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What Kelly McGillis From Top Gun Looks Like Today

The 1986 release of Top Gun placed actress Kelly McGillis firmly in the '80s the pop culture zeitgeist. Her role as Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood, the astrophysicist and civilian instructor at the TOPGUN flight school, won viewers over — as did her on-screen romance with Tom Cruise's U.S. Naval Aviator character Pete "Maverick" Mitchell. When word got out that Paramount Pictures was readying a Top Gun sequel to take flight, many wondered what McGillis has been up to in the 23 years since Top Gun soared into cinemas. Here's what Kelly McGillis from Top Gun looks like today. 

Now 62, McGillis has maintained a solid career in film and television since her memorable turn in Top Gun, landing roles in movies like the fantasy-comedy Made in Heaven, the Jodie Foster-starring legal drama The Accused, the Babe Ruth biopic aptly entitled The Babe, the horror flicks Supergator and We Are What We Are, and the female-led thriller Maternal Secrets, which debuted in 2018. Her television credits include One Life to Live, Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Framing, Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twister, The Wild Thornberrys, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, The L Word, Z Nation, and An Uncommon Grace.

Clearly, McGillis has continued to impress casting agents over the years and hasn't fully stepped out of the Hollywood limelight. She's even lined up to star in director Robert Manciero's Annie Cook, a film adaptation of Nellie Snyder Yost's Evil Obsession, a biography of the Midwest crime queen who "terrorized a Nebraska town for decades and controlled everything from gambling, prostitution and alcohol to local politicians and police." McGillis is set to play the title character in the film, which is sadly without a release date as of this writing. 

McGillis' personal life has been just as eventful as her professional career. She has two daughters, Kelsey Lauren and Sonora Ashley, with her second husband, Fred Tillman, whom she divorced in 2002. Seven years after splitting with Tillman, McGillis came out as gay while speaking in an interview with SheWired vlogger Jennifer Corday. The actress, who appeared as a closeted colonel named Gillian Davis on The L Word, said at the time that she was "done with the man thing" and that she "needs to move on in life."

"That's another part of being true to yourself," McGillis said, adding that it was a challenge for her to accept herself, as she was fearful of how her sexuality would impact her religious beliefs. She later noted, "Life is a freaking journey, and it's about growing and changing, and coming to terms with who and what you are, and loving who and what you are."

From 2010 to 2011, McGillis was in a civil union with Philadelphia sales executive Melanie Leis. The two had met in 2000, when Leis was bartending at a Key West restaurant McGillis owned with Tillman, Kelly's Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery. The Floridian eatery kept McGillis busy until the summer of 2017, when she and Tillman sold it. Sadly, McGillis faced a tragedy the summer prior, when a woman named Laurence Marie Dorn broke into her home and assaulted her

McGillis has since been occupying her free time by teaching acting at The New York Studio for Stage and Screen NYS3, which isn't far from her log cabin home in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Prior to moving to North Carolina, she also worked at the New Jersey-based Seabrook House Drug Alcohol Rehab Center, where she aided drug addicts and alcoholics on their journey to recovery.

The Top Gun alum obviously hasn't had trouble finding work. But will she be in the new Top Gun movie? Unfortunately, she won't

McGillis recently opened up in an interview with Entertainment Tonight and revealed that she wasn't asked to return for Top Gun: Maverick. Instead, Maverick's love interest will be played by Jennifer Connelly. McGillis admitted that she feels too old and out of shape to be in Top Gun: Maverick, and she suspects her appearance is the biggest reason why she wasn't asked to reprise her role as Charlie Blackwood.

"I'm old and I'm fat and I look age-appropriate for what my age is, and that is not what [Hollywood] is about," she said. "But... I'd much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age as opposed to placing a value on all that other stuff."

McGillis doesn't seem too upset about not being a part of Top Gun: Maverick, though, as she noted her family and her friends mean more to her than fame ever could. 

"I love acting, I love what I do, I love doing theater, but I don't know. To me, my relationships to other people became far more important than my relationship to fame," said McGillis, who later shared that her biggest role ever was to be a mother. She knew that Hollywood wasn't the greatest environment in which to raise a child, and it certainly wasn't helping her recover from her own addiction. "It was very challenging for me to have any kind of sense of self or self-identity or real self-worth other than what I did for a living. And it just — it didn't become a priority; what became the priority initially was raising my girls and being the best sober parent I could be."

Of course, McGillis hasn't given up acting for good and is still dedicated to making a difference in her community. Though the Top Gun: Maverick team passed up on the opportunity to bring her back and make the sequel one big reunion, McGillis has a bright future — both on and off screen — ahead.