Ellen Pompeo gets real about watching herself age on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

The actor also reveals she considered leaving the show after Sandra Oh’s exit.
August 25, 2020 1:30 p.m. EST
August 28, 2020 10:58 a.m. EST
Ellen Pompeo has spent the past 16 years entertaining viewers every Thursday night in her SAG-winning role as Dr. Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy. For Pompeo, the role has been an opportunity to work with some of the greatest actors, directors and crew member in the business, interact with fans from around the world, and secure a high-paying and steady job that allows her to be home every night with her family. It’s also a weird way to watch herself age. Pompeo was the latest guest on Dax Shephard and Monica Padman’s Armchair Expert podcast this week (listen here) and talked about the mental gymnastics involved in watching yourself age on screen."You really see it because I’m in the same clothes [playing] the same character. So, the way I see myself aging, that's a motherf-----" Pompeo told the podcast hosts on Monday. Joining the series in 2005, Pompeo is one of the few original regular cast members left on Grey’s Anatomy (Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. have also appeared on all 16 seasons). Pompeo has signed on for the upcoming seventeenth season of Grey’s Anatomy, but said she knows the time will soon come when she’s ready to leave Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. "Certainly, to dip out sooner rather than later at this point … [and] leave while the show is still on top is definitely a goal," said Pompeo. "I’m not trying to stay on the show forever. No way. If I get too aggravated and am no longer grateful there, I should not be there."[video_embed id='-1']RELATED: Ellen Pompeo says she stuck with ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to ‘make money’[/video_embed]The first ten seasons of Grey’s Anatomy heavily featured the friendship between Pompeo’s Meredith and her fellow surgeon, Dr. Cristina Yang, played by the brilliant Sandra Oh. The Killing Eve star left the medical drama in season ten, forcing Pompeo to question whether she should continue on the series. “When Sandra Oh left the show I was like, ugh, how do I go on without Sandra? Because as amazing as Patrick [Dempsey] is, he wasn’t really in the show that much. His impact is so huge, obviously. He’s such an iconic part of the show. But more of my work, my day to day scenes, were with Sandra and she was such an amazing scene partner. I was like, is there a show without Sandra,” said Pompeo.
The actor, who shares three children with husband Chris Ivery, said she feared being typecast by Grey’s meant she would struggle to find new roles. "Sandra is a different kind of actor. You never doubt whether Sandra Oh is gonna work again, right? She'll work forever, right? But for me, I had to think, Am I gonna work again? Or am I going to be so typecast?"Dempsey also left the show in Season 11 and Pompeo famously used his exit to fight for a bigger payday, making history as the highest paid dramatic actress on television by earning $20 million per year. “They had put that in my head for so long, that I was no good without him,” said Pompeo about her former co-star and on-screen husband. “I had to rewrite the ending of that story and, say, well, ‘Who’s right? Am I actually good without him?’ I had to take over that script and rewrite that story and prove to myself that they were wrong.”Pompeo also touched on the show’s former toxic workplace, which the actor has previously spoken about in interviews. The Massachusetts native said that in addition to renegotiating her contract following Dempsey’s exit, she also wanted to use her newfound power to making the Grey’s Anatomy set a happy place to be, something Pompeo said it had never been in the past. “There are many contributing factors that factor into a toxic workplace. It’s never just one person or two people. It’s a virus. It spreads, it catches.”[video_embed id='-1']BEFORE YOU GO: Sweet little puppy plays with a tiny moth in the yard[/video_embed]

You might also like