Jennifer Grey is one tough cookie.
The beautiful brunette — of “Dirty Dancing” fame — is gearing up for Season 11 of “Dancing with the Stars” with professional partner Derek Hough, but the graceful star revealed “Dancing” would not have been possible had she not undergone multiple neck surgeries.
“I have a plate on my neck,” the 50-year-old actress told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson of her history with neck problems, at a rehearsal with the couple on Friday. “I had my neck fused.”
The former “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” star told Shaun that she has undergone four neck surgeries in the past year (due to a very serious 1987 car accident), with three of the operations taking place within a three-month span.
“It feels better than it’s felt in 23 years,” Jennifer said, of the surgeries’ successes. “Because I literally was like…”
“Her neck was like hanging off of her head, literally,” Derek interjected.
“My head was like hanging off in the wrong direction,” she continued. “But I didn’t even know, so I actually felt better than I’ve ever felt and that’s part of why I wanted to do [the show]. I haven’t been able to dance or do anything physical like this for 23 years.”
Derek said Jennifer’s recovery has been remarkable.
“The doctor came in and had seen her before,” the two-time “Dancing” champ told Shaun. “He said, ‘Wow, this isn’t the same woman I’ve seen months ago because before she couldn’t even look up properly. Now she is turning and doing things!’”
Despite her physical setbacks, Jennifer is feeling great, and does not believe her past injuries will reduce her chances of taking home the coveted mirrorball trophy.
“You know, I just feel more solid than I’ve felt in so long,” the actress said. “I’m actually pain free, except for the normal aches and pains of a 50 year old, being run around by a 25 year old!”
Jennifer and Derek will make their “Dancing” debut on the two-hour season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday, September 20 at 8 PM on ABC.