What the Hell Happened to Meg Ryan?


Once upon a time, Meg Ryan sat at the top of the A-list.  Her nearest competitor was Julia Roberts.  She was America’s Sweetheart.  Now, she seems to be retired after years of direct-to-video schlock.  It’s time to ask that age-old question: What the hell happened?

ryan rich and famous

Ryan first appeared on the big screen with a small role opposite Candice Bergen in the drama Rich and Famous in 1981.

The film got mixed reviews and didn’t do much at the box office, but it gave Ryan her start.

Is it just me or does young Meg Ryan look a lot like Alicia Silverstone?

Ryan - As the World Turns

Ryan first gained attention on day time soaps.  From 1982-1984, she played Betsy Stewart on As the World Turns.

Apparently her story arc was a popular one.  When I searched for pictures from this time period, I found Ryan in another wedding picture with a different groom.  Could have been a different actor playing the same character.  Or maybe Ryan played twins.  I don’t get soaps.  Sorry.

I also found this old Burger King commercial starring Ryan from about the same time.  Ryan is so perky!  Makes me want to eat a Whopper.

 ryan amityville 3d

Most actresses have at least one horror movie on their resume.  In Ryan’s case, she paid her dues in Amyityville 3-D in 1983.

Ryan played a girl who was obsessed with the Amityville Horror house.  She and her friend, played by Lori Loughlin snuck into the house with a couple of boys and started playing with a Ouija board.  I’m sure that ended well for them.

Amityville 3-D rode the tail end of a very brief 3-D craze that started and ended in 1983.  Reviews were terrible and the movie flopped.

ryan - top gun

Ryan returned to the big screen with a small role in the 1986 smash, Top Gun.

Ryan played the wife of the doomed fighter pilot, Goose.  The minute she shows up on-screen looking all cute and with a kid in tow, you just know Anthony Edward’s Goose is cooked.  (I’m not proud of that joke.)

It was a small part, but Ryan was winning in it.  Everyone remembered the charismatic pixie girl from the few scenes she was in.

Next: Innerspace and The Presidio


Posted on June 12, 2011, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 556 Comments.

  1. WHM Summer Rerun – Addicted to Love

    Original Air Date: April 9th, 2013

    As the guys take a few weeks off, WHM goes into Summer Reruns! First up: an episode from several years back on the insane romantic comedy, Addicted to Love! How are we supposed to feel sympathy for Ryan and Broderick’s characters here? Will anybody be wearing anyone’s skin any point in this film? And poor, poor Tchéky Karyo! PLUS: The guys are on vacation, but it sure is hot in the Asphalt Jungle!

    Addicted to Love stars Matthew Broderick, Meg Ryan, Tchéky Karyo, Kelly Preston, and Maureen Stapleton; directed by Griffin Dunne.


  2. ‘She hates me to death’: John Mellencamp talks strained relationship with ex Meg Ryan… but admits he loved her


    • He fought authority, and women are the authority, and authority always wins. Give it up!


    • Meg Ryan reportedly back together with ex John Mellencamp

      The Sleepless in Seattle star might have reconciled with her ex, “Hurts So Good” singer John Mellencamp.

      Page Six reports that Meg Ryan and Mellencamp are dating once again. A source told the celeb news site, “They are together. It’s been a few months.”

      The two stars had previously dated for three years but had ended their relationship in 2014. At the time, a source told People that “distance” was responsible for the couple’s downfall, explaining, “She lives in New York and he resides in Indiana.”

      People notes that Ryan, 55, and Mellencamp, 65, were spotted together earlier in the year, igniting rumors that the they’d gotten back together. In March 2017, they were reportedly seen in New York City together, and in May, they visited the Art Cliff Diner in Martha’s Vineyard.

      Mellencamp, who broke up with model Christie Brinkley in August 2016, opened up about his relationship with Ryan in March, telling Howard Stern (via Us Magazine) that the actress despised him. “I loved Meg Ryan. She hates me to death,” he said, adding, “I think it’s because I’m a child. I throw fits, I gripe, I complain. I’m moody. Every bad thing that a fella can be, that’s me.”

      Guess that wasn’t enough to keep Ryan away. The heart just wants what it wants.



        This former A+ list singer and his ex who is a former A+ lister herself share a love of getting high which is why they are always drawn back together. His last girlfriend freaked out about that kind of stuff and wanted to drug test him every time they went out. John Mellencamp (Christie Brinkley)/Meg Ryan


  3. I’ll have what she’s having: Meg Ryan shows off her svelte figure in a white and black dress as she presents an award at the Bentonville Film Festival


    • 15 Famous Actors Who REALLY Aren’t Aging Well

      MEG RYAN

      When Harry Met Sally may have established Meg Ryan as the go-to star for anyone seeking a female lead for their next big romantic comedy, but there were plenty of other roles that showcased her true abilities as an actress. Films like When A Man Loves A Woman and Courage Under Fire showed another side to the image of Ryan as America’s sweetheart, and proved she was so much more than just another pretty face in Hollywood.

      All of which makes it so sad that Ryan appears to be desperately battling against the aging process. The actress has been accused of having undergone several cosmetic procedures in recent years, with Ryan sporting noticeably plumper lips and a line-free visage at several events. Now found largely away from the big screen, Ryan released her directorial debut Ithaca in 2016, but could have gone on to even bigger, meatier, movie roles had she steered clear of the knife.


  4. I’m going to skirt the question a little. I don’t think there was a bigger female movie star from 1989-1993. She was the reigning queen of the rom coms for longer than that. Yes, those movies tended to pair her with some decent sized stars (although it’s not like Billy Crystal was a big movie star when he made When Harry Met Sally… And Tom Hanks was coming back from career implosion when he starred in Sleepless in Seatle)

    Obviously, Ryan wasn’t a box office draw outside of rom coms. But I would argue that Ryan was at the top of the A-list for a short time and undeniably a movie star. If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t have gotten the chance to stretch beyond romcoms in movies like When a Man Loves a Woman and Courage Under Fire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julia Roberts was Ryan’s only serious competition for the title and she didn’t come online until 1990. Post Pretty Woman, he career was in trouble pretty quickly. By Hook in 1991, a lot of people thought Roberts was a flash in the pan. She bounced back with The Pelican Brief in 1993, but it wasn’t until My Best Friends’ Wedding in 1997 that Roberts’ career really stabilized. Overall, Roberts was a bigger star than Ryan but a lot of that has to do with Roberts’ 21st century career starting with her Oscar win for Erin Brockovich.

      If you don’t consider Ryan to be a movie star in the late 80’s and early 90’s, which actresses were? Very few were anywhere near as in demand.

      Also, I will caution you against looking only at box office. Being a star is all about power and few actresses wielded as much of that as Ryan did.


    • No doubt, I believe Meg Ryan was a female icon to an entire generation; I wasn’t aware of her impact at the time, but she was someone younger females looked up to, for real:-). I accepted her as someone who did different films (I like “In The Cut”; thought it was cool) as well.


    • Why don’t they make romantic comedies anymore?

      Seriously. Where is this generation’s Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail?
      —Anonymous (19 views)

      5 replies 14 minutes ago


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