Top Gun Actress Kelly McGillis Shares Her Inspiring Weight Loss Journey

Kelly McGillis

Kelly McGillis has many fans around the world. How can she not? She portrayed Charlie in the first Top Gun movie alongside Tom Cruise. But she was nowhere to be seen in the sequel, Top Gun Maverick. She has also appeared alongside actors like Harrison Ford, Jeff Daniels, Timothy Hutton, and more. Her absence from Maverick prompted fans to talk about Kelly McGillis’s weight loss controversy.

After she was removed from the Top Gun sequel, many fans and even Kelly said it was because she was overweight. But is that true? How did she shed some pounds afterward? Let’s take a look.

Get To Know Kelly

Born Kelly Ann McGillis in Newport Beach, California, she is best known for her appearance in movies like Top Gun, Witness, and The Accused. Kelly grew up in a military family, with her father being a general practitioner in the United States Marine Corps. Because her father worked in the army, they moved frequently during her childhood. Kelly lived in Hawaii, Virginia, and Washington.

As a young child, she attended the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and the Julliard School in New York City. It was there she mastered her acting skills.

In 1983, Kelly made her film debut with a small role in Reuben, Reuben. Two years later, she got her big break, appearing in the movie Witness alongside Harrison Ford. That movie put her on the map. In the movie, McGilis portrays an Amish widow who falls in love with a police officer.

Only one year later, she appeared in the blockbuster hit Top Gun. In the original Top Gun, she portrayed Tom Cruise’s love interest, Charlie. It was a massive success, cementing Kelly’s status as a leading lady and sex symbol in Hollywood.

During the 1980s and 1990s, she continued appearing in movies like The Accused, Winter People, and The Babe. For the first one, she received a Golden Globe Award nomination.

In the late 1990s, she took a hiatus from her acting career to focus on her personal life. In 2009, Kelly came out as a lesbian. Since then, she has been a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and worked as a drug and alcohol counselor.

It is worth noting she was married before coming out as a lesbian. In 1979, Kelly married fellow Julliard student Boyd Black. They divorced only two years later, and she got married to Fred Tillman in 1989. Together, they have two daughters, Kelsey and Sonora. In 2002, Kelly and Till divorced.

As of 2023, the original Top Gun star lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina. She teaches acting at the New York Studio for Stage and Screen in Asheville, North Carolina.

Kelly McGillis before losing weight
Photo: and

How Much Weight Did She Lose?

American actress Kelly McGillis gained popularity in the 1980s with an appearance in some iconic movies. There is no info on how much she weighed before the weight reduction journey. But per some sources, she now weighs around 163 pounds, which is a decent weight for someone at her age. In Kelly’s words, she is the right size for her age.

It is a long way for someone who was seen as a sex symbol in the 1980s. At the time, she was 20-something old with a slim, tall, and sexy body typical of an American actress.

Did She Really Lose The Top Gun Job Because Of Weight?

When Top Gun Maverick was announced without Kelly, many fans were shocked. They thought that Kelly would be part of the movie. But no, she is living in her comfort zone where she is enjoying life.

When asked about the absence from Top Gun Maverick, the American actress replied, “I am old and I am fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is. And that is not what the whole scene is about. To me, I’d much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age as opposed to placing a value on all that other stuff”.

Her Struggle With Alpha 1 Antitrypsin

Some fans also speculated that her weight loss might have been the result of her struggle with alpha 1 antitrypsin disorder. We cannot talk about Kelly McGillis’s weight loss journey without talking about her health issues.

She has suffered a lot in her life and tried hard to get rid of her drug addiction and live like a normal sober human being. Throughout her life, Kelly has suffered from the Alpha 1 disorder, an immune disease that causes low immunity and weaknesses her ability to fight infections.

While there is no clear update on her disease, we can say Kelly is doing fine. She has gone through various treatments for her Alpha 1 Antitrypsin disorder.

Kelly McGillis after weight loss

How She Lost Weight?

Hollywood celebrities often try to lose weight and preserve their slim physical appearance. They go through strict crash diets or strenuous workouts. The goal of looking flawless is not an easy one. So, when the news surfaced that Kelly has shed some pounds, fans wanted to know how she did it.

The reality is that it didn’t happen overnight. She had to go through a long period of dieting and workouts. Speaking about her weight issues, she said, “It’s been a long road for me, and I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made. I feel better than I ever did”.

In the beginning, she eliminated all processed items from her diet. That meant no sugary snacks, quick meals, or non-natural foods. Instead, the famous actress focused on consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein and nutritious carbohydrates.

Kelly McGillis Weight Loss Diet

To achieve her goal, Kelly mixed aerobic and weight training with a balanced diet. She followed a formula that has worked so many times before. The formula is simple, consume fewer calories than burning.

She lowered the quantity of food she consumed daily and increased her physical activity. The premise of the diet is simple, consume between 1,200 and 1,400 calories. She lowered her daily caloric intake from 2,000 to 1,200.

And did it in a healthy way, eliminating sugary snacks and foods, and increasing quality and healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and lean protein.

Kelly McGillis Workout Plan

For her exercise program, she mixed aerobic and weight training. She trained five times per week, alternating between jogging, cycling, and lifting weights.

She didn’t want to rush it. Instead, she would begin slowly with walking and light jogging. And as she became more accustomed to working out, she would ramp up the program.

The trick to being successful is finding a workout plan that complements your lifestyle and objectives. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some people want to exercise in a gym. Others prefer to do it outdoors. Some work out in a group, while others do it alone.

But in any case, make sure to stick to a workout routine that includes both cardiovascular and strength training exercises.

For Kelly’s age, she had to exercise between 75 and 150 minutes per week. And perform strength training two times per week.

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