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Ellen Pompeo Talks Patrick Dempsey and Sandra Oh's 'Grey's Anatomy' Exits

Ellen Pompeo Talks Patrick Dempsey and Sandra Oh's 'Grey's Anatomy' Exits
August 25, 2020 - 20:03 / Sarah Schulz

Ellen Pompeo is an indispensable part of the Grey's Anatomy series. Co-stars, on the other hand, regularly drop out of the series. The "Meredith Grey" actress has now revealed how stressful some farewells were for her.

With 16 seasons, the medical drama Grey's Anatomy is easily one of the most successful series ever. Without Ellen Pompeo, who embodies the main role of "Meredith Grey" and has been with us from the very beginning until today, this success would probably not have been possible. As the actress reveals in the podcast Armchair Expert, however, Ellen didn't just think about giving up her role and leaving the series.

Ellen Pompeo: "How do I continue without Sandra?"

The exit of Ellen Pompeo's fellow actors Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey put a lot of strain on her, as she confessed to Dax Shepard in his podcast. When Sandra aka "Dr. Cristina Yang" "left" Grey's Anatomy, Pompeo didn't know whether she could go on without her. "How do I continue without Sandra? [...] Is there a show without Sandra?", Pompeo shared her thoughts from back then.

For Ellen Pompeo, who worked closely with Sandra Oh on the set, her exit was a huge loss. She also worried that she would always be assigned to her role of "Meredith" if she stayed longer with the series.

Sandra Oh and Ellen Pompeo in Grey's Anatomy

Ellen Pompeo: "I could have left because the man left"

The situation looked a little different when Patrick Dempsey aka "Derek" left the medical drama series in the eleventh season. Ellen Pompeo was concerned that Grey's Anatomy without "the man" would no longer run and she wouldn't be kept on the series. 

"When Patrick left, I had something to prove," Pompeo began. "He left season 11 and then I was renegotiating season 12, so I could have left, because the man left, which is not the story I want to tell."

"They had put that in my head for so long, that I was no good without him," she added. "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 in all the things they put into my head over all of those years," she confessed. 

Patrick Dempsey in „Grey's Anatomy"

Today we know that Ellen decided to stick with Grey's Anatomy - some might even say to prove to herself that she could continue the show on her own and that the things that had been drummed into her for years were wrong. This is exactly what she has now shown the audience. The 16 seasons of the popular medical drama and Ellen Pompeo's incredibly high salary per episode speak pretty clearly for themselves.