Rocky Parker was a famous actress who turned heads when she married the much younger Patrick Dempsey. Here’s all we know about her.
The phrase “age is just a number” comes into mind when considering the relationship between Rocky Parker and Patrick Dempsey. Out of curiosity, fans frequently ask why many frowned upon their union and why the couple divorced just a few years after getting married. Keep reading to find out.
Who Was Rocky Parker?
Rochelle “Rocky” Natalie Parker was a famous American actress, model, television personality, and entrepreneur. She was born on February 26, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York, to parents Bernard and Shirley Parker.
You may recognize her mother’s name as she was a renowned actress and a household name in the movie industry. Her mother, Shirley, was best known for her outstanding performance in “Mission Mars” and “The Minx.”
Ricky lived on Hokinson Avenue and relocated with her family to Bayside, Queens, in 1949. While in Queens, Rocky enrolled at Martin Biden High School, where she graduated some years later.
She did not further her education after high school and chose to pursue a career in acting instead. She reportedly always had a strong passion for a career in the entertainment industry thanks to her aunt Ida, who would take her to watch many Broadway shows. Aunt Ida also worked at Movie Star Slips, where Rocky would sometimes accompany her to work and bring her props, further fueling her passion for the showbiz career.
Surprisingly, Rocky did not start off her career as an actress. She began as a model and was featured in a couple of popular magazines at the time. Some magazines and campaigns she was featured in include True Romance and the Virginia Slim Campaign You’ve Come A Long Way Baby.
Due to her love for Broadway shows, Rocky auditioned for the High School Performing Arts in Manhattan and was successfully accepted to play one of the roles. This role kickstarted her acting career and brought her into the limelight.
Rocky Parker’s Movies
The actress enjoyed acting more than modeling and decided to go into working full-time. Some of her most famous features include:
- In the Mood (1987)
- Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
- Happy Together (1989)
- Hung Up on Elena (2002)
- The Rainbow Tribe (2008)
She also directed “Ava’s Magical Adventure” in 1994, coaching actors such as Kelly Preston, Brad Garret, and Joan Chen.
Rocky Parker and Patrick Dempsey’s Relationship
Rocky and “Grey’s Anatomy” superstar Patrick Dempsey were married for seven years. Dempsey, Rocky’s son’s best friend at the time, started dating the actress when he was only 18 years old.
Rocky was 45 years old at the time, which raised many eyebrows towards their relationship, and for good reason. Dempsey has only become of legal age while Rocky, who was almost 50, took an interest in him. Many tagged their relationship as pedophilic and predatory, as they had about 27 years between them.
The couple did not seem bothered by this and went on to toe the knot in 1987 when Dempsey was 21 and Rocky was 48. Despite a significant age difference, the Media closely monitored their seemingly content marriage until their eventual divorce.
Rocky Parker and Patrick Dempsey’s Divorce
It came as a surprise to no one when the couple announced their divorce in 1994. The media was sent into a frenzy and was termed the most controversial separation. Many expected the reason for their divorce to be because of their vast age gap, but it has been reported that it wasn’t the primary reason for their split.
Rocky filed for divorce from the actor, citing “irreconcilable differences,” amongst other things. Some reports say Dempsey met another woman and was cheating on Rocky, who found out and called the marriage off. Legal documents revealed the actress alleged physical violence by Dempsey during their divorce, citing an incident of her finger being injured.
In the papers, she claimed, “[While] we were on the set of his  movie Can’t Buy Me Love, he beat me up because he wanted to see what it was like to beat a woman.”
In 2006, Rocky admitted to lying about infidelity during the divorce, stating her legal team advised her to do so.
Thankfully, Patrick Dempsey went on to have a very successful career in Hollywood and is best known for his role as Derek Shepherd, or “McDreamy,” as Grey’s Anatomy fans would call him.
Rocky Parker’s Death
Rocky Parker died in Los Angeles, California, on April 19, 2014. Her cause of death was confirmed to be due to throat and lung cancer complications after a lifetime of cigarette smoking. She was 74 years old at the time of her death.