While people called Kelly McGillis, 65, “fat” & blasted her for gaining weight, her former co-star Tom Cruise has been praised for his “fit body.”

    Actress Kelly McGillis became a megastar due to her role as a flight instructor in the 1986 action film, “Top Gun.”

    The actress went through several personal tragedies, including divorce, sexual assault, and the negative impacts of coming out.

    Despite all these struggles, including facing criticism for being fat, the actress has accepted the way she looks, doesn’t care about people’s opinions, and lives a quiet life with her grandchildren.

    Actress Kelly McGillis is famous for her strong acting skills and unique voice, which have been key to her success in Hollywood for over 35 years, where she starred in films, TV series, and TV movies.

    The actress came into the limelight in 1986 when she played the flight instructor who fell in love with Tom Cruise in the popular action movie, “Top Gun.”

    Kelly McGillis on the set of "The Third Twin" on November 9, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

    Even before starring in “Top Gun,” McGillis had done her share of voice acting and played in several other movies that earned her awards nominations. The actress was nominated for a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe for her role in the 1985 drama-crime series, “Witness.”

    Despite her acting prowess and award nominations, McGillis did not appear in “Top Gun’s” sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” which came out in 2020, leading to several people wondering what happened to her.

    As much as McGillis was absent in “Top Gun: Maverick,” the actress revealed in an interview with Yahoo! in 2013 that she had great memories from filming “Top Gun”:

    “Well, we partied a lot after work. Some people went down to Mexico and got in trouble down there. But we had a good time. We all hung out and played tennis and basketball, and it was just fun.”

    The actress also had only positive things to say about her co-star, Cruise, who she loved working with and described as terrific, sweet, sincere, genuine, and wonderful.

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

    After “Top Gun,” McGillis’ major appearance was in the 1988 film, “The Accused,” where she played a lawyer defending a rape victim. She received critical acclaim for her role in the film.

    When it was released, McGillis shared her experience with sexual violence, which was somewhat similar to the character she defended in “The Accused.”

    In a media interview, McGillis revealed that she was raped at knifepoint on February 1982 by two men who forced their way into her apartment.

    McGillis was later able to identify the men, and the primary attacker, 15-year-old Leroy Johnson. was imprisoned for three years. Still, the actress noted that the sexual assault left her traumatized, and without the help of her fellow students and teachers, she would have committed suicide:

    “The first few weeks after the attack, I could not eat or sleep. I twitched incessantly. I would gasp unexpectedly without being able to control.”

    The actress added that at the time the incident happened, she was living with a woman and felt that the attack was because of her being a gay woman.

    After her major role in “The Accused,” the actress starred in successful films such as “North” and in smaller roles in TV movies before she walked away from fame to focus on family, which she explained had become far more important than Hollywood:

    “My film career didn’t become a priority. I do love acting, I love what I do, and I love doing theatre. But I don’t know, leaving was not a major decision as to me my relationship to other people had become far more important than my relationship to fame.”

    McGillis also revealed that she left her film career to become sober and focus on her health. The actress had been diagnosed with the alpha one antitrypsin disorder, which is an inherited condition that may cause lung and liver disease at any age.

    Kelly McGillis and actor Peter Weller on the set of "Cat Chaser" in 1989 | Source: Getty Images

    McGillis’ love life also became public after she left “Top Gun.” In 2002, she divorced her second husband, Fred Tillman, a millionaire yacht salesman. The couple tied the knot in 1989. The movie star’s first marriage was to Boyd Black, a fellow student, in 1979, but they divorced in 1981.

    In 2009, McGillis came out as a lesbian publicly, and in 2010, she revealed her partner, Melanie Leis, a theatre artist. The two married in 2010, but the union was short-lived, and they divorced in 2011.

    During her time on “Top Gun,” McGillis was considered one of the hottest stars. The actress had a signature look of blonde curls. However, her hair later became darker and somehow shorter. This transformation did not distract the actress from her success in Hollywood.

    McGillis’s looks were a hot topic in the 1980s, and the actress was mostly associated with Hollywood’s biggest heavyweights. After encountering challenges and fluctuations in her life, the actress has transformed dramatically over the years. The “North” star’s hair changed from blond to gray, and her body transformed as she added weight

    McGilllis believes this drastic change in her appearance contributed to her being excluded from the “Top Gun” sequel. In 2013, when speculations about the sequel arose, McGillis was asked by Yahoo! if she was approached to star in it. “No, I’m sure I am way too old,” she responded.

    Despite attempts to live a quiet life, the actress became a victim of an unfortunate attack that took place in her home in North Carolina in 2016.

    In a separate interview, when asked why she was not called to co-star with Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick,” the actress candidly admitted:

    “‘I’m fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is, and that is not what that whole scene is about.”

    Kelly McGillis in Pasadena, California on January 11, 2014 | Source: Getty Images

    However, the actress, who also believes she was not invited to participate in the sequel because she refuses to undergo plastic surgery or dye her gray hair blonde, added:

    “I’d much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age as opposed to placing a value on all that other stuff.”

    Comments on social media and media houses have also been directed to McGillis’s current look, with people noting the actress is “unrecognizable” compared to how she looked in the eighties.

    On Twitter, she was criticized for having gotten “old and fat” and was even compared to Cruise who seemed to have aged gracefully.

    In another post, McGillis’ and Cruise’s old and recent images were featured, comparing their transformations. A user remarked in the comments:

    “Yeah, Tom Cruise got them good genes, maybe some work done. Kelly McGillis looks about 100 lbs. heavier and 100 years older. Old age sucks. I quit eating at 50 so I wouldn’t get fat.”

    Meanwhile, social media users praised Cruise for his good looks and congratulated him for maintaining his body just as it used to look in the 1986 “Top Gun.”

    One user said, “Tom Cruise at 59 looks so healthy. An inspiration to keep my body healthy and fit when I get older.” Another user admitted Cruise’s body was a must-have:

    “Top Gun is so good, Me and my dad agree that it was such a men’s romance film. Now I wanna Tom cruise fit body.”

    Despite these criticisms, some people have stood up for McGillis by terming the negative comments about her body as “misogyny.” Body-positive influencer Alex Light accused the media of sexism and preoccupation with women whose bodies are aging naturally:

    “Women are allowed to age, lose weight, gain weight, grow gray hair, dye our hair. We do whatever we want without it being scrutinized. Would this story have been as interesting if it was a man? I suspect not.”

    Light, who shared her comments on Instagram, added that women should be left alone to age and grow without people and the media passing harsh judgments.

    Kelly McGillis in Hollywood, California on May 17, 2010 | Source: Getty Images

    Regardless, the “The Accused” actor is unfazed by comments from social media users and media as she said she is not afraid of aging naturally. She added that it is not her place to live up to societal ideas about how her body should look:

    “Listen. At 43, I don’t give a s*** what people’s expectations of me are. It took me a long time to learn that it is a stupid way to lead your life.”

    The “The Babe” actress also said her agenda was to be like Jessica Tandy, an older woman who is secure in herself and does not want to look 30 years old for the rest of her life.

    McGillis, who used to have tiny legs and a killer waistline, added that she was glad actress Jennifer Connelly had stepped in to play Cruise’s new love interest in the sequel. Connelly is also a Hollywood star who starred in the Oscar-winning movie, “A Beautiful Mind.”

    McGillis, who is five years older than Cruise, left active acting behind to move to Pennsylvania in 2002. However, her career was kept alive due to her roles in “Mission: Impossible” franchises.

    After an enviable career in Hollywood, McGillis is now focused on her family, which she said took precedence over her film career:

    “I am in transition, moving into different phases of life. What became the priority initially was raising my girls and being the best sober parent, I could be.”

    McGillis is a mother of two children and a grandmother to two grandkids. Her children are Sonora Tillman, 30, and Kelsey Tillman, 32.

    The “Winter People” actress revealed she left the industry to figure out who she was. “It was very challenging for me to have any kind of sense of self or self-identity or real self-worth other than what I did for a living,” she said.

    McGillis said she hoped her next phase of life would consist of lots of outdoor activities as much as she was now a homebody:

    “I’m really rooted in my home life. I can’t remember the last time I worked. I feel really blessed that I don’t have to work, you know? But I get the option to work, so I’m really blessed in that way. Not many people get that option later in life, so I feel very lucky.”

    Despite attempts to live a quiet life, the actress became a victim of an unfortunate attack that took place in her home in North Carolina in 2016. The actress said she got home from a theological lecture to find a light on at her house and the front door unlocked.

    The 65-year-old said she was confronted by the intruder, a woman, who came at her screaming and attacked her, accusing McGillis of stalking her. McGillis ran outside and called 911.

    The two women fought, and the intruder grabbed the actress’s cell phone and threw it on the ground. The intruder, 30-year-old Laurence Marie Dorn, was arrested and charged with assault, battery, misdemeanor stalking, second-degree burglary, and misdemeanor theft.

    The actress revealed in a statement that the incident and the rape she experienced in college had pushed her to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon:

    “Not willing to be a victim again, actress Kelly McGillis has decided to exercise her Second Amendment rights and protect herself by getting a concealed carry permit.”

    After this incident, McGillis said she had now settled for a simple life. She noted that this life came with career sacrifices. “I am not willing to sacrifice the quality of life I have today so I can work. I have a very quiet, simple life, and I love that,” she revealed.

    The actress also said she loved acting, but she was at a point and age in life where she wanted to do something impactful:

    “Acting is my first love and my joy, but I’ve really been looking at my life and saying, what else is it that I want to achieve before I leave this planet?”

    Kelly McGillis in New York City on October 27, 2010 | Source: Getty Images

    McGillis, who once struggled with drug addiction, said she worked as a counselor in a drug and rehabilitation center in her home state. She added that she really enjoys the work:

    “I really have a yearning to live a life of loving service to God and to others, and I thought it was a way I could give back and be of greater service to others beyond just acting. It’s really incredible to see others change their lives and to give them hope.”

    The actress said she was content with her life as it is now because she had already lived an adventurous and wacky life, which she was grateful she experienced.

    McGillis now hopes to travel more and plans to take a pilgrimage to India. The actress also hopes to spend more time with her grandchildren. However, she says if these plans do not come to fruition, she will remain perfectly happy with her life.

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