Ellen Pompeo Says ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Had A ‘Really Toxic’ Work Environment


As high-key dramatic as “Gray’s Anatomy” has been over the previous 15 seasons (see: deer defibrillation, icicle-related violence, ghost intercourse, and so forth.), sequence star Ellen Pompeo is hinting that the actual drama went down behind the scenes.

Pompeo, who can be a producer on the long-running ABC drama, spoke out concerning the “actually poisonous work setting” she skilled within the first decade of the sequence’ run in Selection’s newest “Actors on Actors” dialog with Taraji P. Henson.

Henson requested Pompeo if there was ever a degree the place she needed “off this bus.”

“I by no means needed off the bus within the yr that I may get off,” responded Pompeo, who just lately prolonged her multimillion-dollar contract till Season 17. “The primary 10 years we had severe tradition points, very unhealthy conduct, actually poisonous work setting.”

Pompeo didn’t elaborate on that assertion instantly, however the Emmy-winning drama has famously weathered its fair proportion of public scandals over time ― be it actor Isaiah Washington utilizing an anti-gay slur to explain his co-star T.R. Knight, or Katherine Heigl dropping out Emmy competition one season as a result of she didn’t suppose her materials was ok.

Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, Sandra Oh and Ellen Pompeo in "Grey's Anatomy."

Michael Desmond through Getty Photos

Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, Sandra Oh and Ellen Pompeo in “Gray’s Anatomy.”

Pompeo, nevertheless, mentioned her priorities shifted when she welcomed her first little one with husband Chris Ivery, and her want to pursue different and doubtlessly much less profitable tasks waned.

“As soon as I began having children, it grew to become not about me. I want to offer for my household,” she continued. “At 40 years outdated, the place am I ever going to get this sort of cash?”

However after Season 10, the actress pledged to vary the tradition, as lots of the “Gray’s” stalwarts had left the sequence and a brand new crop of actors joined the forged. 

“We had some huge shifts in entrance of the digital camera, behind the digital camera. It grew to become my objective to have an expertise there that I may very well be comfortable and proud about, as a result of we had a lot turmoil for 10 years,” Pompeo mentioned. “My mission grew to become, this may’t be implausible to the general public and a catastrophe behind the scenes. [Series creator and executive producer] Shonda Rhimes and I made a decision to rewrite the ending of this story. That’s what’s stored me.”

Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey pictured together during the ninth season of "Grey's Anatomy." 

Ron Tom through Getty Photos

Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey pictured collectively through the ninth season of “Gray’s Anatomy.” 

Pompeo, who now stands as dramatic tv’s highest-earning actress, additionally talked about the pay disparity between herself and co-star Patrick Dempsey, who was paid virtually double her wage at first of the sequence.

“The studio and community believed the present couldn’t go on with out the male lead,” she continued, referring to Dempsey’s exit in Season 11. “So I had a mission to show that it may. I used to be on a double mission.”

And so she did: “Gray’s Anatomy” just lately made historical past this yr as TV’s longest-running medical drama and stays the community’s No. 1 sequence for the 2018-19 broadcast season.

Nonetheless, Pompeo admits that she’s hasn’t “been challenged creatively in any respect” in recent times.

“Each now and again we do a tremendous storyline,” she mentioned. “However for the final 5 years, I’ve had different milestones that we have been attempting to realize behind the digital camera.”

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