Ellen Pompeo on Stepping Back From 'Grey's Anatomy' and Reuniting With Patrick Dempsey at D23 Expo (Exclusive)

It was recently announced that Pompeo's scaling back her iconic role, which will appear in eight episodes for season 19.

Ellen Pompeo reunited with Patrick Dempsey Friday to kickoff D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event at the Anaheim Convention Center, and the Grey's Anatomy star was thrilled to finally see him in person, and his new hairdo!

After the 52-year-old actress lent her hand and signature to commemorate her Disney Legend status, Pompeo spoke to ET's Will Marfuggi and opened up about scaling back her role as the iconic Meredith Grey on the hit ABC show.

Pompeo's set to appear in only eight episodes for the upcoming 19th season of the medical drama, as she'll split time between that show while starring in and executive producing an eight-episode limited series, Untitled Orphan Project, for Hulu. But, Grey fans need not worry. Pomepo says Grey's spirit will be as palpable as ever.

"It's still Grey's, she's still there in spirit and that's the house that Grey built, so she's always there," Pomeo said. "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."

Pompeo, Dempsey, Blackish stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson as well as the late Chadwick Boseman were among the list of people also honored as Disney Legends, a notion Pompeo admits she didn't know existed but is nevertheless honored.

"I didn't imagine anything like this but I'm really glad it happened," she said. "I didn't know Disney Legends existed but I feel a little bit like a Disney princess. Life started out a little rocky and here I am in a big ballgown."

While ET spoke with Pompeo on the red carpet, Dempsey was onstage lending his hand and signature for the big honor. At that point, the former Grey's Anatomy co-stars hadn't quite yet caught up.

"We didn't and and the truth is when you're up there onstage it's so dark you can't see anything and there's lights in your face," she said. "So, no I didn't get to see him. I can't wait for Enchanted 2 but yeah no, you cant really see who is in the audience. I mean, I knew he was coming, obviously."

Pompeo said she and Dempsey, who played the charming Derek Shepherd on Grey's, keep in touch but it had been a while since they last saw each other in person.

"We text often-ish, you know, every couple times a year we check in," she said. "But we did the show last season or two seasons ago but this is the first time we've seen each other in person." 

Ditto for Dempsey. But, according to Variety, Pompeo and Dempsey did eventually catch up on the red carpet, and cameras caught them chatting and laughing it up.

Dempsey, who alongside Amy Adams and Idina Menzel star in the Disenchanted sequel streaming Nov. 24 on Disney+, explained the white hair. Yes, it's for an upcoming movie role that combines his best loves: acting and fast cars.

"I'm currently doing a movie in Rome right now that Michael Mann is directing," he explained. "Adam Driver is starring in it. It's about Ferrari's life in the 1950s and I play [Piero] Taruffi, who is the racer who wins the Mile Miglia in 1957. So, it's been a dream job with a great director. It's fantastic. So, it's a combination of all the things I love."

As for his family and whether they loved the white hair, Dempsey said reviews were mixed.

"My kids freaked out and my son actually likes it," he said, "and one son doesn't and my wife liked it too so it's fine. It's nice to have a little bit of a transition."

Adams and Dempsey return for the sequel, which will see Giselle (Adams) now living in Monroeville, married to Robert Philip (Dempsey). James Marsden plays the dashing but daft Prince Edward from Andalasia; Menzel plays Nancy Tremaine, the former dress maker now married to Prince Edward; and Maya Rudolph stars as Malvina, Giselle’s new adversary in Monroeville. 

Kolton Stewart, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jayma Mays and Oscar Nunez also star, while newcomer Gabriella Baldacchino, a 20-year-old from Glen Rock, New Jersey, will make her feature film debut in Disenchanted as Robert's now-grown daughter, Morgan.