One of the most iconic pop songs of all time was inspired by a celebrity breakup.
In an interview with People, “Dirty Dancing” star Jennifer Grey opened up about her career and how her love life inspired Madonna’s “Express Yourself”.
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Looking back on how her career fizzled after some early success, Grey admitted, “I spent so much energy trying to figure out what I did wrong, why I was banished from the kingdom. That’s a lie. I banished myself. I hadn’t seen the way in which I made choices.”
In 1986, Grey auditioned for “Dirty Dancing”. She was dating “Ferris Bueller” co-star Matthew Broderick at the time, when she was cast alongside Patrick Swayze.
“The same way Baby and Johnny were not supposed to be together, we weren’t a natural match,” Grey recalled. “And that created a tension which made the movie work.”
She adds of the late actor, “I feel like if I could say anything to him now, I would say, ‘I’m so sorry that I couldn’t just appreciate and luxuriate in who you were.'”
After ending her engagement to Broderick, the actress began dating Johnny Depp.
“It was like a f**king bonfire. But none of my friends knew who he was. We didn’t watch that TV show,” Grey said. “Madonna didn’t watch ’21 Jump Street’!”
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In fact, Madonna, who was a friend of Grey’s at the time, revealed to her that she wrote her song “Express Yourself” about her breakup from Broderick.
“We did ‘Bloodhounds of Broadway’ together,” Grey said. “She told me she wrote ‘Express Yourself’ about me breaking up with Matthew.”
She continued, “She played it for me in her car. I was in my log cabin with Johnny and she said, ‘Come into my car.’ And I got in her Mercedes where she had a really good sound system and she was like, ‘Listen to this song I just did. It’s about you.'”
Grey actually contacted Madonna recently.
“I wrote her an email where I asked, ‘Did you just tell that to everyone?'” she said.