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‘Dirty Dancing’ star Jennifer Grey reveals she inspired Madonna’s “Express Yourself”

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Billboard Magazine

If you ever wondered what Madonna inspired her to write "Express Yourself," look no further than Jennifer Grey.  The Dirty Dancing star revealed she and Madge used to be close friends in the 80s.

"We did Bloodhounds of Broadway together," Grey told People of the 1989 film.  "She told me she wrote 'Express Yourself' about me breaking up with Matthew [Broderick]," whom Grey dated for four years after meeting on the Ferris Bueller's Day Off set.  She then dated Johnny Depp, whom she described as a "bonfire."

Grey clearly remembers what happened when she first heard "Express Yourself," saying Madonna "played it for me in her car. I was in my log cabin with Johnny and she said, 'Come into my car.' And I got in her Mercedes where she had a really good sound system and she was like, 'Listen to this song I just did. It's about you.'"

Grey said it made sense the song was about her, based on the lyrics alone.  She also said that she may have been subtly shouted out in the 1989 hit, with Madonna mentioning the name of her Dirty Dancing character, Baby. Grey notes the lyrics "You deserve the best in life/ So if the time isn't right, then move on/ Second best is never enough/ You'll do much better, Baby, on your own."

But, the actress isn't convinced the song is entirely about her, adding she recently emailed Madonna about her in-the-car confession and asked, "Did you just tell that to everyone?"

Grey did say "Express Herself" taught her a valuable lesson, which was that back then, "I demanded second best."

Grey later married Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actor Clark Gregg, whom she divorced last year after 20 years together.

Grey's memoir, Out of the Corner, arrives May 3.

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