Is Ellen Pompeo Leaving Grey’s Anatomy?

Originally released in 2005, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ has become the longest-running primetime medical drama ever. The series follows the lives of the medical professionals and interns working at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital, which eventually gets renamed Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. However, it primarily focuses on the titular character, Meredith Grey. Ellen Pompeo portrays the role of Meredith and has been doing so since the first season. Therefore, it may be safe to say that there would be no ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ without Meredith Grey.

Moreover, the role became a defining point in Pompeo’s career, for which she also won a Screen Actors Guild Award, People’s Choice Awards, and has received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award. Since 2017, she also became one of the highest-paid actors in the world. The series spans decades, and it has seen a lot of ups and downs for the characters and the actors involved.

There have been several instances where Pompeo considered exiting the show. While season 17 is still on the air, and Dr. Meredith Grey is battling COVID-19, fans are wondering if the current season will mark the end of the journey for the actress in the medical drama. If that is what you have in mind, what we know might interest you!

Is Ellen Pompeo Leaving Grey’s Anatomy?

The speculations about the actress leaving the show started doing the rounds after Ellen Pompeo herself stated that her contract with the show ends with the seventeenth season, which might also be the last for ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ You must know that the show’s fate heavily depends upon Pompeo’s decision to be a part of the series. In 2017, creator Shonda Rhimes stated that the series would only continue for as long as Ellen Pompeo wanted to be a part of it. She told E! News, “Ellen and I have a pact that I’m going to do the show as long as she’s going to do the show.”

Over the years, there were several instances when Ellen Pompeo contemplated exiting the project. She stated that there was a lot of drama and competition in the early stages of the show’s existence which made it a difficult working environment. However, the actress continued to be a part of the show for financial security and also because she was concerned about not getting good projects in the future. When Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) departed from the series in 2013, Pompeo also considered leaving. She admitted that another chance for her to leave was when Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd) left.

However, things turned around for Pompeo because the talented actress was given more agency over her storylines. She also committed herself to bring about a change in the work environment. Despite the years of “almost” leaving, one cannot disagree that Ellen Pompeo has dedicated a good part of her career to the popular series. It is but natural that she would like to move on. Pompeo has made it clear that she did not intend to stay on the series forever, and it would be a good time to step out when ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is still doing well.

In an interview, the Golden Globe-nominee stated that it was not fun for her to watch herself aging onscreen and doing the same thing for years. In her interview with Variety in October 2020, Pompeo said, “The direction the show was going in prior to (Krista Vernoff) coming on, I was seriously contemplating that it was the end. I was not inspired. I was not having fun. I didn’t think the storytelling was particularly interesting. It wasn’t anything I wanted to continue with any longer.” However, her working experience with Vernoff managed to keep the actress hooked on to the project for a while.

Will Dr. Meredith Grey Die?

The fate of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and Meredith Grey depends on what Ellen Pompeo decides. As of now, there has been no indication either from the makers or Pompeo that Grey’s character will die. In fact, on several occasions, Pompeo has said that she is highly excited about the seventeenth season. She even considers it one of the best seasons that the show has ever made. She has expressed gratitude for being given the opportunity to be a part of the hit series, but she said that leaving the show is an important decision.

The actress takes the responsibility very seriously because the production employs a large number of people. However, the fans will only know what Pompeo decides by the end of season 17. In case Ellen Pompeo does decide to leave, the makers of the show will have to take a call whether to end the show on a happy note or a sad note.

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