There are few movies that have touched the lives and souls of multiple generations quite like Dirty Dancing. Since its release in the 80s, Dirty Dancing has — rightfully — earned its spot as a cult classic and a beloved favorite.

In an interview promoting the 30th anniversary of the film’s release — yes, it’s been more than 30 years since the undeniable chemistry between Jennifer Grey and the late Patrick Swayze graced the big screen in 1987 — the 57-year-old confessed to Closer Weekly that she really did “have the time of her life” (pun absolutely attended) while filming the iconic flick. “Patrick really had his heart in it,” she gushed. “He was a great dancer and he was fearless. His fearlessness with my fearfulness — it was like a marriage where you have two opposites. He would do anything and I would be scared to do anything. [But] he was really strong and very protective of me.”

In fact it was the connection she shared with Patrick — who tragically died in 2009 after a battle with pancreatic cancer — that made the movie what it was. However, Jennifer previously confessed that it almost didn’t happen. In an older interview with The Mirror, she said she was convinced Billy Zane, who auditioned for the role of Johnny, would be cast opposite her Baby. But once she and Patrick shared the dance floor, she knew it had to be him.

“Billy was one of my partners, and I thought he was going to get it because he was very [much] like Marlon Brando and his dancing was pretty good,” the actress admitted, before gushing, “but then I remember Patrick and I dancing together, and all of the sudden it was very easy.”

Curious what happened once your favorite stars left Kellerman’s? Put on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, take it from the top, and scroll through the gallery to find out!