Ellen Pompeo has opened up in the past about how the people who decided salaries on Grey’s Anatomy would often use Patrick Dempsey as “leverage” against her. “[They’d say] ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’—which they did for years,” she told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2018. “I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that.”
But it turns out the McDreamy-related friction extended past salary negotiations. In a new interview on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Pompeo says she was made to feel like she was “no good” after Dempsey departed the show. “They had put that in my head for so long, that I was no good without him,” she recalls. “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.”
She continues, “I was just so beat down and meant to feel like they could do the show without me. Patrick Dempsey leaving the show was that for me. I was like, ‘Oh, I have a window here, now how are they going to tell me they don’t need me?’ You don’t have him, so you can’t use him against me.”
Can I just say it’s beyond messed up Pompeo was fed this narrative, especially considering she is Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy. Not to quote Lady Bird but:
This, unfortunately, is a tactic we’ve seen used against women in Hollywood for years—they’re given the horrific impression that they’re replaceable. But thankfully, Ellen Pompeo had the last laugh. She is now the undisputed anchor of Grey’s Anatomy who inked a historic $20 million deal to stay on the show. That, my friends, is karma.