It was essentially with Blair’s blessing that Jeanne admitted her fondness, though until the divorce was final Coyne and Kelly remained only friends.
(Jeanne had a brief marriage to Kelly collaborator Stanley Donen in 1948, and in fact the couples’ social circle was fairly intertwined and not always neatly or happily.
Gene Kelly himself followed a similar path, moving from his PA roots to try his hand at Broadway stardom, which came to him thanks in part to a role in a Cole Porter musical and later as the star of .
He left for the West Coast not long after his triumph, and the rest is Hollywood history.
The homebody Jeanne completely and contentedly gave up her show business life and fashioned a long and happy marriage with her former mentor, and they eventually had two children, a girl and a boy, together.
Their relationship, which had started so many years ago in that Pennsylvania dance studio, was alas not to have a happy ending.
In the meantime, in 1941 Kelly had married Betsy Blair, a talented young actress appearing in a show he had choreographed.
Kelly's health declined steadily in the late 80s, and a stroke in July 1994 resulted in a seven week hospital stay.
And so Jeanne Coyne and Carol Haney worked alongside Gene Kelly as he danced in 1949’s On the Town, and 1950’s Summer Stock.
Jeanne also appeared onscreen in the landmark Singin' in the Rain from 1952, as well as working backstage with Gene, and both she and Carol were prominently featured in as dancers in 1953’s Kiss Me Kate, without Gene but still working as integral members of the MGM musical family.
On the personal side, Gene Kelly’s marriage to Betsy Blair eventually began to unravel, and by the 1956 they were essentially split, working out the final details.
It was Betsy Blair herself, in the waning months of the marriage, who sensed that Gene’s longtime assistant Jeanne, who was of course a close personal friend of the family for many years, might have deeper feelings than just friendship for her boss.