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Patrick Dempsey Shares Many Details

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On the cover and with an extensive interview, this month's edition of Details showcases Dr. McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey. It shows a side of him we rarely see - but that we definitely like. Here's the full interview with the leading man of Grey's Anatomy, with more pictures after the jump:

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Patrick Dempsey: Details CoverPatrick Dempsey is somewhere behind the hedges, waiting in the late-afternoon emptiness of the garden at the Chateau Marmont. Sitting slouched at a table, wearing black boots, dark jeans, and a brown plaid button-down shirt, the Grey's Anatomy star wearily yes-yeses into his PDA and then disconnects with an apologetic smile.

He looks whipped. He's pale.

There are dark circles under his green eyes. Even his Prince Charming mane â€" which he claims has a life of its own â€" looks tired.

"Isn't it great back here?" asks the actor, surveying his sparsely populated surroundings. "I like to be alone a lot. I like my privacy. The older I get, the more I want to be around fewer and fewer people."

The waiter, a young Jeff Goldblum look-alike, glides over with the wine list. He recommends a red, returns, and pours a taste. Dempsey sips and makes an ew face. "You taste it," he urges. The wine is suggestive of something used to sterilize surgical instruments. "It's kind of harsh," Dempsey says. "It finishes tangy. With a heavy wine you really need to decant."

Little Goldblum hurries back with a decanter. "It probably needs to breathe for an hour," Dempsey says. "It needs to open up."

Yesterday the actor drove the first leg of the Baja 1000, a legendary off-road race that rumbles across Mexico every November. When he returned to L.A. via helicopter this morning, he left his Hypersport team in the lead. "I'm still waiting for the car to come in," he says, eyeing his BlackBerry.

"Today we were running third, and then we had a big pileup. So I don't know if we'll finish third or fourth or where."

The PDA rings. "This could be good," he says excitedly. "How are we? Where are we? Did we cross the finish line? What mile marker are we? Call me when they cross the finish line."

"I'd be down there right now if I didn't have to come back to do Oprah today," he says as he hangs up. "No offense to Oprah. Racing is something I really need in my life right now. The excitement of it calms me down, oddly enough. You're in the car and you're alone. It's a complete escape from everything."

It's hard to imagine why an actor who spent most of his late twenties and thirties â€" his prime, really â€" languishing in oblivion would want to escape from a hugely popular TV show (for which he scored a Golden Globe nomination for the second straight year) and a subsequent flurry of film offers (he's starring in the upcoming family fairy tale Enchanted and playing Hilary Swank's husband in the Dangerous Minds-like Freedom Writers).

But Dempsey, 41, is growing tired of playing doctor â€" even though he's got three more seasons left in his six-year contract.

"Things are going well, but I'm not satisfied," he says. "I don't think the character is going to change that much. Shonda Rhimes has created a great show. And I'm contributing to that and have benefited from that profoundly. And she's benefited by being smart enough to cast me when no one else did. [It's] been a great opportunity, but it's not the end-all, be-all of where I want to go."

To keep him stimulated in the meantime, Rhimes has given Dempsey some healthy (and well-muscled) competition: the virile Dr. Mark Sloan (Dr. McSteamy), played by former Charmed heartthrob Eric Dane, 34. Is McDreamy feeling the heat?

"There's no real competition," says Dempsey, with not-quite-imperceptible defensiveness. "We're so different. It will be interesting to see where the dynamic of that friendship goes in the show. I think the women characters are developed very well. I sometimes feel that the men get a little shortchanged. [Rhimes] is writing an idealized version of what men should be."

That version sells. Dempsey's done little to disillusion fans of Dr. McDreamy off-camera. He's a self-professed deliriously happy family man. He's a gentleman. When Isaiah Washington, a costar on Grey's Anatomy, reportedly used a gay slur to refer to castmate T.R. Knight because he was late to the set one day, Dempsey famously got in Washington's face.

The incident ultimately led to Knight's public coming-out. It also proved that Dempsey's no wuss, even if he is most beloved by the Oxygen-channel audience. The George Clooney comparisons that began circulating when Dempsey hit it big with Grey's Anatomy suddenly seemed less hyperbolic.

"He's such a great guy," says Andy Tennant, who directed Sweet Home Alabama, in which Dempsey played Reese Witherspoon's dashing â€" and ultimately jilted â€" fiancé. "George Clooney has larceny in his eyes, but with Patrick the twinkle is genuine affection and generosity and humility."

"Patrick's funny. He may be funnier than I am," says Dane. "I came in to shoot my first scene, and it wasn't comfortable. If you're the only one in a towel on a set where everybody's clothed, it's kinda rough. We did the first take, and Patrick turned around and asked me when my calendar was coming out. I asked him when his shampoo campaign was coming out."

"We're almost there. We're now in third. He's bringing it home," Dempsey says, reading a text message. "Thirty hours of racing in five minutes." He sighs and puts his BlackBerry down. "That was probably the most important text I got all day â€" barring all the other bullshit I care about but care less about."

Dempsey's been working more in the past year than he has since his mini-heyday in the eighties. That's when, as has been reported in the press ad nauseam since the runaway success of Grey's resurrected his career, Dempsey starred in 1987's Can't Buy Me Love. That same year, he married his manager, Rocky Parker, 48 to his tender 21.

His slide into celebrity purgatory began with a string of mediocre movies that didn't make much moneyâ€"In the Mood, Loverboy, Mobsters (dubbed "Young Buns With Tommy Guns"). Mobsters director Michael Karbelnikoff remembers Dempsey as a kid on edge:

"He was just looking for another actor to bond with and delve into the work. He was a very serious young man. He was pretty angry, married to this woman and looking at life from a place 15 years older than he was. It was hard for him to relax."

Dempsey can't recall exactly when he became persona non grata in Hollywood, he says, because "right when you thought you had it, it was well over. You're no longer the new kid on the block everybody loves. You go into a room and you're the recognized one everybody despises. There's this feeling of just being completely outside of all that is cool and accepted and liked."

He was, by his own account, saved by the love of a good woman: Jillian Fink, whom he met in 1994 when he went to her salon for a haircut. They didn't start dating until three years later, after he'd divorced Parker and gone back to his hometown in Maine to shake off the slow-motion implosion of his career and his marriage:

"I was frustrated because I was like, [my career so far] is not how I want to be known. I didn't want that to be my legacy." He returned to Hollywood thinking, "Now I need to go and slay the dragon," he says. "And I think Jill has really helped enable me to do that. She gave me the kingdom. Certainly that's why my career has turned around. I feel comfortable and stable at home."

His BlackBerry chirps. "My wife," he says, thumbs flying as he sends her a text. Fink, who's pregnant with twin boys and at home with the couple's 4-year-old daughter, Tallulah, is wondering when he'll be home. "We'll see what her response is . . ."

Is she the boss of him? Dempsey laughs. Come on, does Jill boss him around?

"What wife doesn't?" he replies. And then, "She doesn't boss me around. But she certainly is strong enough to let me know where she stands. I want a strong woman. Otherwise I wouldn't be married to her."

Their marriage is in its seventh year, and according to Dempsey, there's never been a single itch. "I'll tell you, the last year has been the best year of my marriage. It seems like we're communicating better than we ever have."

"Jill's good for him," says Ellen Pompeo, his Grey's Anatomy flame. "I think maybe Patrick needs discipline. I don't want to make it sound like Jill's a dominatrix, but structure is something he craves. To me, what stands out about him the most is his sense of duty to his family. Jill's a really lucky girl that way. Women throw themselves at him. I've never seen him flirt, you know, in a serious way. He's always looking at his watch or phone â€" ‘Gotta get home to the girls.'"

Dempsey's BlackBerry rings again. This time he ignores it.

He swirls the wine in his glass, takes a sip, and winces. "Let's give it up," he says. "We should get some new wine." Little Goldblum is summoned.

"Can we see the wine list again?" he asks. "She's not happy with this wine."

A bottle of Pinot Noir is presented with a professional flourish.

"This is one of those wines where you get layers," says the waiter. "There's chocolate, dark berries, and then you get, like, the forest floor."

Dempsey considers.

"How are the Bordeaux doing?"

The candle has burned. Shrill voices and laughter drifting over the hedge are beginning to drown out the sotto voce violin music in the garden. Dempsey's semi-secret spot is about to be overtaken. Waiting for the check to arrive, the actor takes measure of where he's been and where he's intent on going.

"[Grey's Anatomy] has given me so much confidence. I went through five years where I didn't get anything from auditions. You start to think, Well, I'm not attractive, I'm not a good actor. But I never gave up. I just accepted this is who I am. I'm not George Clooney, I'm not Brad Pitt, but I'm uniquely who I am."

His BlackBerry rings.

"Hey, we're almost done," he tells his wife. "I know, I know, I know. Are you home? All right. How's T? I'll be home as soon as I can."

Dempsey pushes his chair back, stands, and jingles the keys to the silver Lotus (on permanent loan from the car company) he'll drive home to his waiting family. He stares at his uncharacteristically silent PDA.

There is no final word from his team in Mexico yet.

"I still don't know if we'll finish third or fourth or where," he says. "I have a lot of pride and ego wrapped up in this. I want to win." And with the warm, impish smile that helps keep the Grey's Anatomy Nielsen ratings soaring, he adds, "But I want to win and be a gentleman, too."

  • Patrick Dempsey: Details Magazine
  • Details Magazine: Patrick Dempsey
  • Upside Down Patrick
  • Dempsey, Patrick

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

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Here is the link. It is laid out a little bit differently online than in the magazine. The picture with Patrick's head resting on Jillian's belly is on the cover of the magazine. http://www.life.com/Life/artic...

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Hi purplemerder, I am not sure where you can find it on the web. I'll look for it. It was in "Life: America's Weekend Magazine that is found in newspapers. He's on the cover with the title "The Sexiest Dad Alive". It's a four page spread with a section where Jillian is interviewed, too. Very nice. It is dated January 12, 2007.

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I'm really trying to convince myself that there is NOTHING to worry about! Patrick will remain on GA for a long time to come and will be happy with his character and with Meredith! Like I said, maybe we are reading too much into this article! He made some comments only saying that he wants his character to grow and he''ll reevaluate it in a few years and see where the show is heading! Hopefully, it will continue to be the Number 1 TV Drama on TV and he will want to stay around for 6 more years! Lets hope so! He did say on GMA this week that he isn't ready to leave TV and go full time into movies..again he said lets wait a few years and see where things are!

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I've seen several articles about the Washington/Dempsey conflict, and, while the REASON has varied, they all have said that it was Patrick who was late to the set. In all fairness, though, every article has given a GA - related work activity (talking to a script consultant, talking to a producer, etc) as the reason for his tardiness - not just blowing off a shoot. Patrick seems to be so honest & genuine. Personally, his looks and the character developed by the writers make him sexy on GA, but his personality, his devotion to his family, his profession, and his desire to be a good multi-faceted person are what make him sexy in reality.

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hey burke backer where can I see the Life article?

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Patrick Dempsey really is, a very loving husband and dad . In all his interviews, he´s always bringing the family subject on,tells who wonderfull and great are jill and tallulah,and the whole cast of Grey´s Anatomy think so too.I love how great is Ellen Pompeo´s relationship with Patrick´s family. Patrick Dempsey Happy B-Day!!!! you are the best!!!!!!!! tell your wife Jill that she is veeeeeeeery lucky woman having you in her life!! (in case that you are reading this).LOVEEEEEEEEE YOUUUUUU MAN

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I actually think he was talking about his appearance on Oprah last week, not the whole group thing back in November. He has said similar things in other print media. In the recent interview in Life dated January 12th he is shown leaning against his very pregnant wife's bare belly, very cute. They ask him "Life: Could you really just walk away?" and his response is, "Dempsey: I'll see how long the show goes. What happens to my film career. Then I'll try to remove myself from this hectic lifesyle and live in a small town for a while. I want my kids to be able to run around. I'm ready to go to Maine." It was a very interesting interview. He sounds tired in it too. It has to be hard to work these kind of long hours and then be expected to show up for interviews and award events and charity appearances all the while with a very pregnant wife and daughter at home. The Life article somewhat countradicts the Details article above regarding the incident between Isaiah and Patrick, which you will note did not actually include any questions directly to Patrick, but rather restates other unsubstantiated claims made in the tabloids. The Life article describes it this way: "Life: Okay, let's talk about the incident - your onset tussle with costar Isaiah Washington [in which Washington and Dempsey reportedly engaged in a heated exchange.] What happened?" "Dempsey: I was talking (on the phone) to Grey's executive producer Mark Gordon's office. I honestly didn't know that everybody was ready. It could have been dealt with. Say, 'Hey, I have a problem with you coming late to the set.' There was some insecurity about a lot of things that were happening, and it came out inappropriately. We discussed it and were ready to move on. Then it broke on a national level." I had always read that it was TR late to the set, but apparently it was Patrick. At least according to Patrick in this article and this is the first time I have seen in print his version of the story. And it sounds like they had already gotten past it before it was leaked to the media. His next interview question and response sheds a bit more light. "Life: How did the leak affect you?"
"Dempsey: The environment is not very safe when people are selling you out [to tabloids] to make money. A set is a very vulnerable arena to work in. You have to allow yourself your emotions. Sometimes they run over inappropriately. Unless you talk about it, you let it build up. If you're constantly looking over your shoulder, be it at the extras or crew, it creates a bad energy. I don't trust anyone around me." That sounds to me like someone from on set should have been fired for the leak rather than any of the actors involved. Another quote that I found very refreshing to hear him say is "What we learned as a cast is that we really need to take care of ourselves, communicate with one another. You're there 15, 16 hours a day. You're not going to be Mr. Nice Guy or Mrs. Nice Lady all of the time." All of this rang true to me from back in the Oprah interview right up until today. I think they were being honest on Oprah and that the press really took something very minor and ran with it until it became this horrible thing that still casts a pall over Isaiah although Patrick seems to be absolved of all wrong doing. There is still no substantiated proof of any homophobic slur or statement nor any direct connection to anything said and the outing of T.R. Knight. Can you imagine how many times in the past 3 months they have been asked to rehash this over and over? What a hard lesson to learn. I agree that Patrick Dempsey is a down to earth person who is rightly putting his priorities on his family. I hope he will be on GA for its entire run, but he also seems to be looking at a career in films that he has really never had.

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I agree with you Kathy. on the pod cast this week the writers said that merder enjoyed working with each other a lot.

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And to add to my comments.....My gut feeling is that Patrick is truly happy with GA! He may still have some things he wants to do....(movies, racing, whatever) down the road! I think as most TV actors are that whatever character they play, they want that character to GROW and change along the way. I think that is all that Patrick was saying! We all know he loves playing the HOT McDreamy...he just wants everybody to know he is more than just good looks and he wants to be able to prove that! I just want him to be happy in his character and especially with Meredith! I don't want that to change and I'm sure he doesn't either! They enjoy each other so much!

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Yes I am sure he was tired.....i think he loves this show...he said Mcdreamy changed his life and it did....i still luv him

Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Nobody's memory is perfect or complete. We jumble things up. We lose track of time. We are in one place... then another and it all feels like one long, inescapable moment. So, what does it mean? What do we take away? Which pieces will haunt us? Hurt us? End us? Inspire us? It's just like my mother used to say, the carousel never stops turning. You can't get off.

Meredith

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)