Johnny Depp Felt ‘Trapped and Exploited,’ Says ‘Dirty Dancing’ Star Jennifer Grey

Johnny Depp is known not only for his appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise but also for the hit teen series 21 Jump Street. Depp became a 1980s teen heartthrob for many young fans.

Although Depp’s career was taking off, he reportedly wasn’t satisfied with how things were going. Here’s what his ex-fiancée Jennifer Grey revealed about the conflict she says Depp experienced at the time.

Jennifer Grey’s first impression of Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp poses at an event while wearing a black and white jacket.
Johnny Depp | Rich Fury/Getty Images

In her memoir Out of the Corner, Grey says she was awestruck when she first met Depp. She was taken aback by his good looks and effortless style. Grey says he had a breezy vibe that gave off the message “I woke up like this.” For her, Depp was an “angel,” and she wanted more of him. Although Grey was hesitant to get involved with a “teen idol,” she was so wrapped up in him that she agreed to an engagement two weeks after they met. (Johnny Depp and Jennifer Grey’s engagement ended with a note on the bed.)

Johnny Depp wasn’t comfortable with his ‘teen idol’ status

Grey says she could see how unhappy Depp was when she went with him to an event for 21 Jump Street. According to her, he “hated” attending this event. According to her, Depp felt “exploited and trapped in this teen idol machine.” He was constantly hounded by paparazzi and fans who couldn’t get enough of him.  

Grey says Depp wanted to move on from television. His true desire was to expand beyond teen shows and pursue a movie career. Grey saw how much potential Depp had to become a successful movie star. She saw his future so clearly that she admits she focused more on his career than hers. She described her dedication as “unwavering.”

Unfortunately, Grey says she didn’t have this same vision for herself. She describes focusing most of her energy on Depp and giving him the encouragement he needed to achieve his dreams. (Here’s Johnny Depp’s net worth and how he makes his money.)

Johnny Depp’s career exploded but Jennifer Grey was ‘broke’

Grey says Depp’s publicist worked hard to help him get to the next level in his career. She says his publicist, Tracey (also Grey’s publicist), was “on a mission.” Depp’s next high-profile project was the 1990 film Cry-Baby. Although Depp was still contractually obligated to finish 21 Jump Street, he was in a better position because he was making more money and he was the star of the movie, says Grey.

After a while, Grey says whenever the phone rang, her publicist wasn’t calling for her, but for Depp. She became accustomed to passing the phone to Depp whenever the phone rang. Grey says the perfect part for her still had not arrived. Some time had passed since Dirty Dancing, and she was still waiting for her next big break. However, it seemed like all the luck was going to Depp.

Grey says at this point in her career she was “really broke.” During a meal with her mother, the topic of plastic surgery came up (unlike Grey, Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham regrets not getting more plastic surgery). She says her mother told her she should just get her nose done because the entertainment industry was so competitive. After years of resisting, Grey decided to take the plunge and have surgery on her nose. Unfortunately, her career didn’t take off the way she thought it would.

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