Ellen Pompeo Clarifies Upcoming 'Grey's Anatomy' Episode Is Not Her Final One (Exclusive)

The longtime star tells ET that the winter premiere, which has been promoted as her goodbye episode, 'is not really my final.'

Ellen Pompeo's time on Grey's Anatomy may be coming to an end for now, but the actress is clearing up any misunderstanding that the upcoming winter premiere is her last episode.

The longtime star is stepping back from the ABC medical drama, appearing in the current 19th season in a reduced capacity. The Feb. 23 return episode, which sees Pompeo's Meredith Grey saying goodbye to Seattle as she begins a new chapter in Boston, marks the actress' last episode as a full-time series regular on Grey's. Even with assurances by Pompeo that this was not a permanent farewell, with promises that she'd visit and a teaser that even hinted at a return, it still didn't stop many from thinking this was the end of Meredith Grey.

"For the record, it's not really my final," Pompeo told ET at the Michael Kors Fall/Winter 2023 Fashion Show in New York on Wednesday, with her daughter, Sienna, alongside her. "It's a little bit of a trick they're playing on people."

Even though it's not goodbye forever, the 53-year-old actress confirmed she won't be walking the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital on a weekly basis following the winter premiere. "It is my final episode for a while," she said.

As Pompeo looks ahead to new projects, which include an eight-episode Hulu limited series about orphans, she isn't letting any noise surrounding her temporary Grey's goodbye keep her from making exciting plans. "Tonight I have a more important engagement. I am having dinner with Martha Stewart," she revealed.

Pompeo is expected to appear in one more episode of Grey's before season 19 wraps with the possibility for future visits down the line. She will continue to narrate the series and serve as executive producer.

In the midseason finale, Meredith made the decision to relocate to Boston for a new job at the Catherine Fox Foundation and enroll Zola in a school more suited to her needs. Her family home also burned down in a devastating fire, leaving nothing salvageable except the Post-it note with Meredith and Derek's vows.

Back in September, Pompeo opened up to ET about her decision to step away from Grey's temporarily.

"It's still Grey's, she's still there in spirit and that's the house that Grey built, so she's always there," Pompeo said at the time. "She just has to step away for a little bit to do a Hulu show. It's a great company to work for and I'm really, really lucky that they've given me the opportunity to do both, and so I had to take it."

Grey's Anatomy returns Thursday, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.



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