‘Dirty Dancing’ Star Jennifer Grey Had 2 Plastic Surgeries That Drastically Changed Her Face

Stephen Thompson
Nov 02, 2021
02:40 P.M.

Jennifer Grey was at the peak of her career when she got involved in an accident that almost claimed her life. Two years later, her career was nearly ruined by a failed plastic surgery. Find out more.


American actress Jennifer Grey has enjoyed a stellar career in Hollywood, which has lasted for several decades. She was born to actor-dancer Joel Grey and singer Jo Wilder. With such an experience, her early years exposed her to show business.

Drawing talent from her parents, Grey began her career alongside Patrick Swayze in the 1980s with "Reckless," "The Cotton Club," and "Red Dawn." Even though Grey made appearances in those movies, her career was yet to experience a massive breakthrough.

Actor Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in a scene of the movie "Dirty Dancing." | Photo: youtube.com/Movieclips

Actor Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in a scene of the movie "Dirty Dancing." | Photo: youtube.com/Movieclips



Grey continued to improve in her craft, and she finally received tremendous recognition after she appeared in the 1987 romance and dance film "Dirty Dancing." Grey played Baby Houseman alongside her onscreen lover Swayze, who starred as Johnny.

The pair's romance kept many fans glued to their screens and clamoring for more. Their performance not only made the duo fans' favorite, but it also made the movie a massive success at the box office.

Jennifer Grey during Opening Night of Wicked on Broadway at The Gershwin Theater and Tavern on The Green in New York City on October 30, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images

Jennifer Grey during Opening Night of Wicked on Broadway at The Gershwin Theater and Tavern on The Green in New York City on October 30, 2003. | Photo: Getty Images



After the movie, Grey's career gained traction, allowing her to appear in top-rated television series. One of those series was the all-time favorite "Friends."

In the 1995 series, the actress played the role of Mindy, a close friend to one of the iconic leads, Rachel, who married her Rachel's ex. She appeared in the "The One with the Evil Orthodontist" episode, and fans were thrilled to see Grey on their screens once again.


The Hollywood powerhouse had taken a break after her appearance in "Dirty Dancing," and her supporters highly anticipated her return. However, the fans were disappointed after seeing their favorite on "Friends" looking entirely different.

Many were accustomed to the beautiful looks of Baby Houseman, but the Grey they saw was barely recognizable, and it left them questioning if she was indeed the one. However, there was a reason for her epic transformation.



A few weeks before the premiere of "Dirty Dancing" in 1987, Grey was involved in a car crash in Ireland with her boyfriend and fellow actor Matthew Broderick. She was in the passenger's seat, and her beau was behind the wheel.

While driving, Broderick drifted to the wrong side of the road and collided with an oncoming vehicle. Luckily for Grey, she made it out alive, suffering a whiplash, but the accident claimed the lives of a mother and daughter in the other vehicle.

She fought through the pain, and in November 2010, she was declared the winner of the prestigious show.



The accident not only left the actress injured physically, but her emotions were also greatly affected. She could barely celebrate the premiere of "Dirty Dancing," and life after the launch was even more disastrous.

Two years later, Grey landed a role in the comedy movie "Bloodhounds of Broadway," starring alongside music icon Madonna. Sadly, the film received much criticism, leaving the "Reckless" actress even more depressed.



At this point, Grey decided it was time to take a break from acting. While taking time off, she underwent a botched nose job. She then had to undergo a second surgery to correct the damage.

The second surgery did more than repair the damage; it changed her entire look. She came out of the operating room looking unrecognizable, even to her friends. Rather than make things better for Grey, the nose job almost ruined her career.


She was no longer recognizable as "Jennifer Grey," making bagging movie roles almost impossible for the actress. In August 2004, she sat down with In Touch Weekly magazine and spoke candidly about the surgery and her experience afterward.

While speaking, Grey compared the overall experience to getting a tooth pulled. She said after getting the surgery, she never looked like herself again.


Years passed, and Grey still felt the impact of plastic surgery. She continued speaking about it during chats with different outlets, and in a 2012 interview with The Mirror, Grey opened up about it more. She said:

"I went into the operating room a celebrity and came out anonymous. It was the nose job from hell. I'll always be this once-famous actress nobody recognizes because of a nose job.


Grey still succeeded in landing roles in big and small movies, but her success was nothing compared to her achievements in the 1980s.

She appeared in the 11th season of the dancing competition, "Dancing With The Stars," but before then, she had one of the biggest scares.



Grey was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The tumor was discovered after she visited the hospital for a neck check-up. The actress suffered a neck injury after her accident and constantly experienced pain.

But this time, the pain was more excruciating than usual. Upon arrival at the hospital, the actress's doctor advised her against hitting the dance floor in the reality TV show.

Grey was told that she would get paralyzed if she fell while dancing. As she prepared to get her spinal cord fused, Grey's doctor noticed a lump on her neck years after the fatal accident.


Later on, the actress was diagnosed with throat cancer. The good news was, Grey's cancer was curable. Rather than going through chemotherapy, the mother of one went under the knife to remove the tumor.

Apart from undergoing surgery to remove her tumor, Grey had her spine fused successfully. Overall, she had four surgeries in three months, which she described as the scariest thing in the world.

However, it helped her face her fears, and in no distant time, she was ready to be back on the dance floor. Even though Grey was nervous about dancing again, she gave a hundred percent performance in the competition.



Grey fought through the pain, and in November 2010, she was declared the winner of the prestigious show. It was a surreal moment for the Hollywood star.

The actress said she could forget the pain, but the moment she was announced as the winner would be remembered for the rest of her life. Grey is now 61 and is living her best life. She is a doting mother to her only daughter, Stella Gregg.

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