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Ellen Pompeo Discusses Her Upbringing, Support For Gays, Love For Chris Ivery

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Ellen Pompeo: An AmbassadorFor Ellen Pompeo, actions certainly speak louder than words.

While Pompeo took the high road when addressing Isaiah Washington's recent firing, her presence at the event for LifeWorks, at the "Life Out Loud" benefit in Los Angeles June 9, spoke for itself.

The organization, which finds mentors for gay and lesbian youth, is certainly lucky to have a famous and positive presence like Ellen Pompeo.

The Grey's Anatomy leading lady sat down with Us Weekly at the event to talk about why she cares about the cause, and what she would do if she was the mother of a gay child.

US: How did you get involved with LifeWorks?
Ellen Pompeo: Through Chip Sullivan, a dear friend and fellow Bostonite. He speaks so passionately about the organization. It's such a wonderful organization. I would love to see it be taken nationwide.

US: Growing up, did you have gay people in your life?
Ellen Pompeo: Yes, a ton. I was raised by drag queens practically. And when I left Boston at 20 years old, I went to South Beach with all of my gay friends. Always very close with the gay community.

US: Was there anyone when you were younger who touched your life?
Ellen Pompeo: I wouldn't say there was one person who touched my life. There were several. My mother died when I was four years old, so I was effectively raised by a bunch of different people. And a lot of those people were friends of my sister, Kathleen (I have three sisters), who had all these gay friends. She would baby-sit me everyday, and she would take me over to her friend's houses with all kinds of things going on: tucking, and eyebrow drawing, waxing, all sorts of things. I was literally raised by gay men. And a lot of other people: my grandmother, my aunts and uncles, but I spent a great deal of time with a lot of gay men.

US: Obviously there was a lot of controversy on your set this year, but you're making a big statement by being here. How did that all unfold for you?
Ellen Pompeo: I choose to focus on, now what has happened but what we can do. What can we do to make things like [Isaiah Washington's outburst] not happen again? How can we be proactive and change the environment and move forward and make a day when we don't have these problems. Hopefully organizations like LifeWorks move us in that direction.

US: How did it affect you to hear the kind of language, that word, that obviously a lot of gay youth hear every single day?
Ellen Pompeo: I'm not going to take the martyr position and say, "It hurts me deeply" because I don't know what it is to bear that burden. I don't know what it is to be gay. I don't know that struggle and pain, or, hopefully, that happiness and joy. I don't know that experience. But what I do see is my friends who are hurt by that language.

US: And when T.R. Knight came out, it was an amazing positive thing. It puts a really good role model out there.
Ellen Pompeo: I have to say, when T.R. came out, I did cry. Such tremendous courage. Most people don't have to come out like that.

US: Is your fiance, Chris Ivery, as open minded as you?
Ellen Pompeo: Yes, he grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the most liberal places on the planet. And he grew up with a white, Jewish mother and a black father, so he has had to deal with a lot of diversity issues as well. So we're very open minded.

US: Cher is famous for having said how, despite having tons of gay friends and fans, she didn't take it so well when Chastity came out of the closet. How would you feel if your child was gay?
Ellen Pompeo: Just fine. As long as my child was happy and healthy and hopefully could grow up and decorate my houses!

US: Do you want to have kids?
Ellen Pompeo: Maybe not kids. Maybe one.

US: Have you and Chris set a wedding date?
Ellen Pompeo: We have not.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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    Hi
    Represent You!
    Link:pregnant cold

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    Cameron Diaz takes a big swig of soda and shows the world that she can belch! Sexy Video of Cameron Diaz

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    hi nice post, i enjoyed it

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    EWFEF

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    Give me a break iluvgreysanatomy! With all due respect you're making KH sound like a hormonal teenager - no way, she is an adult who has been in the movie business for years - she is media savvy and knows the score. She is not some "kid" putting her foot in her mouth! One loose comment I can accept but several interviews in which you paint a colleague in a negative light are just not the "mistakes of a growing child" but carefully thought utterances designed to damage IW, make yourself look good, bring the powerful gay groups fimly on your side and promote your movie. All in one fell swoop. Brilliant!

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    Sorry plaes ::(
    Wronig categoey.. wlil be carefvuhl

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    though i am incredibly upset with Isaiah Washington's dismissal, I guess we should just move on. All the interviews over the past few weeks (mostly with Katherine) has been more on the negative side towards Isaiah.
    It's wonderful how Ellen handled the questions and answers especially when the interview is on an organization supporting gay and lesbians!!! go ellen!
    And for katherine heigl, though she is too honest, its just the type of person she is and we have to respect that. she will probably grow out of it as she matures.

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    haha i agree with the last comment, Are you kidding me. I wish IW was coming back : [

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    Nobody is friends with Katherine Heigl. Who would want to be friends with that big-mouthed bitch?

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    Well they seem to have a totally different character and personality in real life, but you might be suprised.