Molly Ringwald, John Hughes Didn't Speak for 20 Years
The actress finally received forgiveness – and flowers – from the filmmaker
John Hughes made Molly Ringwald the “It” Girl of the 1980s – though he was also capable of making her feel just awful, she revealed Wednesday.
Detailing their working relationship in a tribute to the late writer-director, who died of a heart attack on Aug. 6, Ringwald, 41, writes for the Aug. 12 edition of The New York Times, “In life, there is always that special person who shapes who you are, who helps to determine the person you become. For me, that person was John Hughes.”
Now starring on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Ringwald was a teen when she had leading roles in Hughes’s 1985 classic The Breakfast Club and 1986’s Pretty in Pink. But she now admits that she’ll “always be the girl whose 16th birthday is forgotten” due to her breakout role in Hughes’s 1984 Sixteen Candles.
“John saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself,” she observes. “Eventually, though, I felt that I needed to work with other people as well. I wanted to grow up, something I felt (rightly or wrongly) I couldn’t do while working with John.”
And this led to a schism between them. Ringwald says the director held grudges that “were almost supernatural things,” and she wondered if turning down roles in subsequent Hughes projects could have been “what he found so unforgivable” and ultimately led to her not talking to him “in more than 20 years.”
But 15 years ago, she wrote Hughes a letter, telling the reclusive filmmaker “how important he was to me.”
“A week after I sent my letter, I received a bouquet of flowers as big as my apartment from John, thanking me for writing,” she recalled. “I was so relieved to know that I had gotten through to him, and I feel grateful now for that sense of closure.”
• 1984: Molly & John make movie magic in Sixteen Candles!
• 2009: Molly debuts her twins in a PEOPLE exclusive!
• PEOPLE Covers: PEOPLE pays tribute to the stars we’ve lost