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Ellen Pompeo Reveals She Almost Quit 'Grey's Anatomy' Because Of Its 'Toxic' Work Environment

by Jessica Rapir / Jun 10, 2019 07:01 AM EDT
Ellen Pompeo reveals she almost quit 'Grey's Anatomy' because of its "toxic" work environment. Photo by Grey’s Anatomy/Facebook

Grey's Anatomy lead actress Ellen Pompeo has crashed all assumptions that she always have the best time on the show. Pompeo opened up and revealed that she almost quit the ABC medical drama because of its "toxic" working environment.

In Variety's episode of Actors on Actors with Empire actress Taraji P. Henson, Pompeo confessed that she almost gives up on playing Meredith Grey. She said the "toxic" and "very serious culture issue" on Shonda Rhimes production run for 10 years. But thoughts about leaving changed when she became a mother.

"The first 10 years we had serious culture issues, very bad behavior, really toxic work environment. But once I started having kids, it became no longer about me. I need to provide for my family," she said.

The actress has been playing the role of Dr. Meredith Grey since the show's debut in 2005. She gave birth to her first child during Season 6. Pompeo now has three children with husband Chris Ivery while working on Grey's. In the TV series, she also raising three kids.

Ellen Pompeo said she taught about the possibility of leaving the show and finding work somewhere else. She, however, later on, realized that she may not find another job at 40-years-old that would pay the same salary as Grey's.

Her decision to stay allowed her to make changes to the behind-the-scenes culture in Grey's Anatomy. Pompeo said she cannot allow the show to continue to look great on the surface but behind the camera, there is a disaster happening. But the problem never stops immediately.

She said more came up when Patrick Dempsey (Dr. Derek Shepherd) left the show in Season 11. Pompeo said at the time, the show's bosses don't believe that Grey's could go on without their lead male actor. But she wanted to prove them wrong.

Meanwhile, Pompeo also talked about the pay parity issues on the show. The actress said she didn't realize Dempsey was being paid almost double of what she is getting until Season 3 when there was a renegotiation of the contract.

In January 2018, Pompeo signed a new contract with the show. Reports indicated that negotiated a $20 million salary per season through the 17th season. Grey's Anatomy is set to return for Season 16 in fall.

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