Ellen Pompeo Explains the Reasoning Behind Her Grey's Anatomy Exit

In a Dec. 13 interview on The Drew Barrymore Show, Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo explained why she needed to leave the show for her own sanity—and what she has planned next.

By Daniel Trainor Dec 13, 2022 10:38 PMTags
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Ellen Pompeo knew it was time to leave Grey's Anatomy—because she was scared what would happen if she didn't.

"I gotta mix it up a little bit," she said on The Drew Barrymore Show Dec. 13. "I'm 53, my brain is like scrambled eggs. I gotta do something new. You can't do The New York Times crossword puzzle every single day."

And leaving Grey's, where she's been scrubbing in as Meredith Grey for 19 years, gives her a chance to finally spread her wings a little bit.

"I mean 19 years, that's more than people keep their kids in their house," she told host Drew Barrymore. "People keep their kids in their house until they're 18 and then they send them off to college, so this is like me like going away to college."

Now, with Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital mostly in the rearview mirror, it begs the question: What comes next?

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"I have a lot that I'm doing," the mom of Stella, 13, Sienna, 8, and Eli, 6 (with husband Chris Ivery) said. "I have three kids, so I take care of them. It's really important for me to be around for them and be more present for them."

However, it's not all bad news on the Grey's Anatomy front.

Though her final episode is set for February after the ABC's shows mid-season hiatus, Ellen told E! News at the 2022 People's Choice Awards that Meredith would also be back for a little bit more. 

"I think we've aired six episodes or seven episodes, possibly," she said. "Maybe after the winter hiatus, I am in one more, maybe, and then the finale, actually."

We're sure that won't be emotional or anything. 

Grey's Anatomy returns Feb. 23, 2023 on ABC.

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