Actress Meg Ryan was considered the perfect star of the Hollywood romantic comedy genre. She hit the scene as the effervescent and charming Sally in the romantic comedy classic Harry and Sally, and won over fans to become “America’s Girlfriend”.
Meg continued her starring roles with a string of other hits, including iconic ’90s films such as Tune of Love, Surprises from the Heart and Message to You, leading the genre’s rebirth in a surprising way, drawing crowds to theaters.
However, as with many celebrities of the 90s, Meg’s fame did not last. At some point, she went off the radar, and the mainstream media didn’t even blink. The question remains: what happened to Meg Ryan, in her personal or professional life, that caused her to step out of the spotlight?
As usual, the answer is not so simple and straightforward. Meg’s exit from the industry was a choice and a result of pressure and social judgment.
The relationship that overshadowed the career
Meg Ryan met Dennis Quaid on the set of the movie The Unusual Journey, and they quickly began a romance, until they were married in 1991. In 2000, Meg decided to get divorced.
Around the same time, the actress met Russell Crowe on the set of Proof of Life. The two started dating and the timeline of their relationship led people to think they were having an affair while she was still with Dennis Quaid. This new relationship began to change Hollywood’s view of the straight and clean personality that she cultivated in a decade of romantic comedy success. The press’s treatment revealed a certain misogyny and discrimination, making Meg Ryan begin to feel disillusioned with movie stardom.
Meg Ryan’s Most Controversial Film
The good girl archetype was utterly destroyed when Meg Ryan starred opposite Mark Ruffalo in 2003 in the movie Em Carne Viva. The spicy thriller, which featured several sex scenes, followed the character of Meg, a school teacher, who was having an affair with a police detective.
“I took it as a compliment for being adorable,” Meg Ryan said in an interview with InStyle about the public’s perception of her. “But it also felt like ideas were being projected on me that had nothing to do with me. I never felt like a very conventional person.”
After once again being the target of criticism, this time about her role in the steamy movie, Meg decided to move away from Hollywood. She felt “burned out” as an actress and pressured to look and feel a certain amount.
The new career behind the camera
In 2015, Meg Ryan returned to the film world, this time as a director. Meg’s directorial debut was with the movie Ithaca, a drama from the 40s. Currently, proud of choosing this new path, Meg spoke in an interview about not being part of the cast in the films anymore: “When you are an actor, you are a gear. When you produce, you understand the other gears”.
Where is Meg Ryan in 2021?
Currently, she is busy raising her adopted daughter Daisy True and spending time with her son with Dennis, Jack Quaid, who is already an actor. Meg “got tired of waiting to be chosen” and is no longer getting requests from an industry determined to objectify and discard her. Scandals and frustrations drove her to take control of her own life.
“I felt I became more true as a person. I’m more me.”, Meg said in an interview with Closer Weekly.
Meg Ryan’s downfall as an actress due to a false allegation of treason shows that discrimination and prejudgment are still alive in the entertainment industry, particularly with women. The unfair treatment of the media and public opinion caused the “Girlfriend of America” to step out of the spotlight and never again appear on movie screens.
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