Grey's Anatomy's Ellen Pompeo: Nathan Is Not Another McDreamy

Nathan seems poised to be Meredith’s first significant post-Derek fling on Grey’s Anatomy. He may even turn out to be something more than a mere fling. But there is one thing that he can and will never, under any circumstances, be: another Derek. Take it from Ellen Pompeo, who plays Shepherd’s widow.

“There will only be one McDreamy ever,” she swears to TVLine. “You know, he’s not replaceable.”

Oh, we know. Viewers do, too. And luckily, so does Grey’s boss Shonda Rhimes. Well aware of the magic that Pompeo created with former leading man Patrick Dempsey, “the concept and the theme that she and I discussed [around the season finale] was, you really only get one great love in your life,” the actress says.

Which doesn’t mean that Mer can’t have fun with Nathan — or, if she so chooses, a whole series of Nathans. “Sure, you may have other relationships, and you may even marry again,” Pompeo notes, “but everybody has that one great love.” And for Meredith — not to mention legions of MerDer fans — that was Derek.

What do you think? Would you like to see Mer have another great love — and if so, who would it be?

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62 Comments
  1. Sara says:

    As much how much I loved MerDer.. Meredith deserves to be happy again. No one should be alone, and it gets boring on a TV show anyway.

    • Cassie says:

      We all know Mcdreamy is irreplaceable but if Meredith is to have something close to as great as Mcdreamy then it’s Major Will Thorpe, that chemistry was intense omg! He is so sweet towards her, now that could be something.
      Nathan on the other hand is just a fling material, he is that rebound guy one needs, so not relationship material!

  2. Al says:

    I will always love MerDer, and I am sure Derek is always gonna be her true love but I am interested with her and Nathan. They have chemistry and click

  3. Kai says:

    Meredith and Nathan have great chemistry and can’t wait to see how it’s going to be between them next season. They can be good and interesting together!

  4. Erin B says:

    A few days ago, I watched a rerun from way back with Finn. I wish Chris O’Donnell wasn’t so busy on CBS. He would be good with Meredith again. They have more in common now with both losing their partner, & would both be coming from a similar place & have a deeper understanding of each other. I have no issue with Nathan so that’s fine with me, but I liked Finn.

  5. EM says:

    Only one great love but you can love again. Loved Mer/Der but if Riggs can make her happy, so be it. I need happy, smiling, fun Meredith back.

  6. Toni Marshall says:

    Derek was the great love of Mer’s life – you get one of those but I also believe you get other loves. I don’t see any chemistry with Nathan but please bring back the very hot military Dr – crazy chemistry there. Mer should be able to have a balanced life that includes love – she can have it all but I do not see her getting married again nor having any more kids.

  7. AD says:

    “the concept and the theme that she and I discussed [around the season finale] was, you really only get one great love in your life,” the actress says.
    But it wasn’t what we saw? They literally went out of their way to refute that. With Owen & Richard & the fact that they believed & had multiple true/great loves. Not to say that Nathan will be Mer’s “great love” but I genuinely didn’t get that theme from the finale.

    • the girl says:

      Thank you. I definitely don’t get that theme from the show in general. Grey’s is constantly about showing us that great loves are not always romantic and you can always have more than one. Meredith had Derek and Cristina and Alex. Richard had Ellis and Adele. Alex had Izzie and Meredith and now Jo (ugh). Owen has Cristina and Amelia, and even Riggs was his “person” once upon a time. This show has spent more time developing the idea of what it means to be someone’s person, and how you can have many persons, and love them all greatly. So I can’t with this whole Meredith can’t have another great love nonsense. Non. Sense.

    • Random1 says:

      I think this might be an old quote. Pompeo gave a very similar quote to another website during a set visit with press before they actually finished filming the finale. Maybe she did not know the full script or how the finished product of the finale would look after editing. Or maybe she was just talking about the hypothetical situation that Mer and Alex were discussing in the beginning of the episode. This quote makes no sense based on the actual words that MEREDITH said toward the end in the car (about Richard and Owen believing in more than one great love, like you said) and the final voiceover quote about love being limitless! I agree that Riggs might not be her next great love, but she was clearly open to the idea of love again before the Maggie crush made her question it.

    • V. says:

      I don’t think that’s what the show’s theme is. Ellen states that that was the concept and theme Shonda and her discussed for Meredith as a character and not for the show in general.

  8. Whatevah says:

    Awe this was nice to hear! :) Thank you Ellen and Shonda.

  9. Ros says:

    The army doctor that she was first with had chemistry with Meredith and would be a great addition; Nathan isn’t appealing. Meredith needs a guy who’s a doctor so he can share her love of medicine and a guy who loves kids, since she has three, although we hardly see her interact with them. She deserves happiness again and being a widow myself, it has to be someone similar, but not the exact same as Derek. Speaking from experience, you can’t replace the one you lost, but you can find another great guy, who touches another part of your heart – she had chemistry with the army doctor.

  10. A says:

    I liked MerDer but I think it’s time for Mer to be with someone new & i hope we don’t see McCreepy Dr. Thorpe (or something) again, I still don’t get how some people liked that creepy stalker.

  11. bigdede says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOO Meredith and Thorpe please bring him back!

  12. I feel like everyone keeps justifying her getting into another relationship (whether with Will or Nathan or someone else) by saying “she deserves happiness again.” I agree, of course she deserves to be happy, but why does that mean she HAS to meet a man again?

    Remember earlier in Season 12, Meredith said, “I’m just not wondering what’s out there. Not feeling like I’m missing anything. I’ve had that great, amazing love. And that part’s behind me now, and I have the kids and you guys and surgery, and… I’m happy. And I never thought I would be again and I am. And that’s all I need.” I thought that was such a beautiful realization and it really sucks that they ruined it by forcing new romances.

    • Guest says:

      I agree. You don’t need a romantic relationship to be happy, and if you do, frankly you shouldn’t even be in one.

  13. Susan Reid says:

    Oh Shonda, don’t go there! Let Meredith have another great love. Show people it’s possible. It will be life fulfilling and a good way to end the series if you so desire.

  14. neecie says:

    I was hoping for a nice relationship to develop with the previous guy (fast food in car). He said “just let me know when you’re ready”…. she never has.

  15. Julieanna Renner says:

    I think the assumption that there is only one great love demeans the human heart. There can be different kinds of great loves for people who suffer loss

    • Stacy says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Random1 says:

      I agree, and her quote completely contradicts the hopeful message of the finale. It does not make sense. Could someone from TV Line please confirm the timing of this interview? She gave a very similar quote to other press when they were still filming, basically as a preview of the theme of the finale, which was HOPEFUL in the end for people who believe in finding another great love after death, divorce, different life choices, etc. This interview makes her seem very cynical, and it contradicts what Meredith herself said about other characters believing in more than one great love, and she started believing in it herself in the final voiceover, a beautiful quote about love being limitless with enough happiness for everyone.

  16. James Butler says:

    No! She may need some tension relief occasionally but Nathan isn’t the answer.

  17. Jennifer says:

    See now I like Nathan with her. I think he challenges her and won’t baby her like Derek did.

  18. Stacy says:

    Sure, that’s what they say now. I think Meredith’s frame of mind, currently, is that you only get one great love. If the show lasts a couple more seasons they’ll probably show her slowly changing her mind.
    .
    There will be some voice over dialogue about how one love looks different from another, but is no less great. Next season I expect to see a few scenes where Meredith reminisces about the less happy moments in her marriage to Derek; it’s not all rose colored glasses, after all.

    • busta950 says:

      yes and no Mer may fall in love again but it will be a different love she has 3 young children even to find a man that would be interested would be hard. Just re watching from season 1 great but life does move on that is experience talking

  19. busta950 says:

    Meredith is entitled to be happy again. It will never be the same and EP has stated that already lets hope she has fun. I just hope the next season does not just become an OMELIA and having a child or whatever how boring. I thought this season was good and they handled the death of Derek well and did not just ignore it. EP was excellent and also loved her relationship (big brother) when you go back you see where it started with them it was Thanksgiving diner. Well I think they have a really high standard to compete with last season

  20. Kate says:

    I like the idea of Derek being her great love. Even if they have her move on, I want Derek to stay the love of her life and no one compares to him.

  21. Jamie Hodson says:

    I personally believe that everyone gets one great love in their lifetime, but you can have as many as your heart will let you. Meredith had never been selfish in her relationship with Derek and didn’t really sleep around after his passing. She grieved the way she needed to but now she clearly should have happiness again. No one should feel like because their loves are dead, that’s the end of their romantic life. Give yourself time and honor and respect your significant other, but do not believe you don’t deserve to be happy again. Yes, Mer should move on when she feels ready, sometimes people need a push from their loved ones and friends to know it’s okay, it’s time. Finn and her had good acting and “friend” chemistry but I could never be okay with a romantic one. It just wasn’t for them. Riggs has a past and story about him, same as Meredith, they have dark and twisty going for them. I think this could be an amazing startup and end to the Grey’s Anatomy end. Let Riggs and Meredith have happiness, Let Amelia and Owen be married and only fight about small things, give her a break to be happy. Give Maggy a nice guy who will love and respect her, Make April and Jackson realize they need each other and their daughter should pull them closer together. Cut Jo and drop her dramatic, wish washy ass to the curb. Shonda, you had a good idea with her in the start, but now she needs to go.Lets end the show the best way.

    • Tia says:

      I totally agree with everything!
      Meredith deserves to be happy and in love again. She mourned Derek, she was in pain and angry and every other emotion. It’s been more than 2 years GA’s timeline.. she deserves to move forward in her life. Doesn’t mean she will ever forget Derek.
      Looking forward for Mer/Riggs storyline, they are both dark and things happened to them, which they can be really good for each other. Hopefully the Maggie stuff won’t be for too long. I am not interested in sisters drama.

      For those who are confused about the interview, it happened before the season 12 finale.

  22. Stacey McCarthy says:

    While I believe in one great love, I also believe we can also have deep love connections with another as well. Love is a complicated thing and there is no rules. The heart wants what the heart wants. She should be happy and share her life with someone who brings her joy. In the meantime, she can have some fun!

  23. alissa owens says:

    I would kinda like to see mer and Alex they have both been through so much together. I do like Jo but mer n Alex would be great together!

  24. Kailey says:

    I love team MerDer I could never let them go and I wish that all of it was just a dream thinking Derek was dead and she was seeing her life and that he would come back to the show to meet Ellis and what life is like with him

  25. Kailey says:

    I love team MerDer I could never let them go and I wish that Derek never died and it is just a dream and she was just see what he life would be like with out him and that he could meet baby Ellis so I wish that he would come back to the show

  26. Rejane says:

    And why not Mer and Alex…?

  27. Abner says:

    I think that MerDer was the best thing that happened in the show. Derek shouldn’t have been killed off in the first place because their relationship was one of a kind. I think she can have fun, but she shouldn’t get into a serious relationship with another man. It just wouldn’t feel right.

  28. Paula says:

    I like Nathan, a lot. McDreamy was too whiny for me. Meredith needs someone that will stand up to her while loving her immensely.

  29. Mirian Reyes says:

    Happy for Mer, didn’t want Greys Anatomy to not be about a Grey, would defeat the purpose of the show…. Glad she is not leaving either…. Must say I disappointed by the way Callie left…. She was to much of an independent, beautiful women to leave just to follow an intern she has been with for a little while!! Callie was my favourite, glad she didn’t get killed off but her story line was a little flimsy!! Mer and Riggs all the way!! Please don’t make it too hard for them to be together…..

  30. Anna says:

    One great love? That’s rather insulting to people who have lost spouses and found love again (and also to the second spouse). It is possible to have more than one great love. Your love may be different for the new person, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be just as strong.

  31. Angela Gibson says:

    I want to see Alex and Meredith hook up. He’s half in love with her any way. He’s her person. And she totally GETS Alex. They already love each other and are best friends..they need each other. They need that trust they’ve built with each other.

  32. Peatrie says:

    I just love Grey’s Anatomy …and I trust in them to Bring as a Awesome season 13 as the 12 seasons before this one ….can’t wait for it …..who know maybe Meredith finds love or just a good fling …or Christina pops in too dance it out …so exciting. …Good work till now guys …kEEP IT UP

  33. Nicky says:

    No please please please come bak Dereck😩😍 give all us hopeless romantics happiness n seeing miracles can happen I’m sure shonda can make miracle s happens that’s y we all watch tv for for hope that dreams do come true😩💤😭❤️X

  34. ok, so one great love per life means nothing good in the future for Owen&Amelia, Alex, Arizona and others – it’s sad

  35. Lia says:

    I agree that Mer should have a love life, but Nathan is trying to emulate Derek. Look at the guy – hair, beard, height, presence, vibe … . He may not be Mer’s endgame, but we are not blind, Shonda.

  36. maelstrom143 says:

    No. Derek was it. She will love again, but never with the same naive abandon of innocence she had back then. We grow become more and yet we also become less.

  37. Grey's #1 fan says:

    I think in season 13,since both Maggie and Meridith ended up liking Riggs, Riggs should secretly date both, meanwhile jo tells Alex about her secret marrige. When Alex finds out he goes after the man, and when he comes back Jo can decide whether or not she wants to marry Alex officially. Then meridith finds out about Riggs cheating and makes Riggs choose between Maggie and Meridith, while meridith and Alex are waiting for their answers, they hook up and have chemistry, when one of them gets the answer they wanted, they have to choose who they want to stay with

  38. I wouldn’t mind if Nathan turned into a great love. Not THE great love but marriage material – definitely ( I’m probably a minority but I think Martin Henderson is way more handsome than Patrick Dempsey, also the dynamics are so different. I felt Mer was outgrowing Mcdreamy in a sense and while I am the last to wish him dead, it isn’t as tragic as I thought it would be) I was REALLY disappointed to hear a rumor that Mer and Alex might become romantic. a) he is the new Christina and therefore should be platonic. B) I love seeing him as a big brother type and they have a cool relationship right now. and C) Jo is perfect for him!!! I really hope she comes clean or Deluca spills the beans about the abusive husband because they need to get together asap. I also agree that (as someone who is happily single and has no plans to change) I am a tad wistful that Mer decided to hop back on the relationship (or at least one night stand) train so quickly. If it had been subtle it would have been one thing but I felt like it was not handled the best way, from kicking a guy out of bed to literally jumping a guy… felt forced.

  39. Amy says:

    Should be Alex

  40. JoAnn Mitchell says:

    On grey’s anatomy I think that Meredith and Nathan would be a good couple. She had her one true love but I don’t see why she can’t still have love. Yet not the kind of love she had with Derek. She deserves love in her life.

  41. Jennie Bishop says:

    I am looking for them to bring Thorpe back into the picture, especially if Meredith and Riggs start getting serious.

  42. Barbara Keen says:

    I would like to see Derek come back on the show he was great for Meredith Grey they did not have enough time together and was actually so in love. Him and Meredith made the show worth watching. Please Please bring him back on for her.

  43. Betsy says:

    Derek can come back…. He was working for the president. He had to go into witness protection for a while. Meredith isn’t really fooling around with anyone (she knows) come on bring him back we will all accept any excuse. Show isn’t the same

  44. Tere Shepherd says:

    Derek should not leave; he is a great husband, but if he must leave Meredith deserves to be happy again because she is a sweet person & a good example.
    I don’t like Bailey’s & Christina’s role & terrible personality; can they be nicer?

  45. Donna Morris says:

    I want Meredith to find love hopefully with Nathan or Thorpe anyone but alex that would ruin it for me… Theyve been friends for too long to go there