part of a pattern in her family.

Jennifer Grey at the premiere of "Captain Marvel" in 2019
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Grey told the Los Angeles Times, that she was determined not to follow in her mother's footsteps but realized that she was in a similar relationship to her parents. Grey's mother is former actor and singer Jo Wilder, and her father is actor Joel Grey.

"My mom worked with [feminist and political activist] Gloria Steinem, yet she had given up herself and was so torn up about it and tortured and sad and depressed and confused how this happened to her, because this was not going to happen to her because she saw it happen to her mother," Grey said. "And then I'm like, 'I'm not going to do that, I'm not going to ever do that. I'm going to pursue my career, I am not going to let this happen,' and then I find a guy who doesn't want me to be successful, not so dissimilar from my dad. And not consciously; he's not a bad guy."

She added, "Why am I attracted to that person of all the people in the world? And why am I letting it affect me? Why am I staying? Why does that feel OK? To me, that's what the book is about."

Grey said that she was nervous writing the book and featuring people who were in her life, like Broderick, because "it's not about dragging somebody in the mud." She explained, "I don't think anybody has the same reflection of moments in their lives. We're talking about 30 years ago. We're talking about ancient history."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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