Jennifer Grey Says Turning 60 Was 'Amazing': 'I Don't Give Too Much Weight to Chronological Age'

"I know a million people who are very young who behave like they're ancient," says the Dirty Dancing star

jennifer grey
Jennifer Grey.

Jennifer Grey turned 60 in late March, just as people around the world began to go into lockdown mode due to the coronavirus pandemic. But as the Dirty Dancing star tells PEOPLE, she didn't have a big celebration planned anyhow.

"I really don’t give too much weight to chronological age, even though the world wants to tell you it means something," she says in this week's issue. "But to me, it’s as abstract and random as anything, because I know a million people who are very young who behave like they’re ancient. I know my grandmother, who was 93 when she died, was dancing and making art and walking and living independently. I think that it’s all about how you live, not how long you live."

Grey —who partnered with Celltrient Cellular Nutrition from Néstle Health Science, a new portfolio of nutritional beverages and supplements designed to work within cells to help renew and restore cells' natural processes — has faced her share of dramatic ups and downs since playing wide-eyed romantic Baby Houseman in 1987's Dirty Dancing.

After rhinoplasty surgeries in the early '90s changed her look, she says casting directors stopped calling. ("I went in the operating room a celebrity and came out anonymous," she has said of the effect on her career.)

Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. Snap/Shutterstock
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Newly divorced from actor Clark Gregg after a 19-year marriage (they share daughter Stella, 18), and gearing up to reprise her role as Baby in a much-anticipated sequel to Dirty Dancing, Grey says she has no regrets about her past.

"Your self-esteem shouldn’t be attached to being perfect or judged," she says of what she’s learned with age. "What if we all just did what makes us happy?"

"I think one of the things I’ve understood as I’ve gotten older is how little I care what other people think of me," she continues. "What I’m mostly concerned about is how I feel about myself."

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