Ellen Pompeo on leaving Greys: ‘I’m 53, my brain is like scrambled eggs’

After 19 years, Ellen Pompeo’s titular character is leaving Grey’s Anatomy. It wasn’t a death, or a man, or a job that finally got Meredith Grey to leave Seattle. She’s doing it for her daughter. And possibly Ellen is doing it because she hated the last few seasons just as much as the rest of us did. Just kidding! Ellen appeared on Drew Barrymore’s talk show to talk about the why behind her departure, her experiences on the show, and what’s next for her.

On leaving Grey’s: About her exit, Ellen shared, “I feel super happy, but listen the show has been incredible to me and I’ve loved a lot of the experience. Listen it’s just I gotta mix it up a little bit. I’m fifty-three, my brain is like scrambled eggs…I gotta do something new or I’m literally gonna turn into like, you can’t do the New York Times crossword puzzle every single day. I mean nineteen years, that’s more than people keep their kids in their house, like people keep their kids in their house until they’re eighteen and then they send them off to college, so this is like me like going away to college.”

On what she’s doing next: Ellen responded on her plans, “I have a lot that I’m doing. I have three kids and so I take care of them, and it’s really important for me to be around for them and be more present for them. I’m gonna do a limited series for Hulu in the spring which is a very cool kind of crazy true story.” According to Variety, Ellen is set to star in a Hulu miniseries inspired by real life events.

On if there was a best kisser on Grey’s: Drew asked, “You’ve had a lot of handsome co-stars on the show, was there anyone that was easier to kiss?” Ellen then responded, “Listen, you know I love Patrick Dempsey. I love him and him and we had a great time together and I also love Scott Speedman my current love.” Drew then chimed in, “How fun is Speedman?” Ellen responded, “Speedman is hot. Speedman is very hot.”

On a habit she’s trying to kick: Finally Drew asked Ellen if there was a habit she wanted to kick. Ellen responded, “Yes. I’m actively trying to stay up later. I go to bed too early, it’s not sexy. I gotta stay up later.”

[From JustJared]

The recent precipitous decline of the show aside, I don’t think anyone can blame Ellen for wanting to leave. Nineteen years is a long time! As she points out, that is longer than many kids live in the home, but also, that’s an incredibly long time to stay at one job, doing the same thing. No matter how much they try to switch it up for her at that job, with producing and directing, etc, it’s still the same job, at the same place. I’m 33, have been at my job for seven years, and my brain is also like scrambled eggs. But writing for Celebitchy has been great for unscrambling. So I get why she’s leaving and wants to do something else. Her next project doesn’t sound that interesting though. It sounds like a TV version of those Orphan movies. As for the best kisser on Grey’s, I feel like she had to say those two guys because those were her two main love interests. But she really seemed to like the Meredith/Deluca relationship (RIP) as would we all.

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19 Responses to “Ellen Pompeo on leaving Greys: ‘I’m 53, my brain is like scrambled eggs’”

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  1. MaryContrary says:

    I must be one of the few who has never seen even one episode of this show!

  2. Eleonor says:

    She wanted to leave the show years ago, finally she made it.

  3. mj says:

    I never got the appeal of this show. I’m in nursing school and several classmates are huge fans. I gave it a try and nope. Just seems like soapy melodrama.

    • Sue E Generis says:

      I just don’t enjoy Shonda’s work, I find it unwatchable. But, I think she’s the 21st century incarnation of Aaron Spelling and I love that for her.

  4. Louise177 says:

    I hate that Ellen said “listen” so many times. It used to be a really good show but so many people have come and gone ruining the rhythm and story lines. I just hate watch now. I’m sure that there will only be one more season than cancellation.

  5. Isa says:

    I stopped watching when everyone died.

  6. Concern Fae says:

    When it started, I watched some because my kid sister loved it. Then I remembered the shit ER put me through and said, nope no going through that again. Don’t do melodrama shows no more.

    Also, if you hit late 40s, early 50s and your brain turns to mush, get tested for ADHD. Estrogen is protective of the brain. When your levels drop, mental conditions that you could cope with in your earlier years can become debilitating. But there are meds that can help with a lot of it. Some of PMS “crazy” is underlying conditions flaring with hormone fluctuations. Find a doctor who understands all this. Not easy, but they are there. Google ADHD, women, hormones. There’s a lot of great patient led material out there.

    • New says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. I hadn’t heard that before.

    • Kkat says:

      Yes, I’m bipolar and ADHD and other affect disorders and now that I’m older, for me it’s getting better.

      My bipolar is absolutely tied to my hormones and monthly cycle, so were my migraines.
      I’m one of the lucky ones.

      Whereas a lot of people with affect disorders get worse as they get older due to the drop in hormones
      It’s very important you have experienced drs that can diagnose and medicate properly.
      Do research yourself and ask questions

  7. Mads says:

    The show died when George died IMO ☹️

  8. AnneL says:

    19 years is too long for a prime time show to extend, IMO. It can’t help but turn into a soap opera. I also hate it when shows deal with actor departures or do “resets” by killing off characters in high-drama ways. ER did the same thing. Everyone kept getting killed in vehicular accidents. One guy even got crushed by a freaking helicopter. It became ridiculous.

    No offense to fans of “Grays.” I watched on and off for a while over the first four seasons or so, maybe five. It was a good show. But I’m glad I stopped watching long before Dempsey was killed off because I would have flipped a s**t over that. One of your leads doesn’t want to come back for Season (checks brain) ELEVEN?! End it.

  9. FHMom says:

    Ellen’s style is so bad. I do t blame her for wanting to leave. The show is so bad. There are so many departures based on random reasons and most are horribly written. I was never a huge Meridith fan, but I wish her luck

  10. LouLou says:

    I stopped watching this show years ago because I could not deal with the way the writers always created unbelievable reasons for why that many adults would choose to live in the same house when they were not poor. The final straw was when they all got a bunch of money (maybe after that plane crash?) and chose to donate it to the hospital. Really? No one paid their loans off or bought their own freaking house? Lol. I could not accept that premise, and at that point, most of my favorites had left the show or were being written in a way that was not interesting to me.

  11. Jess says:

    She’s so unlikeable.

  12. Valerie says:

    Was this show ever good?

    Also, and I say this as non-judgmentally as possible, it’s not really normal for your brain to turn to mush at that age. Everyone is different, and she’s probably being a little hyperbolic, but her comment about the NYT crossword is silly too. It’s not the same crossword every day; you’re still using your brain in a certain way, and every little bit helps.