Ellen Pompeo hints she’s leaving Grey’s after 16 years: ‘I’m looking for a change’

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Long running medical soap opera Grey’s Anatomy is starting it’s 15th season this week. Wow. I can’t believe it’s been on that long. It’s lasted longer than my marriage. If the show’s star, Ellen Pompeo, is correct, an end to the series may be on the horizon.

The 48-year-old actress, who is one of only four actors who have been on the show since it premiered in 2005, spoke to Entertainment Weekly. When asked if she planned on staying on after her current contract runs out at the end of season 16, she said:

“I’m clearly not prepared right now to make any formal announcement about what my future is on the show, but I am really feeling like we have told the majority of the stories that we can tell. It’s about time that I mix it up. I’m definitely looking for a change.”

Ellen is probably due for a change. She’s already accomplished the title as the highest paid actress on dramatic television, earning upwards of $20 million per year. Just because she’s got her eyes on the exit, she promises she won’t be phoning it in leading to the end of her contract, telling EW, “I still am fighting every day for the quality of the show to be good and for the actors to be happy,” adding, “I still care very much about the show.”

Back in May, Ellen shared a similar sentiment in an US Magazine interview, saying that she and show creator Shonda Rhimes were “getting there” regarding an end to the series, adding that they’ll make the decision to end the show together.

Shonda also spoke to the magazine. Although she’s got a lucrative deal with Netflix and no longer runs the show at Grey’s, she promises to come back to write the series finale, noting, “I have written the end of the show at least six times, but we just don’t end. Every time I thought, ‘This is how the show should end,’ we’ve gone past those moments, so I’ve stopped trying. I have no idea now.”

She also told the magazine that, “I’m incredibly proud of the show and I still every day pinch myself that we even got on the air, [that] people watch and people care as much as they do. Everything about this show has been a miracle to me. I love it.”

As much as it’s sad to see the end of a beloved series it’s good to end things the right way, with a well-written, memorable finale. I’m sure Shonda and company will deliver. I can totally identify with Ellen needing a change.

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36 Responses to “Ellen Pompeo hints she’s leaving Grey’s after 16 years: ‘I’m looking for a change’”

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  1. truthSF says:

    Only the first 3 seasons was good! It started going downhill by season 4. And although it picked back up around season 11-12, it was never able to get back to its past season’s level! Plus it’s well over time for this show to end!!

  2. Gaby says:

    I loved this show when started. I still like it but I do think it’s time to end it. Some seasons were pretty bad, and I miss Christina Yang, but Sandra Oh deserved better so I’m glad she is getting better things nowadays. It’s funny to go back and see how different I feel about “Derek Sheperd”, he is such an ass, I can’t believe he was supposed to be this dreamy guy that my teenage-self imagined he was.

  3. Jess says:

    The show must be highly rated if she’s pulling in that much, jeez. I can’t believe it’s been that long, or that she’s 48, go Ellen! I lost interest at some point after the first few seasons, but binged watched a few years ago when I was down with a back injury, it’s ridiculous and dramatic and I absolutely love it:) I think Meredith(and Ellen) are way better off without Patrick Dempsey, he held her back in many ways and I’m glad he’s gone.

    • Des says:

      It’s funny but for all its faults, it’s a show that has really committed to character growth. I went off the show midway through the 4th season and when I picked back up six or seven seasons later, I could immediately see the characters had or were dealing with issues that I remembered from all those seasons ago.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      It will always hold the most incredibly soft spot in my heart. I started watching it during the start of early labour with my daughter who is now 11.
      I adore Ellen and think that she and the show have grown as those watching it have.
      If she wants to go then I’m all for it ending but I will be sad to let it go.
      Sob

  4. Snowslow says:

    I only ever watched Grey’s when I was in the kitchen this summer with a Tv that has only a few channels.
    I found myself hooked during summer and then let it go.
    Cooking, a few days ago I remembered it was Grey’s time slot and was baffled by the change: the characters shout all the time BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS EXTRA ULTRA IMPORTANT AND THERE IS DRAMA IN IMPORTANCE. It’s beyond ridiculous.
    And apparently Sandra Oh is no longer there so there is no point.
    She is in Killing Eve, a BBC thriller which is quite good. Not as good as people will tell you here in the UK, but really really fun to watch.

    • AG-UK says:

      I enjoyed Killing Eve, but it’s better than what people say about the Bodyguard I am sure there will be another series but it won’t EVEN COMPARE to Line of Duty :)

      • Snowslow says:

        Agreed. I was all prepared to be completely and willingly manipulated by the Bodyguard but I could see a lot of things coming which was NOT the case with the much missed Line of Duty. I haven’t watched the last episode yet so please not spoilers! ;-)

  5. Eleonor says:

    It’ s my guilty pleasure.
    I hope a finale where we can see all the cast, like E.R. did.

  6. Mrreow says:

    Total guilty pleasure, I don’t even care how cringe-inducing. Sometimes a girl just wants pure junk food for the brain. This is a ridiculously fun show to binge on Netflix when needing to zone out so I’ll miss it when it’s time to say good bye to any new episodes.

  7. Reef says:

    Ellen Pompeo is a “Keep Getting Them Checks” All-star. God Bless her. My hero😍

    • someone says:

      nothing wrong with that:-) Most of them can’t repeat a huge success. if I were in her shoes, I’d just show up and do the best every day and shut up about being bored.

    • CeeCee says:

      And no Emmys at all. I was watching a rerun the other night and realized why. She really is a terrible actor!

  8. Millenial says:

    I compare watching Grey’s to watching any cop/crime procedural. You know what you are getting — an hour to shut your brain off for a bit. I don’t think there’s any shame in that.

    I am interested to see what they do with Grey’s character. Will she be content with her kids and her friends? Will they feel compelled to pair her off with someone? It will be interesting.

    • chinoiserie says:

      Maybe they go with the drama angle and give her early onset Alzheimer’s to tie with her mother form the start of the series.

  9. HelloSunshine says:

    I still watch the show every week it’s on. It’s definitely my guilt pleasure, like others have said. It’s gotten really ridiculous with some of the plot lines and deaths but it’s another SVU to me! Idk why but I always get sucked in lol

    That being said, they should end it. This show is very rewatchable from beginning to current, they’ll be okay with residuals I’d think lol

  10. Cee says:

    I love this show but I agree, it has to end somehow and I hope it goes out with a bang.

  11. Elena says:

    I LOVED the early seasons, the chemistry in the cast was amazing and it was fresh.
    I stopped watching after Meredith was almost killed/almost died in every episode.

  12. Lala11_7 says:

    With “Shondaland” moving from ABC to Netflix…I’m SURE the show will end within the next (2) years….

    • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

      Shonda is also adapting a romance novel series, The Bridgertons for netflix. Despite my hatred for how she ruined Grey’s AND Scandal (only fanfiction has got me through that ughhhh!)….I am excited for it.

  13. Jan says:

    Let me get this straight. Her outrageous salary demands got many people fired and NOW she wants to leave???? Wow what a bit$h! Won’t look at her the same anymore!

    • Gigi La Moore says:

      You said what I was thinking.

    • Jess says:

      That’s a BS story, even she has spoken out about it. Her money has absolutely nothing to do with letting others go, they have PLENTY to go around, especially without Patrick now. And as far as we’ve ever heard Ellen is a complete professional and never has work drama. It’s ridiculous to try and smear her name just because she got a huge raise, and as a fellow woman I praise the hell out of her for getting that money. Patrick Dempsey never went to bat for her, he never wanted to go in together and demand they make the same since they were both equal stars, that’s why I said she’s so much better off without that douche.

      • holly hobby says:

        Except Dempsey has been gone for a few seasons now. So technically whatever money savings from his salary has already ran its course. Her salary is taken in totality with the show’s budget. There is no separate allotment for her and everyone else. The pie can only go so many ways.

        To deny that her salary did not have any effect on the rest of the cast budget is just being unrealistic.

  14. Robyn says:

    Am I the only one who never liked Meredith Grey? It spills over onto Pompeo. I predict she won’t get work after this because she’s so unappealing. She’s played that role too long.

    • someone says:

      I never liked the role r her acting in it.. Always seemed so whiny and needy and unappealing..

    • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

      Meredith is actually kinda like Carrie on Sex and the City for me…..kinda blank slate blah, but also whiny and selfish until something/someone else affects her and then everyone is supposed to drop everything and prop her up. How great would Grey’s have been in Christina’s POV? Or Lexi’s (I am sooo bitter about Lexi and Mark breaking up and then both dying that I refuse to watch past season 5, but just read about it)…..?

      ITA, I can’t watch the show anymore, even various clips because it just seems like Shonda’s goal is to break up every single couple that was created on the show in a ridiculously contrived way.

    • CeeCee says:

      Meredith was damaged, but also an entitled brat. She had her mother’s name and Derek’s protection and like Donny Trump Jr., thought she earned it all on her own talent. In the show, I like her the least, followed by Derek. I disliked them and their patriarchal relationship.
      I LOVED Addison and Miranda and Christina after Burke left. She was a pure character whose love of surgery was the purest relationship on the show!

  15. minx says:

    Yeah, I imagine she’s looking for a change lol!

  16. PlaidSheets says:

    “Choose me! Love me!”

    I used to love the show in the first three seasons. But that line right there got me abandoned by husband to watch by myself. Looking back, I have to admit it was pretty bad.

  17. MeghanNotMarkle says:

    Never made it past season two (*maybe* the beginning of three). They’d already had so many changes in actors and the storylines were insufferable so I just stopped. No plans to binge it. Sounds like it needs to be put to pasture.

  18. CeeCee says:

    For a show written by a feminist, I am always annoyed at how the women gained power through their relationships with powerful men: Meredith and Derek; Christina and Burke and then the redhead whose name escapes me right now; Jo and Alex; even Lexie and Mark. And I hated Derek and Meredith once Addison came into the picture. Addison was a grown up and Derek couldn’t handle it. He wanted an intern to worship him.
    I felt the roles were all pretty patriarchal and the women were not presented very well. I did LOVE Christina once Burke left, and I always liked Callie and Arizona. And Miranda is my favorite. She is the strongest woman on the show.

  19. Yes Doubtful says:

    It should have ended when they booted Patrick Dempsey. THEY WERE THE SHOW! I still watch, but halfheartedly. The guys aren’t hot, the characters are repeating storylines, the interns are a snooze, and there’s no Christina Yang!! It’s definitely time to let it go…