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This 1980’s beauty is unrecognizable today — 37 yrs after hit film that catapulted her into stardom.

I don’t believe I was the only one who thought about Kelly McGillis while seeing Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the iconic 1980s movie Top Gun. I was aware that she would not show, but I remained hopeful that I would see her.

Clearly, McGillis did not appear, although Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer reconnected in a highly poignant moment. McGillis claims that she was not approached to join the cast. In 2019, Entertainment Tonight speculated if the producers of Top Gun: Maverick had offered her a part in the sequel.

McGillis said that they did not and do not believe they ever will. She meant that she is old and overweight, and she looks her age, but that’s not the point of this scenario.

However, the 65-year-old actress did not appear to mind that she was omitted from Top Gun: Maverick, the blockbuster hit of 2022.

She said she’d rather be utterly confident in her own skin and in herself and what she is at her age than place importance on all those other things.

McGillis was one of just a few women in the 1980s who could earn million-dollar fees. In Top Gun, the renowned actress portrayed Charlie Blackwood, an astrophysicist and training school teacher.

As Maverick’s love interest, the blonde, long-legged, stunning actress created a lasting impact; her intelligent and beautiful persona became famous.

Christine Fox served as the inspiration for the character of Charlie. Fox was a well-known civilian flying instructor and mathematician whom the film’s makers met during their research.

Fox would go on to have a distinguished career at the Pentagon, attaining the highest position ever held by a woman at the Department of Defense: acting deputy secretary of defense.

Kelly McGillis’ casting as Charlie was rather coincidental. She was supposed to star in another film, but the project fell through. McGillis accepted the screenplay and traveled to San Diego for filming when Paramount contacted her and asked if she might do Top Gun instead.

McGillis’s part in Top Gun made her a sex icon, but she was also praised for her screen performance. Kelly enjoyed her co-star off-set as much as she liked him on-screen. The connection between Kelly and Tom Cruise was palpable on-screen.

During this time, people said that McGillis was like Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, and Lauren Bacall. However, Kelly could never take such a parallel seriously.

Although we know McGillis for her performance as Charlie in Top Gun, it would be unfair to solely discuss one film, since she has accomplished so much more during her life and career.

Witness earned her Hollywood breakthrough in 1985 with her portrayal of an Amish widow. After her breakthrough with Top Gun, she portrayed a fierce attorney in the controversial film The Accused. Throughout the 1990s, McGillis was cast in various television and film roles, but none of them were career-enhancing.

After that, the outspoken actress violated every norm and abandoned Hollywood. She declined the scripts handed to her, chopped her blonde hair, left Hollywood, had children, and gained weight.

After leaving Hollywood, she devoted her time to raising her two now-adult kids, Kelsey and Sonora.

McGillis fell in love with Fred Tillman, who had no ties to the entertainment industry, soon after The Accused debuted. However, Fred and Kelly had the same passions for sailing and beaches.

Kelly, who was born in 1957 in Newport Beach, California, and grew up with sand between her toes, believed she had met the guy of her dreams.

McGillis and Tillman wed, purchased a boat, and set off for Europe. The family eventually relocated in Key West, Florida, and built Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Grill as a family business.

But McGillis’ history seems to constantly catch up with her. According to the Top Gun actress, she did not flee to Florida to avoid her personal problems, but she did have a lot to cope with.

She drank excessively and was unsure about her sexuality. For over a year, she was a “disaster.”

McGillis and Tillman divorced in 2002. Seven years later, she revealed her sexual orientation in an interview. According to the actor, she had been coming out since she was 12 years old.

While managing her restaurant in Key West, McGillis met bartender Melanie Leis. Unfortunately, their relationship was unstable and self-destructive; both had drug abuse issues and entered rehab. McGillis was a heavy drinker.

Despite this, the partners in crime wed in New Jersey in 2010. Fred Tillman, the ex-husband of McGillis, attended the civil union ceremony.

In 2011, Kelly McGillis and Melanie Leis parted ways.

Kelly is said to now reside in a log cabin in the hills near Hendersonville, North Carolina. She keeps her gray hair short and prefers jeans, relishing her calm, joyful, and fulfilled existence far from Hollywood.

It seems, based on McGillis’s current appearance, that she has abandoned her acting profession. It has been a while since we’ve seen her on-screen; her most recent acknowledged role was in the 2018 television film Maternal Secrets.

As previously said, Kelly featured often in the press in 2022. Many wanted to know what happened to her and why she wasn’t cast in the sequel to Top Gun: Maverick because of her absence in that film.

Kelly was omitted because, according to director Joseph Kosinski, he intended to steer the picture in a new direction with other characters. According to Kosinski, her looks had nothing to do with it.

Kelly McGillis will always be the sultry astrophysicist to those of us who have seen her in her full splendor. In a film like the original Top Gun, a lady like her is an act that can never be duplicated. Period.

It takes a great deal more elegance and beauty for a woman to quit such an occupation in order to care for herself and focus on her family. This is the most astounding thing I’ve ever seen.

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