Ellen Pompeo is revealing why she’s stayed put on Grey’s Anatomy for over a decade, even while several of her co-stars have parted ways.
For the 46-year-old actress, who has played Dr. Meredith Grey since the hit ABC show’s 2005 debut, the decision came early after she began her time on Grey’s. Pompeo, one of television’s highest-paid actresses, said it was made in part because she felt there was a lack of quality female roles available for older women.
“I have to go out into the landscape and try to get jobs, and deal with, you know, ‘Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Am I smart enough? Am I talented enough? Am I young enough?’” Pompeo said an interview that aired on Friday’s Good Morning America.
“You really have to, sort, of, delineate your ego from everything,” she continued. “Your ego is what would drive you to say, ‘Oh this isn’t cool. I need to go be a movie star or do something else.’ But your ego really is your biggest enemy.”
Pompeo has embraced aging in Hollywood, explaining that “as an actor, flaws are a necessity.”
“Nobody’s perfect and I’m not and I’m OK with that,” she said. “There’s something about the wisdom that you get. Really all you have in your youth is your looks.” When asked what she hopes remains when the “looks” fade, Pompeo responded, “Hopefully, fantastic character and integrity and a soul and compassion.”
Fans were devastated when Meredith’s love, "McDreamy" Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), died in a violent car crash last spring. But Pompeo admits it’s her former co-star Sandra Oh, who played Cristina Yang, she misses. Oh shot down recent rumors that she could be headed back to Grey’s, telling ET Canada she has “no plans to return to Grey’s anytime soon.”
“Sandra Oh was a massive, massive part of this show and I was devastated to lose her,” Pompeo said. “I didn't think the show would survive after losing her, and it did. I think that people tune in to see what is Meredith going to do without her person, so I think that, you know, as hard as change is, I think it’s necessary.”
In August, ET caught up with Pompeo’s co-star, Caterina Scorsone, who is expecting her second child, for scoop on the upcoming 13th season, which picks up right where last season left off.
"There is a new living situation with Amelia," Scorsone said. "It's going to be fascinating on a lot of different levels. Owen and Amelia, they got married really fast, and marriage is like a seismic shift in a person's life, let alone two people who are coming to the table with deep wounds and scars, so I think negotiating that transition into interdependent life is going to be dramatic and challenging. We'll see how that goes!"
Grey’s Anatomy premieres Thursday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.