Ellen Pompeo has been playing Dr. Meredith Grey on the hit ABC show Grey’s Anatomy for 16 years, and in addition to gratitude for starring in one of the defining shows of an era, she tells Dax Shepard during Armchair Expert that watching herself get older can be surreal.
“To watch myself age from 33 to 50 now on screen, that's not so fun. Because you really see it, because I'm in the same clothes, I'm in the same character. So the way I see myself aging, that's a motherf—er,” she says.
Pompeo is trying to embrace it though: “I think the overall goal of my life is to always keep my ego in check. I don't want to tell myself lies, I don't lie about my age, I don't put anything in my face.”
Pompeo also discusses famous co-stars, and how she felt when the left.
On Patrick Dempsey, who left after 11 years of playing Meredith's love interest, Dr. Derek Shepherd: “I could've left because the man left, which is not a story that I want to tell. Like, 'He's not here anymore, so I have to go.' So that story then becomes, 'What can I do without the man?' Because they had put that in my head for so long that I was no good without him. I had to take over that script and rewrite that story and prove to myself that they were wrong.”
On Sandra Oh, her on-screen BFF Dr. Cristina Yang, who left after 10 seasons: “When Sandra Oh left the show, I was like, 'Ugh, how do I go on without Sandra?’ She was such an amazing scene partner.”
Pompeo also knows she has it good: “My commute is 6 minutes. At this point, I’m so blessed that the executive producers of the show make my life so fantastic, that I have a very set amount of hours. I know exactly where I’m gonna be. I know exactly what time I’m gonna come home. I’m home for dinner with my kids every night.”
She adds that she hopes to recapture what she did not have herself: “It's all where you are in your life, and kids have a huge part to play in that. My mother died when I was 4. I grew up without a mother, and I want to be home with them every single night.”