What the Hell Happened to Kelly McGillis?
Now is probably a good time to discuss McGillis’ second marriage. In 1989, McGillis married yacht salesman Fred Tillman. During their thirteen-year marriage, the couple had two daughters. But from the outset, McGillis struggled with a traditional marriage. “Deep inside I always knew it wasn’t the truth. I was never dishonest with Fred about my past and history, but it was a big struggle with me.”
The couple moved to Key West Florida and opened a bar called Kelly’s. Tillman was arrested just days after McGillis gave birth to their second daughter. He had solicited sex from a prostitute who turned out to be an undercover police officer. Meanwhile, McGillis was starting a relationship with a bartender she met at Kelly’s. According to Melanie Leis, “We were partners in crime and were both drinking and abusing drugs.”
Eventually, they got sober together. McGillis divorced Tillman in 2002. She and Leis moved to rural Pennsylvania to raise her kids. The move was intended to help McGillis maintain her sobriety. “The honest truth is, I lived in a halfway house in that area.”
McGillis would spend five years away from Hollywood, but she didn’t give up acting. Throughout her career, McGillis continued to work in stage productions. Even during her hiatus, McGillis continued working in theater including the Shakespeare Theatre Company production of Macbeth and the touring version of The Graduate.
In 2006, McGillis returned for more TV movies like Cold Shoulder and Black Widower. The following year, she appeared in the direct-to-video monster movie Supergator which is about an alligator that is really big but otherwise lacking in super powers.
In 2008, McGillis played a military prosecutor on two episodes of HBO’s lesbian drama, The L-Word. But at the time, McGillis remained in the closet about her own sexuality. She found her Pennsylvania neighbors were less than accepting of her same-sex relationship. “My kids suffered a great deal because I was with Mell, and that bothered me a lot, and so I never chose to talk about it.”
That changed in 2009 when McGillis did an interview with SheWired.com and announced she was “done with the man thing.” Now that her kids were grown and out of the house, the actress felt like she could finally tell the truth, “I really didn’t have to protect anyone by skirting the question, and I just decided to be absolutely honest.”
In 2010, McGillis formed a civil union with her longtime girlfriend, Melanie Leis. I would like to tell you that this was the happy ending to McGillis’ story, but unfortunately that was not the case. The couple had broken up and reconciled prior to getting engaged. In 2011, they finally broke up for good.
In 2010, McGillis appeared in the low-budget vampire movie, Stake Land. McGillis plays a nun who joins a group of survivors in a world that has been overrun by vampires. The project was originally conceived as a series of web-episodes but eventually it came together as a movie. Reviews for the movie were largely positive and a sequel is planned as a SyFy original movie.
McGillis’ next role was in the horror movie, The Innkeepers. She played a former actress who became a psychic after Hollywood stopped calling. She ends up staying at a haunted hotel while attending a convention for mediums. Once again, reviews were surprisingly good for a low-budget horror movie.
In 2013, McGillis had a supporting role in the comedy, Tio Papi. Joey Dedio, who also cowrote the movie, starred as a hard-partying bachelor whose lifestyle is wrecked when he becomes the legal guardian for his sister’s six kids. This one played the film festival circuit but critics complained that the movie took the easy feel-good approach instead of aiming for something more genuine.
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