'Grey's Anatomy' Star Ellen Pompeo Opens Up About Huge Pay Gap On The Show And Her Fight Over It

Date January 19, 2018

Since the day Grey's Anatomy aired on ABC for the first time back in 2005, it was an impressive success and a dream come true for the creators of the show.

© Grey's Anatomy (2005) / American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Millions of people worldwide were fascinated by the powerful play of the actors, the dynamic of the storyline, and the incredible chemistry between the characters.


For many of the actors, Grey's Anatomy became the biggest milestone in their career so far.

© Grey's Anatomy (2005) / American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

And for Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey in the show), joining the cast all these years ago was a beginning of her path toward becoming the highest-paid woman on television.


However, as her recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter reveals, reaching this height was not that easy.


Huge gender wage gap in the show

In the first years of the show running, Ellen was making noticeably smaller figures than her male co-stars. She even asked them to pay her $5,000 more than they were giving to her fellow partner, Patrick Dempsey.

At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey's Anatomy, and I'm Meredith Grey. They wouldn't give it to me.

The turning point was when Dempsey decided to leave the show in 2015. Earlier, the company could use the actor as leverage against Pompeo, but now, the situation has changed.


Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind the iconic medical drama, played a significant role in helping Ellen take the next big step.

In Shonda finding her power and becoming more comfortable with her power, she has empowered me.

For Pompeo, it was a challenge of having the courage to realize her own worth and then demand it. At first, she had some doubts and did not feel comfortable asking for what she thought she deserved. But when she learned that Grey's Anatomy generated nearly $3 billion worldwide, she changed her mind.

When your face and your voice have been part of something that's generated $3 billion for one of the biggest corporations in the world, you start to feel like, 'OK, maybe I do deserve a piece of this'.

Many celebrities were inspired by Ellen's honesty. Mark Harris, Jojo Moyes, Candice Patton, and even Shonda Rhimes herself took to social media to share their impression on Pompeo's words.

Meanwhile, singing this unprecedented deal allows Ellen to feel more confident about her future and focus on other important things outside of the show: her family, her three kids, and the new projects she plans to work on in the near future.

Ellen's latest passion is producing. Currently, she is one of the producers of both the main show and its upcoming spin-off.


As for her former co-star, Patrick Dempsey, he continues to build his career as an actor, as well as producer. After leaving the show, Dempsey appeared in several big Hollywood projects, including the 2016's romantic comedy Bridget Jones’ Baby. For more details on his life after the show, read the article below.

READ ALSO: Life After ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Patrick Dempsey Speaks On Why He Left The Show

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