Barbara Walters Profiles Patrick Dempsey

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The neurosurgeon dubbed "Dr. McDreamy" by the female interns of Grey's Anatomy has long battled a common brain disorder in real life. Patrick Dempsey still fights dyslexia -- which impairs the mind's ability to process and use language -- ever since being diagnosed with it at age 12. In his interview with Barbara Walters, which airs on ABC's Barbara Walters Special tonight, the Maine native discusses how dyslexia and other obstacles have shaped who he is today.
Dempsey Talks About Life

"I think it's made me who I am. It's given me a perspective of â€" you have to keep working. I have never given up," he said.

The 40-year old actor says that he struggles when reading scripts and memorizing his lines as Dr. Derek Shepherd on the hit ABC series.

"I think that's when I get the most insecure ... it's very hard for me to read it off the page. I need to memorize it, in order to go on," he said.


Dempsey has also had a hard time coping with the emotional fallout from his first marriage. Before marrying hairstylist Jillian Fink, with whom he has a daughter, Tallulah, seven years ago, he was married to his manager, Rocky Parker. What makes the issue complex is that Parker is nearly 30 years his senior and the mother of his best friend, Corey Parker.

"Yeah, I think I needed a mother. There were a lot of negative things that I am still undoing from it, and will always have to remember," Dempsey said.

Now enjoying a terrific show business comeback since dropping off the radar screen for about a decade -- he had built reputation in '80s romantic comedies such as Can't But Me Love -- Dempsey admits that his run of bad luck humbled him, and that he was guilty of diva-like behavior as a young star.

"You can't have temper tantrums. You have to be professional, and I don't think I understood that at the time," he said.

Hopefully, he'll be memorizing scripts and making the interns at Seattle Grace swoon for many years to come.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Lexie: [narrating] Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone.
Mark: It isn't just death we have to grieve. It's life. It's loss. It's change.
Alex: And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime.
Izzie: That's how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can't breathe, that's how you survive.
Derek: By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, you won't feel this way. It won't hurt this much.
Bailey: Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way.
Owen: So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty.
Meredith: The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can't control it.
Arizona: The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes.
Callie: And let it go when we can.
Meredith: The very worst part is that the minute you think you're past it, it starts all over again.
Cristina: And always, every time, it takes your breath away.
Meredith: There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five.
Alex: Denial.
Derek: Anger.
Bailey: Bargaining.
Lexie: Depression.
Richard: Acceptance.

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.

Meredith