Jennifer Grey is opening up about the anxiety she faced during her appearance on the first season of Friends and how it hindered her from reprising the role later on.
During an interview with MediaVillage, published online Friday, the Dirty Dancing star recalled initially being excited when she got the call for the show because she was such a fan.
But once she got on set, that’s when things changed. “When I did it, I had such bad anxiety because they kept changing the script,” she explained. “It’s very hard to be a guest star because you’re not a part of it, and you’re really trying to figure it all out. They were trying to figure out what the character was, what the scene was, and it was changing, and changing, and changing. It all made me so anxious that I could barely do it.”
Grey took on the role of Mindy, Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) former best friend and maid of honor, who ended up having an affair with and ultimately marrying Rachel’s fiancé Barry.
After appearing in one episode of the hit show in 1995, she didn’t understand the feelings she was having but eventually learned that she “had a lot of performance anxiety, and I just didn’t understand at that time that I needed help in the anxiety department.”
The Red Dawn actress said her anxiety even stopped her from participating in other opportunities. “Like when they asked me to do Saturday Night Live, I just couldn’t,” she said. “I said ‘No.’ I was just too scared.”
Later down the road, when asked to reprise her role of Mindy, Grey said she couldn’t. “They got someone else to play the role,” she recalled. “It makes me sad that I would say no to continuing on Friends or doing Saturday Night Live because of my anxiety. The truth is, I wished I had people to help me navigate that kind of fear. But I couldn’t be there until I was there.” Jana Marie Hupp ended up being recast as Mindy.
Although she has faced many battles during her career and overcame several setbacks, Grey expressed, “In life, I always learn more from things that you feel like a failure at, and the successes, you don’t learn as much, although, they might be fun. But it’s all a part of life.”