At the height of their fame, Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey were in a fatal car crash.

It was the summer of 1987, and Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey were travelling around Ireland in secret.

They had met on the set of John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Grey was just weeks from becoming a household name following her role as Baby in Dirty Dancing.

According to People, the couple had flown to Northern Ireland for a romantic trip after their onscreen appearance as brother and sister in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when the pair decided to rent a BMW 316 to drive from Irvinestown to Maguiresbridge.

Jennifer Grey Matthew Broderick
Image: Getty.

In the hours before the accident, Broderick, who was then 25, and Grey, who was 27, pulled into a petrol station to ask for directions. After being told their chosen route was "just stupid", an off-duty policeman offered to lead them to the right road.


Broderick declined the offer.

Shortly after, there was a huge downpour of rain, and the Hollywood couple decided to take another break at a petrol station. This time, they found their bearings and waited for the rain to stop.

Less than a mile from the petrol station, 80 miles west of Belfast, they collided head on with a car driven by a 28-year-old woman named Anna Gallagher.

She was driving with her 63-year-old mother, Margaret, and both women were pronounced dead on arrival at Erne Hospital.

The road was reportedly straight and simple, spurring speculation the actor may have begun to drive on the wrong side of the road by habit.

Ken Ramsey, a local fireman on the scene, said the car had to be cut down the side to give Broderick first aid.

Ramsey recalls the actor kept repeating "Did I hurt them? Did I hurt them?", and that while Broderick suffered from a badly broken leg and facial lacerations, resulting in a four week hospital stay in Belfast, Grey only obtained superficial bruising.

jennifer grey matthew broderick
Image: Getty.

The couple had been dating in secret, and the crash catapulted the relationship into the public eye after Grey cut off publicity for Dirty Dancing to stay by his side in hospital.

Following the accident, Broderick was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, and faced up to five years in jail. He was later convicted for careless driving, and fined $175 for the accident, a fine the family of the victims reportedly called "a travesty of justice" at the time.

According to the New York Post, the actor was meant to meet up with the family of the women killed in the accident 15 years later, in 2002. Until that point, the actor had not contacted the family with more than a note saying he was sorry. It is unknown whether Broderick met with the family.

Grey later opened up about the crash in an interview with People magazine, and expressed she suffered from survivor's guilt.

"One minute we’re going down the road and music is playing, and the next minute… it’s all different. I couldn’t be fearless after that," she said.

"I became America’s sweetheart within five days of the accident."


In 2012, the accident was thrust back into the public eye, after Broderick became an ambassador for Honda, and featured in a Super Bowl commercial for the brand.

The actor and the company were slammed for the choice, but Mr. Doherty, the brother and son of the two women killed in the accident, told The Impartial Reporter he forgave the actor.

"I suppose it wasn't the greatest choice of drivers knowing his past. I suppose at the end of the day it was years ago. I have forgiven what he had done. I mentioned that at the time," he said.

He added that he understands what occurred was an accident, but that another actor might have been more appropriate for the advertisement.

"I have always said that an accident happened. It is certainly not something that you want to happen to anyone. It wasn't premeditated. We all know many people in the north of Ireland who have died over the years and somebody sat down and planned it. As I said, it certainly was not a great choice of driver. I am sure there are plenty of stars over there they could have got to have done the advertisement," he added.

In around October 1988, Broderick and Grey broke up.

In 1997, nine years later, Broderick married Sarah Jessica Parker in front of 100 of their closest family and friends.

The pair now have nine-year-old twin girls, Loretta and Tabitha, and a 16-year-old son, James.

Grey went on to marry Clark Gregg in 2001, and months later the couple gave birth to their daughter, Stella. The family now lives in Venice, California.