Ellen Pompeo Reveals Decision To Stick With Grey’s Anatomy Was ‘To Make Money’

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Ellen Pompeo has been the leading lady on ABC's Grey's Anatomy since it launched in 2005.

The actress has opened up about why she has stuck with the series for so long in a new interview, and it appears that the financial security that comes with being a part of one of the biggest shows on TV is the biggest thing at play here. 

"You know, I made choices to stay on the show," she explained on this week's episode of Spotify's Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast.

Ellen Pompeo Dazzles In Beige

"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."

"And so I made a decision to make money, and not chase creative acting roles," she continued.

"I don't like chasing anything ever, and acting to me, in my experience, was a lot of chasing."

"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."

Ellen Pompeo at an Event

Pompeo closed a deal in 2018 that would earn her around $20 million per year for her work on Grey's Anatomy, and the actress has yet to extend the deal beyond the upcoming 17th season. 

The actress explained that she didn't become a household name until she was in her 30s, and that her age played a part in her decision to stick with the series. 

"I got in the game late. I didn't start Grey's until I was 33, and then I started having kids at 40," she said.

"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."

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"I knew coming up on 40, it's like, I don't want to be out there chasing things, running after things, begging," she continued.

"I'd rather just see this as the blessing that it is."

Pompeo also noted that working on Grey's Anatomy is something she is proud of. 

"It's pretty common for actors to try to run away from stuff they're super well-known for," she said.

"I understand that completely, but at my age and where my life is, I just try to lean into it," she said.

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"I'm not trying to run away from anything. It is who I am. I made my choices and I'm cool with it. And I actually have a real passion, which is to sort of start to talk about and break down systemic racism in the healthcare industry."

"This is something that has plagued us forever. And I think the show has given me a real window into that."

"That's a platform I'm very passionate about, and I'm going to continue down that path and try to do more work in that arena," she continued.

"So Grey's has been a gift and I choose to see it that way."

Pro Bono Day  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 18

For now, Grey's Anatomy is not renewed beyond its upcoming 17th season, but some cast members recently closed multi-year deals to continue

What are your thoughts on these comments from Ellen?

Remember you can watch Grey's Anatomy online right here via TV Fanatic.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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