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Facts about Kelly McGillis' 3 Marriages and Spouses Including Melanie Leis

Edduin Carvajal
May 23, 2021
05:50 A.M.
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“Top Gun” actress Kelly McGillis has had three spouses throughout her life. Her most recent marriage, to bartender Melanie Leis, was her shortest.


Born in July 1957, Kelly McGillis became a household name after portraying Charlie in “Top Gun” opposite Tom Cruise in 1986. Unfortunately, her life has been far from easy.

She grew up in Newport Beach, California, but moved to New York in 1979 – shortly after her parents kicked her out – to study acting at Julliard. It was also at the prestigious drama school that she met Boyd Black.

Kelly McGillis during a scene from "Top Gun" circa 1986 | Photo: Getty Images



Black and McGillis tied the knot later that year as she thought getting married could win her parents’ approval. Their relationship didn’t stand the test of time, and they parted ways in 1981.

That same year, she was robbed at gunpoint. Instead of getting afraid or running back to California, she considered it her initiation in the Big Apple.

Things worsened in 1982 when two men broke into her home and raped her at knifepoint. Although they said they would kill her, a neighbor called the police, and after hearing the officers’ bangs on the door, they ran away.


Kelly McGillis in London on May 15, 1985 | Photo: Getty Images


After a while, the actress could identify both criminals, and they were taken to prison. It is important to point out that the main attacker spent only three years behind bars.


The event left McGillis mentally damaged. For a long time, she couldn’t use the New York subway without gagging. She even admitted she would have taken her own life if it wasn’t for the support from her classmates and professors at Julliard.

Kelly McGillis in a scene of "Top Gun" released in 1986 | Photo: YouTube/Movieclips Classic Trailers


Apart from that, McGillis began considering that the sexual assault was a punishment for being gay. Her internal struggle led to alcohol and substance abuse, but she would also put herself in “demeaning relationships” with men as she thought she deserved it.

In 1988, Kelly McGillis accepted to play a prosecutor in the rape drama “The Accused” because she thought it would help her come to terms with her past.



In 1989, the actress and yacht salesman Fred Tillman walked down the aisle. That November, she made headlines after announcing she was expecting her first child.

At the time, she was taking a break from the film industry and was working mainly in theater. In June 1989, she signed a one-year contract with Folger Theater, but her doctors advised her to stop working during her pregnancy.

[McGillis] once said she’d been a lesbian most of her life.

Kelly McGillis and Fred Tillman on April 10, 1989 | Photo: Getty Images


In early 1993, Kelly McGillis and her spouse, who were expecting their second child, made an important decision: to walk away from Hollywood and settle down in Key West, Florida.

They even opened a restaurant called Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Grill. Sadly, their relationship broke just after giving birth to their second daughter as he allegedly was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer.

Kelly McGillis on September 17, 2010 in Toronto, Canada | Photo: Getty Images



At the restaurant, McGillis met bartender Melanie Leis. Although they hit it off relatively quickly, theirs wasn’t the healthiest relationship as they would often drink and abuse drugs.

McGillis only came out in 2009, but she once said she’d been a lesbian most of her life. The actress has been attracted to girls since high school, but it “horrified” her because “that wasn’t right.”

Kelly McGillis on January 18, 2013 in Park City, Utah | Photo: Getty Images


In September 2010, McGillis and Leis tied the knot in New Jersey after getting sober and divorcing Tillman in 2002. The new couple had also moved to rural Pennsylvania to raise McGillis’ daughters.

Kelly McGillis and her third spouse broke up in 2011, and it is unclear if the actress is dating someone else. At the moment, we rarely see her on-screen as her latest credited project was a TV movie called “Maternal Secrets,” released in 2018.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.


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