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Kirstie Alley Said Her Relationship With Patrick Swayze Was "Worse" Than an Affair

She fell in love with her North and South co-star in the mid-'80s.

Before she ever entered the bar on Cheers or he showed off his cha-cha skills in Dirty Dancing, Kirstie Alley and Patrick Swayze nearly had an affair, according to the former. After meeting him on the set of the 1985 miniseries North and South, Alley developed a connection with her co-star that she once called "worse" than an affair.

Then they were filmed North and South, the late actors were both married, but Alley said that that didn't prevent her from developing strong feelings for her colleague. After the fact, she opened up about how she got close to Swayze and why their relationship never became physical. Read on to find out more.

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Alley and Swayze were both married when they met.

Kirstie Alley and Patrick Swayze in "North and South"

Alley and Swayze co-starred in North and South in 1985 and its sequel, North and South: Book II, which premiered in 1986. The miniseries are period pieces set around the time of the Civil War.

At the time, Alley had been married to actor Parker Stevenson since 1983. (They later divorced in 1997 after welcoming two children together.) Swayze married his wife, writer Lisa Niemi, in 1975, and they were together until his death in 2009.

She fell in love with him.

Lisa Niemi and Patrick Swayze circa 1990
Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock

In 2012, Alley told Entertainment Tonight that, while things never became explicitly romantic between her and Swayze, she did fall for him.

"Both of us were married," she said. "We did not have an affair. But again, I think what I did was worse. Because I think when you fall in love with someone when you're married, you jeopardize your own marriage and their marriage. It's doubly bad."

Alley also shared that she was friends with Niemi, who asked her to speak at her wedding to the Roadhouse star, but that she wasn't sure whether or not Niemi knew what had happened between them.

Alley did try to initiate an encounter.

Parker Stevenson and Kirstie Alley circa 1990
Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock

In her 2012 book, The Art of Men (I Prefer Mine al Dente), Alley opened up further about her connection with Swayze and admitted that she tried to initiate a physical affair.

She wrote (via Entertainment Tonight) that after a night of partying, she told Swayze, "I want to make love with you. I just don't care anymore, let's just do it."

Swayze turned her down, however. "No. Come on, you're drunk," she said he told her. "Kirstie, you don't really want to do it. You're not that kind of girl."

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She claimed they shared a kiss once.

In 2018, Alley was a contestant on the UK series Celebrity Big Brother. A castmate asked her if she ever had an affair with any Hollywood stars.

"Not a consummated affair, but I did kiss two people," Alley shared. "I would loved to have had an affair with Patrick Swayze, but we were both married … I kissed him and I wished I could have had an affair, but I am a strong believer in fidelity."

The actor, who died in 2022, went on to explain how easy it is to fall for a co-star. "When you get on the road, and you're doing a movie, it's very easy to fall in love with your leading man," she said. "Think about it … we shot North and South for a year. So for a year, you're around this person. It's just hard, I think."

During the same conversation, Alley revealed that the other man she kissed was John Travolta, her co-star from 1989's Look Who's Talking. She said she loved him too and added, "If I hadn't been married, I would have gone and married him. And I would have been in an airplane, because he has his own. And let me tell you girls: It doesn't seem important that someone has a private jet, but it is. As you get older, you do not want to hang out in airports."

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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