After having four neck surgeries and waging a fight against cancer, Jennifer Grey "didn't even think about winning" when Dancing With the Stars began.
When she was handed the Mirror Ball trophy Tuesday, the health woes the 50-year-old battled made it even sweeter. "This is so unbelievable," she said.
"I feel so grateful, so blessed, that I had this opportunity. I don't know that there's any experience that will ever be anything like this again."
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough are this season's champions.
Grey's title was effectively sealed 10 minutes before the big reveal, when lightning rod finalist Bristol Palin was named the season's third-place finisher.
It came down to Jennifer and Kyle Massey, who she bested with two perfect scores Monday, and whose fan support wasn't expected to match Bristol's.
After weeks of debate about Palin's staying power thanks to an active fan base, in the end it was not quite enough to deny Jennifer what was hers.
"We didn't think we'd make it past the first week, so to make it to the finals and to place second behind Jennifer and Derek, who got perfect scores, means we were pretty close to perfection," Massey said after the show.
"Jennifer deserved to win. America got it right."
With partner Hough's help, Grey slowly made her way around the ballroom after the show to talk to the press with a ruptured disc in her lower back.
She sustained that Monday, and in between performances last night, Grey was in pain. An ice pack was strategically tucked into her dancing pants.
Grey credited her husband, actor Clark Gregg, and their 8-year-old daughter, Stella, for their undying support of her ballroom "immersion course."
"I've done nothing but sleep and take care of my injuries. They have been so amazing," says Grey. "My husband has been taking care of everything and my daughter has become so much more self-sufficient. It's been great for everyone."
"I found out my husband can cook!"
Sounds like a win-win to us!