Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and series star Ellen Pompeo have both said the long-running ABC medical drama will end when the actress decides to walk away.
The series, which debuted in 2005, has had many ups and downs through the years, but the creative team behind the scenes wants to be sure everyone is happy with the ending when the time comes.
“I didn’t ever think that I would stay on the show this long. It happened, and here I am. It’s been this incredible platform for me and allowed me to stay home with my kids so much and not travel and have the circus life of an actor,” she told Variety in 2020. “So I thought that it wasn’t the road less traveled, to stay on a television show for this many years, but actually it is the road less traveled. And so, that’s been ironic.”
Although she said she has “no expectations” about the show’s eventual end, she does have an idea in mind for Meredith Grey’s final episode.
In January 2018, Pompeo opened up about her battle for equal pay on the series after 14 seasons, telling The Hollywood Reporter that she attempted to negotiate with former costar Patrick Dempsey. (Dempsey exited the show in 2015 and returned for a multi-episode arc in 2020.)
“They could always use him as leverage against me — ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ — which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals,” she recalled at the time. “There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me.”
Ultimately, she got her ask and became one of the highest-paid actors on TV, raking in nearly $20 million a year. So, what will happen when that ends?
“I can do anything I want or not do anything at all,” the producer said on CBS This Morning in 2021.
In August 2022, TVLine reported that Pompeo would take a reduced role in the show, appearing in just eight episodes of the season. Her final episode will air in February 2023.
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Scroll through the gallery below for everything the actress has said about when the show will end.