What Happened To Rocky Parker? Facts About Patrick Dempsey’s Ex-Wife

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  • Post last modified:June 6, 2023
What Happened To Rocky Parker? Facts About Patrick Dempsey’s Ex-Wife
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Rocky Parker is an actress and acting coach famous as the ex-wife of the Grey’s Anatomy actor, Patrick Dempsey. The former flames had a huge age gap of 26 years old, which gained quite a notoriety. When they married, Dempsey was just in his early 20s, while, on the other hand, Rocky was already heading into her ’50s.

While she had substantially small films and TV credits than her former husband, Dempsey, turns out Rocky was quite a pivotal person in the primitive stages of the Emmy-nominated actor’s career.

Read up on how they came to be husband and wife in the first place, how long they remained married, why they separated, Rocky Parker’s life after the divorce, her death, and further.

Key Takeaways

She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
Parker comes from a line of actors, her uncle, aunts, and parents belonged to the entertainment world.
Rocky is famous for marrying Patrick Dempsey, who was 26 years her junior. They don’t share any children.
The former flames divorced in 1994, after an infidelity and abuse scandal affected their relationship. 
She was married two times before Patrick, first to Sheldon Stein, and second to John Haas.
Parker was a mother of three children, two sons, and a daughter.
She died at the age of 74 in 2014, succumbing to Lung Cancer.

Profile Summary

Date of BirthFebruary 26th, 1940
ParentsBernard and Shirley Parker
RelationshipMarried Thrice (Sheldon Stein, John Haas, and Patrick Dempsey)
ChildrenThree (Two sons, David, and Corey Parker) (One Daughter Noelle)
DeathApril 19th, 2014
Age at the time of Death74-Years-Old
Cause of DeathLung Cancer

Rocky Parker was from New York

The Enchanted actor’s ex-wife, Rocky Parker, originally, Rochelle “Rocky” Parker was born in Brooklyn, New York.

Parker whose middle name is Natalie was the daughter of Bernard Parker and Shirley Parker. Rochelle’s mother, Shirley was an actress known for films like Mission Mars and The Minx. Patrick’s late ex-wife, Parker grew up on Hopkinson Avenue. Later her family moved to Bayside, Queens in 1949.

Her Education

Rochelle studied at Martin High School in Queens. It, however, is unclear whether former Mrs. Patrick completed her education or not or if she attended college.

She Was Interested In Acting From A Young Age due to her family’s Work in the Industry 

Parker apparently came from a family of actors. Allegedly almost everyone in her family had some connections to show business. This eventually led Rocky to develop an interest in acting. It, however, was her aunt Ida, who solidified her passion for the performing arts.

New York native late actress Rocky Rochelle Parker With Her Family
The late actress, Rocky Parker, was the shortest one in her family.

Ida when Rocky was seven was working at Movie Star Slips and she would bring Parker clothes, pajamas, and things from the sets so that she could try them on. Rocky’s aunt would also take her to watch Broadway shows around the city.

After visiting all those stage shows, Parker ultimately became fascinated with the entertainment industry. Later, Rochelle auditioned for High School Performing Arts in Manhattan and managed to secure one of the parts.

Rocky’s mother, however, initially denied her daughter’s decision, and the actor/racer’s ex-wife consequently had to let go of her desire to act. Rochelle, nevertheless, would resume at 17.

Parker worked as an Ads Model 

Rocky Parker while known for her association with acting and stage works initially began as a model. She apparently had posed for magazines like True Romance in the ’50s.

Rocky Parker in one of her early print ads for Virginia Slims.
A young Rocky Parker in a photoshoot. Instagram

Rochelle additionally was also a part of the Virginia Slim Campaign, You’ve Come A Long Way Baby. The New York native, nevertheless, would quit modeling after which she stepped into the theater plays in the ’60s.

Rocky Parker’s Career as a Theater Actress 

As a theater performer, Rocky’s first play was with The Company. There she portrayed Imposters Imposter by Susan Barson.

Some of Rocky’s next dramas were What’s So Beautiful About A Sunset Over Prairie Avenue?, Miss Julie, The Last Chord, and others. Parker’s first Broadway show was The Survivor with David Marshall Grant and Zeljko Ivanek.

She in the meantime also acted in director, Neil Simon‘s show, Brighton Beach Memoirs. On the big screen, Rocky’s acting credits include the films like Boxing Helena, Can’t Buy Me Love (1987), Happy Together (1989), and In the Mood (1987).

In addition to acting, Rocky has also directed, written, and coached some actors and actresses. She co-directed and wrote the 1994 film, Ava’s Magical Adventure where her former partner, Patrick Dempsey acted in the role of Jeffrey. Some of the actors whom she has mentored include Joan Chen, Little Richard, Kelly Preston, Heather Thomas, Brad Garett, and others.

Rocky Parker And Husband Patrick Dempsey Met During A Theater Play Production

New York native, Rocky met the Flypaper actor, Patrick Dempsey in the production of the play Brighton Beach Memoirs. At the time, Patrick was still in his late teens while Rocky, then 44 or 47, interestingly, played his aunt in the play.

Patrick Dempsey with his late ex-wife and actress Rocky Parker
Boxing Helena actress, Rocky Parker with her ex-husband and Grey’s Anatomy actor, Patrick Dempsey. Shutterstock

They started their relationship by spending time together after the rehearsals. Rochelle would give the People’s Choice Awards winner career advice and later also became her manager.

They initially hid they were dating because of the age thing and since Rocky was also already the mother of three children from her previous relationships and almost every one of them was older than Patrick. In fact, one of them was the Grey’s Anatomy actor’s friend as well.

They married in 1987

Despite the age difference, they married on Aug 24th, 1987. Some reports they eloped in Santa Monica. Rocky and the actor exchanged vows after three years of relationship.

Despite their age gap, they were content with their marriage; though they also kept it secret for about two years. During their marriage, the former couple also attended NYU film school together.

Why Did Patrick Dempsey Marry Much Older, Rocky Parker?  

Patrick in an interview whilst explaining his marriage to Rocky said he liked being in a relationship with someone who’s lived more than he had. He at the time also said how marrying someone his own age wouldn’t have worked anyway because of the inexperience from both sides.

Patrick Dempsey' First Wife Rocky Parker Were Married From 1987 To 1994
ex-Virginia Slim ads model, Rocky Parker with her ex-husband and Freedom Writers actor, Patrick Dempsey. Shutterstock

The Bridget Jones’s Baby actor said because Rocky was much older than him, she helped her tremendously. Patrick also stated – his ex-wife also helped him a lot with reading out the screens.

Rocky Parker And Patrick Dempsey’s Divorce

Patrick and Rochelle’s union eventually ended in 1994. Their relationship allegedly started to crumble in 1992 after Patrick began an affair with another woman. The Loverboy actor, on the other hand, argued there was cheating from both sides.

He has said the marriage with Rocky was ridiculous and a “Freudian nightmare that’s publicly known.”

During the divorce, the officials ordered Dempsey to pay around $9000 a month in spousal support. The court also ordered Patrick to let Rochelle stay in their house and as per some, she even got to keep the house. She in addition also acquired the ownership of a BMW convertible.

Parker Claimed Dempsey Assaulted Her During Their Marriage 

Amidst the divorce, Rocky accused Patrick of committing domestic violence against her. She alleged the Maine-born actor once hit her so badly on the sets of Can’t Buy Me Love that she later experienced lifelong arthritis.

The late brunette-haired performer also said how at one time, Patrick broke her finger in a car door. In 1994, Rocky, on court papers, claimed because of Dempsey, she began seeing a psychiatrist regularly and even started to take anti-depressants.

She later took back the accusations

The now father of three, however, denied all the accusations and even the court didn’t find any proof of Rochelle’s allegations. Rocky ultimately retracted her accusations against the Run actor in 2006.

Whilst taking back her allegations, she said how in the heat of a divorce, people sometimes would go on to say things they normally wouldn’t. She likewise said Dempsey committing physical violence, alcoholism, and drug use were all false.

Rocky Parker Was Married Twice Before Patrick Dempsey; Had Three Children

Including Dempsey, Rocky was married thrice two of which ended up in divorce. Rochelle married her first husband, Sheldon Leonard Stein in Aug 1958. She at the time was in her late teens and had her first child with Leonard at 19 in Aug 1959. Rochelle’s first son’s name is David Alan.

Rocky parted ways with Leonard in 1964 after which she married John Hass. Not long after their wedding, they had a child, Corey Parker Hass. Rochelle and John’s marriage came to an end after the latter’s death.

Between that and meeting Patrick, Rochelle was also in a relationship with a guy named Nick Ferri with whom she also welcomed her third child, Noelle in Dec 1979.

Meanwhile, a couple of years after divorcing Rocky, Patrick married a Hollywood makeup artist, Jillian Fink. Fink and Rochelle’s ex married in Aug 1999 after which they welcomed three children, Talula, and twin boys, Sullivan, and Darby.

Her kids are doing well in the entertainment industry

Rocky’s oldest David is an actor who has 40 credits to his name, to date. His noteworthy roles are in Sister Act (1992), John Doe (2002-2003), Fantastic Four (2005), Criminal Minds (2006), and ER (2007). Since 2011, he has seemingly retired from the acting field.

The second one Corey has made a big name in the industry and is probably the most recognizable. His movies include Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), Willy/Milly (1986), White Palace (1990), and TV including Thirtysomething (1989-1990), and Broadway Bound (1992).

Rocky’s only daughter Noelle, just like her mom, is also an actress. She began her journey as a child actor in the 1983 movie, In Defense of Kids. Over the years she played in Ernest Saves Christmas, Beverly Hills 90210, Law & Order, and Amy Fisher: My Story.

She was accused of grooming Patrick

Over the years, the late actress has been accused of grooming Patrick. It’s a classic case of a Hollywood grooming story.

When a lot of Dempsey’s fans found out about his weird marriage with someone so older than him, automatically people started saying she was really preparing him from a young age.

Where is Rocky Parker now? 

Rochelle Parker died on April 19th, 2014 after battling throat and lung cancer. The Miss Julie actress at the time of her death was 74 and residing in LA.

Rochelle apparently lost her life due to complications of throat and lung cancer. She allegedly contracted the disease owing to a lifetime of cigarette smoking, reports IBTimes.

Miss Julie drama actress and Patrick Dempsey's ex-wife, Rocky Parker in her latter years.
The Last Chord theater actress and Patrick Dempsey’s former spouse, Rocky Parker during her final years. The Sun

She apparently had begun smoking when she was 18 years old which resulted in cancer. The performer/mentor wished her ashes to be scattered over the Pacific Ocean near her home in Santa Monica.

Was Rocky As Rich As Her Ex-Husband, Patrick; What Was Her Net Worth?

Her net worth at the time of her death was around $3 million. She earned a major portion of her income through her career in the industry.

By the time, Patrick became a household name in the ABC series, Rocky had completely dived into oblivion and perhaps only a few people knew she was the first wife of the actor.

That said, it appears less likely that Rochelle was anywhere approximately as well off as her ex-husband, Patrick Dempsey.

The contemplation looks even more true to life in light of Rocky’s former spouse’s estimated net worth of over $80 million. Regardless, Rocky could still have assets or means in the closeness of hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions during the latter years of her life.


How old was Rocky Parker when she married Patrick Dempsey?

She was 47 years old and Dempsey was 21.

How old was Rocky Parker when she died?

She was 74 years old.

What did Rocky Parker do for a living?

She was an actress, an acting coach, and also the manager of her ex-husband Patrick.

Why did Rocky and Patrick divorce?

It was due to infidelity from both sides and rumored physical abuse from Patrick.

What was the age different between Rocky Parker and Patrick Dempsey?

They had an age gap of approximate 26 years.


Narayan Shankar, who goes by the name David, is a seasoned writer and editor, who has a passion for covering the entertainment industry. He has years of experience writing content, especially in the entertainment niche. He is currently an editor and writer for celebsuburb.com along with other websites under our organization named Pandora Group of Companies.