Even diehard “Friends” fans often forget that Jennifer Grey made a guest appearance on an early episode of the beloved comedy ― but the actor says there’s a reason why her run on the series didn’t extend further.
Grey said in an interview published with news site Media Village last week that frequent script changes “made me so anxious” that she could “barely” complete her scenes in the Season 1 episode, titled “The One with the Evil Orthodontist.”
“I was a fan of the show, and I got the call to do it,” the “Dirty Dancing” star explained. “Then when I did it, I had such bad anxiety because they kept changing the script. 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,” she continued. “I didn’t know at the time what was going on with me. But I had a lot of performance anxiety, and I just didn’t understand at that time that I needed help in the anxiety department.”
Watch a clip of Jennifer Grey’s appearance on “Friends” below.
“The One with the Evil Orthodontist,” which aired in April 1995, follows Rachel (played by Jennifer Aniston) as she reconnects with her ex-fiancé Barry (Mitchell Whitfield), who is newly engaged to Mindy (Grey). Soon, Rachel and Barry enjoy a brief fling just as Mindy is about to ask Rachel to be the maid of honor at her forthcoming wedding.
Grey, of course, was one of many stars to appear in a guest role on “Friends” over its 10-season run. Other actors who made appearances include Christina Applegate, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts.
The character of Mindy reappeared on a Season 2 episode of “Friends,” but she was portrayed by actor Jana Marie Hupp instead of Grey.
In her chat with Media Village, Grey confirmed she was asked to reprise the role, but felt unable to do so.
“It makes me sad that I would say no to continuing on ‘Friends’ or doing ‘Saturday Night Live’ because of my anxiety,” she said. “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.”
Jennifer Aniston (left) and Jennifer Grey in "The One with the Evil Orthodontist."
Though her “Friends” run was short-lived, Grey said being a part of the show remains an “incredible honor,” and she’s grateful that the experience encouraged her to seek help with her mental health.
“Everything you do in life, especially the hard things, the really painful, difficult things, are usually the things that are the most instructive and helpful,” she explained.
These days, Grey is experiencing a professional resurgence. Earlier this year, she appeared as real-life megachurch leader Gwen Shamblin in the made-for-television film “Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation.” She’s also set to resume her iconic role of Frances “Baby” Houseman in a long-gestating sequel to “Dirty Dancing,” directed by Jonathan Levine.