Actress Ola Ray poses for a portrait in 1983 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty)
Ola Ray became a part of music history when she appeared alongside Michael Jackson in his 1983 music video for “Thriller.”
The former Playboy Playmate beat out thousands of women hoping to be cast in the short film musical that became a sensation on MTV.
However, life post-“Thriller” didn’t go so smoothly for Ray. In 2002, PEOPLE Magazine revealed that after the “Thriller” video was released she stopped working because she refused to give “sexual favors” to producers.
More than three decades later, a photo of the now 56-year-old Ray has been uncovered by Closer Weekly from her Facebook page. She has generally remained out of the public eye since her ’80s fame.
Ray also struggled with drugs. PEOPLE Magazine added that after she was charged in 1992 for cocaine possession, she agreed to spend nine months in a treatment facility. At age 41, Ray said she was “clean.”
But Ray’s troubles didn’t end there. She filed a lawsuit against Jackson’s estate in May 2009, which was just a month after he died suddenly at the age of 50. Ray claimed that for years she wasn’t properly compensated for her involvement in the now-iconic music video.
“She just wants to get her fair share of payments from this extremely successful project that she’s very proud of,” said her lawyer Jason Feldman to the New York Daily News at the time. “She did receive some payments early on, but we don’t believe they were complete, and they were never timely.”
Feldman also added that a Jackson attorney reportedly paid an unspecified sum to Ray in 1988, but the payments had since fallen short. At the time, Ray was living away from the spotlight in Sacramento, Calif., as a stay-at-home mom to her 14-year-old daughter.
In 2013 TMZ reported that Ray allegedly settled her lawsuit with the estate and earned a reported $55,000 with $20,000 going to her lawyer. That same year, she released a song dedicated to Jackson called “Remember.”
Despite the setbacks she faced after “Thriller,” Ray still seemed grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I didn’t know that I was going to be a part of history,” she said in 2009. “But that’s the way it turned out, and I’m thankful.”