The star burned white hot for actress Meg Ryan from the mid-’80s and throughout the decade of the ’90s. It was a time when she garnered the label “America’s Sweetheart”. She was pulling down role after role, making hits out of various romantic comedies with leading men such as Tom Hanks and Billy Crystal. But then her Meg Ryan’s star began to fade.
Where is Meg Ryan today and why don’t we see her on the big screen anymore? Here’s the answer.
Meg Ryan’s career began early and with bit parts. She starred in Amityville 3-D then moved on to the soap opera As The World Turns. After her two-year stint on the soap opera, Ryan appeared in two TV series, Charles in Charge and Wildside but it wasn’t until her minor role in a little movie some may have heard of, Top Gun, that began to open the eyes of those in Hollywood. While the role as Goose’s wife Carole (“Hey Goose, you big stud! Take me to bed or lose me forever!”) was just a tiny part, it was effective.
Her screen time was expanded in her next movie, Armed and Dangerous, that starred John Candy and Eugene Levy. Innerspace came next and it was this movie where she met her future (now ex) husband Dennis Quaid, with whom she has one child, actor Jack Quaid. Little did she know at the time, Meg Ryan was beginning to lay the groundwork in becoming Hollywood’s darling actress and America’s Sweetheart.
Coming off positive performance in the drama Promised Land and two thrillers D.O.A. (which she again starred in with Dennis Quaid) and The Presidio, Ryan hit it big with the rom-com When Harry Met Sally. The rapport she had with the movie’s co-star Billy Crystal was fun to watch. In this movie, Meg Ryan delivers one of the most famous and memorable movie scenes in Hollywood history, the restaurant’s fake orgasm scene.
If she wasn’t on the map before then, she definitely was after that. So the parts began to roll in. She starred in her first of four movies with Tom Hanks in Joe Versus the Volcano. 1991 was a big year for Ryan because that was the year she played opposite Val Kilmer’s Jim Morrison in The Doors but it also saw her personal life take off, as she married Dennis Quaid.
The hits, and more importantly her choices in movies, kept coming up big for Meg Ryan. Her second movie with Tom Hanks, Sleepless In Seattle, was another huge hit for Ryan, fully cementing her status as America’s Sweetheart. During the decade of the ’90s, Ryan starred in a litany of romantic comedies. Prelude To A Kiss, I.Q., French Kiss, and of course her third movie with Tom Hanks, You’ve Got Mail. During this time, Ryan did attempt to sprinkle in a few dramatic roles which were also met with some success. Then came the new decade, the 2000’s, and Ryan’s life as America’s Sweetheart began to take its turn.
End Of The Meg Ryan Era
The year 2000 saw Meg Ryan star in a movie, Proof of Life, with Russell Crowe, the notorious bad boy of Hollywood. Rumors of an affair between the two began and never did let up. When those rumors became reality, Ryan’s star faded and it seemed either the choices she made for movie roles or Hollywood’s offerings became less glamorous and more gritty.
Then came the movie where Meg Ryan felt things truly began to change for the worst. She starred in an erotic thriller with Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Jason Leigh called In The Cut, which was written and directed by the notoriously edgy Jane Campion (The Piano). The movie is set in New York and in it, Ryan portrays a NY writing professor who has an affair with a NY detective (Ruffalo) while he is investigating a murder.
The movie itself was critically panned but it was better known for the full-frontal nudity of both stars, Ryan and Ruffalo. Meg Ryan took a bigger hit critically and she spoke about it to the New York Times Magazine. “In the Cut felt like a real turning point,” she acknowledged. “I know that when I did In the Cut, the reaction was vicious,” she said. “I think the feeling with Hollywood was mutual. I felt done when they felt done, probably.”
Ryan wasn’t completely done though. She followed In The Cut with a movie called Against The Ropes but sadly the writing was on the wall. The opportunities became less and less, the roles not as glamorous and it seemed the feeling was becoming mutual. Her personal life had fallen apart, as did her marriage to Quaid.
Meg Ryan’s last true movie was made a decade ago, the little-known Serious Moonlight, and she has remained out of the spotlight for the past decade. In 2015 Ryan tried her hand at directing, with her debut in the movie Ithaca, which saw her appear for the fourth time with co-star Tom Hanks. In fact, it was Hanks’ production company, Playtone, that helped put the movie together. Again, this is a little-known piece and once again, Ryan has remained quiet on the acting front.
Meg Ryan Now
These days Meg Ryan stays out of the limelight. She actively supports the career of her son Jack Quaid with posts like this…
And every now and then she shows up at awards shows like this…
And when it comes to work Meg Ryan told InStyle Magazine back in 2019, “Now I’m focused on producing. I’m also teeing myself up to direct, and I’m working on a fun e-commerce project with some of my friends. But most of all, what I’m ambitious for in the 12 hours a day that I’m awake is my kids’ happiness. I just am.”
Her personal life is still a balancing act as she continues an off and on with rocker John Mellencamp and while Meg Ryan has stated she isn’t officially done with Hollywood, it remains to be seen if Hollywood is done with her.