Grey's Anatomy: Ellen Pompeo Confirms Difficult Relationship With Patrick Dempsey

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Ellen Pompeo may have renewed her contract with ABC Studios to stay with Grey's Anatomy for a further two years, but her relationship with the studio has not always been great. 

The 48-year-old actress gave an interview to The Hollywood Reporter in which she reflects on several behind-the-scenes dramas including her rocky relationship with former co-star Patrick Dempsey and what really paved the way for Martin Henderson's exit. 

Maybe I Should Find A New Hospital - Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 9

If you watch Grey's Anatomy online, you will know that Patrick Dempsey shockingly departed the show back in 2015. The character was killed off, and fans were not impressed. 

"For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise," the actress dished to the website, before admitting that the powers that be used Dempsey being on the show to broker deals. 

"They could always use him as leverage against me — ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ — which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals."

Meredith's Growth - Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 7

It's all pretty crazy, and I think we speak for much of the fanbase when we say that there would be no Grey's Anatomy without Meredith Grey. To get a fair deal for herself, and for Dempsey, Pompeo even asked for joint negotiations. 

"There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey."

Is it really much for the star of the show to ask for a little bit more than the other co-lead whose character name does not appear in the show's title?

"They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, 'I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.'"

Ellen Pompeo Promo Pic - Grey's Anatomy

In the aftermath of Dempsey's exit, Martin Henderson was drafted in to serve as a new love interest for Meredith, but he did not make a significant impression. 

He was written out of the series in the fall of 2017, and while there was never a reason given for the exit, Pompeo dished all the goodies in the interview. 

"So, what does it look like when he leaves the show? First, it looks like a ratings spike, and I had a nice chuckle about that. But the truth is, the ink wasn’t even dry on his exit papers before they rushed in a new guy," Pompeo said of the swift process to get a new male in the door. 

"I was on vacation in Sicily, decompressing — it was a long working relationship and it was a tumultuous end and I needed a moment to just chill with some rosé — and they’re calling me, going, 'What do you think of this guy?' 'What do you think of this guy?'"


"And they’re sending pictures. I was like, 'Are you people f–king nuts? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?'"

"I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there. We brought in Martin Henderson, but they didn’t love the storyline, so that ended."

So, there you have it, Grey's Anatomy Fanatics. 

What do you think about all of this?

Sound off below!

Grey's Anatomy returns Thursday at 8/7c on ABC!

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.


MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."