Ellen Pompeo has no more you-know-whats to give.
On the heels of inking a new two-year deal with Grey’s Anatomy worth north of $20 million, the actress gave a no-holds-barred interview to The Hollywood Reporter in which she revealed details of her strained professional relationship with former leading man Patrick Dempsey. Pompeo also divulged the real reason behind Martin Henderson’s recent (and mysteriously abrupt) exit as Mer’s post-McDreamy love Nathan Riggs.
What follows is an excerpt from her THR Q&A:
For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise. 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. 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. 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.”
Pompeo went on to discuss what transpired after Dempsey left Grey’s, while also detailing her frustration with the show’s decision to add Martin Henderson to the cast so soon after Meredith became a widow:
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. 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.
Back in November, co-showrunner Krista Vernoff sidestepped questions about Henderson’s sudden departure, telling TVLine, “So many things go into decisions like that… What I can say is I was really proud of how we told that story. I was really proud that we had a love triangle [with Meredith, Nathan and Megan] where the women continuously supported each other and nobody ever tried to tear anybody down or backstab anybody. They were rooting for each other and grateful for each other and taking care of each other.”