When “Grey’s Anatomy” returns with new episodes, it will mark the 17th season that Ellen Pompeo has portrayed Seattle surgeon Meredith Grey.
Not only is it unusual for a TV series to run for so many years, it’s also rare for the show’s star to remain with that show, with many actors itching to move on at a certain point in order to broaden their horizons.
Not so for Pompeo, who revealed in an interview with the “Jemelle Hill is Unbothered” podcast that she has some serious reasons for sticking with “Grey’s” all these years.
“You know, I made choices to stay on the show,” she explained.
“For me, personally, a healthy home life was more important than career. I didn’t grow up with a particularly happy childhood. So the idea that I have this great husband and these three beautiful children [and] a happy home life was really something I needed to complete, to close the hole in my heart,” added Pompeo, who shares three children with husband Chris Ivery.
“And so I made a decision to make money, and not chase creative acting roles, I don’t like chasing anything ever, and acting to me, in my experience, was a lot of chasing,” she continued.
“You’ve got to chase roles, you’ve got to beg for roles, you’ve got to convince people… and although I produce and it’s the same kind of thing, I think I still do it from a place of, I’m never that thirsty because I’m financially set,” said Pompeo, who went public back in 2018 to reveal she was earning $20 million per year.
She did concede that if she were younger she may be tempted to cast her net in search of some other roles. However, she believes that ship has sailed.
“I got in the game late. I didn’t start ‘Grey’s’ until I was 33, and then I started having kids at 40. If I started the show when I was younger, [like] 25, I probably would have dipped out when I was 31, 32, [when] my six-year contract was up, but my age had a lot to do with it. I knew coming up on 40, it’s like, I don’t want to be out there chasing things, running after things, begging. I’d rather just see this as the blessing that it is,” she added.
“At my age and where my life is, I just try to lean into it,” said Pompeo. “I’m not trying to run away from anything. It is who I am. I made my choices and I’m cool with it.”