Ellen Pompeo Reflects on Meredith, Grey's Anatomy

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The wait is almost over for Meredith and Derek fans, as they will finally reunite (for good!) in the May 22 season finale of Grey's Anatomy.

In preparation for the big day, Entertainment Weekly talked to Ellen Pompeo about the reconciliation, the show's future, and how she lays low when she's done working for the day on Grey's Anatomy.

EW: How did [Grey's Anatomy creator] Shonda Rhimes tell you that Meredith and Derek were getting back together?
Ellen Pompeo: I came in a couple weeks before we were going to go back to work and she invited me in to talk. She pretty much started off by saying she had time over the break to watch the entire series, saw where it started and where it went and where it needs to go now. It helped her get some perspective.

EW: Did she say she made some mistakes?
Ellen Pompeo: This is Hollywood. People don't admit mistakes.

Wonderful and Sweet

Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo shines on- and off-screen.

EW: How did you feel about the Mer-Der reunion?
Ellen Pompeo: I told her to please make it be in a way that makes sense. Don't put us together because the fans want it: so â€" poof! â€" we're together. Please make it make sense. I would have preferred that we really stayed apart for a while and then slowly got back together. I just worry how realistic is it after all of the mess.

EW: How had you been feeling about the relationship?
Ellen Pompeo: You can't really judge characters, because that's when it gets really hard to play them. But sometimes Meredith has made choices and I'm like, Why would she do this? Why would she continue to keep going back to him after that? You gotta try to find a way to do it, but it's not always easy. I would never let a man treat me that way.

EW: When did you start to feel that Mer-Der was becoming repetitive?
Ellen Pompeo: Last season. Season 3 is when the show really started to get a little unfocused with crazy things like Meredith's [failed] suicide, and then George and Izzie. It just sort of seemed like it was all over the place, which it kind of was. I know Shonda was writing Private Practice and her attention was diverted.

EW: How did you feel about George and Izzie?
Ellen Pompeo: I love Katie [Katherine Heigl] and T.R. [Knight] so much that I didn't really like seeing them together. That's like my brother and my sister kissing. I don't want to see my brother and sister kiss! I think it was a little ratings stunt.

EW: What would Shonda say when you've complained about Mer-Der in the past?
Ellen Pompeo: She always has answers. Meredith can't commit because there are issues with her mother. But if I couldn't commit, why didn't I just walk away? It did get redundant. But nobody wants to hear me complain.

EW: Fans can't seem to make up their mind whether they want to love or hate Meredith Grey.
Ellen Pompeo: Not everyone's going to like you. I don't like everybody who I see on TV. You can't set out to try to have the whole world love you. That's like some weird ego thing. It's silliness. At the end of the day I still have an amazing job.

EW: Do you think this show has eight or nine seasons in it?
Ellen Pompeo: I don't know how you can come up with original material for that long, I really don't. To keep the same audience for eight years...I don't know how likely that is.

EW: Could you see yourself going to the bitter end?
Ellen Pompeo: No. I'm signed on for seven seasons, we all are. And I'll never say never about anything. But, I think after seven seasons I'm certainly going to feel like I have nothing to give for this character.

EW: Do you try hard to stay out of the press? Except for the occasional Lakers game, there aren't a lot of paparazzi shots of you walking down Robertson Boulevard in Beverly Hills, doing some shopping.
Ellen Pompeo: My wedding was a little bit tricky to pull off. But New York City Hall totally helped us out. It's not hard to stay out of press if you don't want it. There are very specific things you can do. I wear the same black tracksuit to work pretty much every day. That's a little tip I stole from Madonna. If you don't dress up every day when you leave your house, the paparazzi won't come. If they know you're going to step out with a beautiful bag, beautiful dress, beautiful shoes, they're going to show up like clockwork every day. That's what the magazines buy. The second reason [I stay out of gossip press] is I think the more people know about your personal life, the less they believe you as a character. I just want people to believe the character I play and believe me in the role. That's really all I care about.

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


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.