Over 20 years after wowing audiences as Tom Cruise's lover in "Top Gun," Kelly McGillis made headlines last month when she revealed to Shewired.com that she is a lesbian. And in a new interview with Access Hollywood, the star explained why she opened up.
"I think that life is full of surprises and amazing twists and turns and, you know, life has been nothing what I expected it to be," she told Access on Wednesday.
One twist Kelly didn't expect was the buzz on the Internet after she came out.
"I guess that was a big deal but it didn't really seem to me like a big deal," Kelly said. "It seemed to me like somebody asked me a question and I was faced with a moment of truth. Am I gonna be truthful about who and what I am and who I am? [It's] really important today to be truthful about that."
It was a truth that for years was hidden from the public – especially at the height of Kelly's popularity.
"For a long time I hid," Kelly explained. "I hid from myself, most importantly, and that came at a huge price…. I don't wanna pay that price today. I can't be who all these other people in the world expect me to be."
That pressure, at the time, resulted in McGillis moving out of Hollywood and dropping out of the spotlight.
"I had children and I got a divorce and I was a single full-time parent and, you know, I really wanted to be the best parent I could be to my kids, so that's what I chose to do," Kelly said.
Now confident at 51, Kelly is back on the stage in the Pasadena Playhouse production of "The Little Foxes."
"I don't know how that all happened, but my agent asked me if I would be interested in doing 'The Little Foxes,'" she said of her return to performance. "I read it and I said, 'Yeah, sure, I would really like to do it, actually.'"
But no role will top that image of Kelly as Tom Cruise's smokin' teacher in "Top Gun" – memories even she can't escape.
"I remember that scene, oh my gosh, out on that tarmac thing and we had to run out there for what seemed like forever to get that one sunset shot," she said. "I just, I adored Tom's sense of humor about it. It was apparently a hugely important shot to get and with just the right light and I just adored his sense of humor because I'd be like, 'Oh my God, we're here again, haven't we gotten this yet?' They go, 'No, no, the light isn't perfect.' We did it for a week and [Tom's] sense of humor was just lovely."
Related Content from AccessHollywood.com:
PLAY IT NOW: Access Extended: Kelly McGillis Talks Life After 'Top Gun' & Coming Out
PLAY IT NOW: Calif. Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8, Sparks Protests (May 27, 2009)