20 Little-Known Details About Ellen Pompeo Even The Biggest Grey's Anatomy Fans Don't Know

From the first scene of the Grey's Anatomy pilot featuring Meredith Grey bouncing around her apartment desperately trying to get ready for her first day of training at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, viewers could instantly sense Meredith Grey was an every day relatable heroine. She was totally ready to take on a title at a very prestigious job but still could find room in her schedule for some quality time with Patrick Dempsey's character, Dr. Derek Shepard. Who among us would love to be in her shoes?

Nearly fifteen seasons after Dr. Meredith Grey's debut and countless changes in character development, the feeling viewers held on the night of the first episode's premiere, has hardly faded. So much of Grey's Anatomy's viewership and the power within its appeal and never faltering fanbase has to do with the actress who portrays Meredith Grey. Ellen Pompeo brings her real-life spark-plug personality to her character season after season!

Fans already are aware Pompeo has been very outspoken for equal pay in the industry; she has been a vital voice in bringing attention to the dire importance for actresses to receive the same amount of money as their male counterparts. There is no shortage of reasons why Ellen Pompeo is one of the coolest actresses of our generation; it's hard to decide whether we would rather be her best friend, or simply be her. Let's celebrate Ellen Pompeo and her importance in twenty different ways!

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

20 She Was Close To Going Broke

via just jared

In a cultural era calling for many important conversations which are imperative to have as a society, Ellen has been a vocal leader for one subject in particular. In late 2017, she made the decision to disclose her Grey's Anatomy salary, sparking a discussion which many would argue should have begun yesterday.

Ellen's decision to reveal such a personal and controversial part of her life is especially important. She was not always at the point of earning $20 million on a weekly basis. Pompeo revealed in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter she accepted her Grey's Anatomy role on more of a necessity basis, saying,

"I was like, 'I'm not going to be stuck on a medical show for five years. Are you out of your mind? I'm an actress."

Ellen's personal and financial relationship with the show has changed over the years, which is a positive attribute for continuing conversation about equal pay alive.

19 Ellen Has The Fate Of Grey's In Her Hands

via PopSugar

Since Grey's Anatomy's debut in 2005, countless famous actors and actresses have contributed to its massive success, and the show has turned many actors and actresses into famous names. Ellen Pompeo may play the main character on the show, but one player has made the show into the massive success it has evolved into now, and her name is Shonda Rhimes.

Rhimes has an impressive writing resume before and since Grey's Anatomy, but the show was definitely the vehicle to propel Shonda into superstardom. The actors and actresses on the show including Ellen, recognize this fact, and they proudly celebrate Shonda's importance. The love in the relationship between Shonda and her cast mates is mutual, and Ellen has often sung the praises of her friend and writing mentor! Ellen tells Hollywood Reporter,

"She has empowered me. And that took her a long time to get to, too.

It was part of her evolution. It's also why our relationship is so special. I was always loyal to her, and she responds well to loyalty."

18 She Goes Make-Up Free

via Pinterest

One of the biggest signs of celebrity normalcy is seeing these famous figures going out in public without a drop of makeup! Ellen Pompeo takes advantage of going make-up free; she spends a massive amount of time wearing make-up while filming under hot lights, so any moment she can go natural, she's ready to seize the moment. Ellen spoke to Into The Gloss about her preference not to wear makeup. Turns out, her character of Meredith Grey is who influenced her.

"Because I play a doctor on TV, I don’t like the look of makeup — I think it looks ridiculous on screen. Not that doctors can’t wear makeup, but I just feel like it takes away from the acting and the character if I have makeup on.

I just feel like I look like an actor playing dress-up, so I try to keep it as authentic as possible."

17 She Meditates

via YouTube

Life can be hectic and easily overwhelming, no matter if you're a famous person, or a "regular Jane" tackling your daily tasks. Finding the link to well-being and the tools to manage your mental health works best when you find what works best for you. For Ellen Pompeo, she enjoys achieving zen through meditation. According to an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Ellen revealed her secret to internal success! She shared,

"I meditate. Just try to have a positive attitude through everything." Meditation is Ellen's link to maintaining general positivity. She went on to add, "It's how you feel inside that's gonna radiate outward. I really believe that."

Ellen's outspoken love for meditation is inspiring a lot of us to remember to pause and remember the light at the end of the tunnel!

16 She Struggled With Self Esteem

via Instagram

It doesn't take a detective to uncover how Ellen Pompeo and her character Meredith are both extremely driven and self-confident women, who will never let anyone stand in their way. If anyone dares to try, both Ellen and Meredith Grey won't have a second thought toward shaking anyone off who try to undermine their success.

For Ellen herself, the inner confidence she radiates and translates into her famous character didn't appear overnight, and like many of us, she had to learn how to recognize the beauty and power within herself. Ellen told InStyle magazine in a candid interview,

"Unfortunately, I think when we're young — I can’t speak for all women obviously, but for myself, I lacked confidence. The older I got and the more experience I had, the more confident I got, and the more I was able to stick up for myself, the more I was able to speak my mind and was able to stick up for other people."

Grey's Anatomy fans can tell Ellen channels her self-confidence lessons into Meredith Grey; for someone who has gone through countless heartbreaking experiences, it's vital to have the recipe to keep going!

15 Her Wedding Witness

via Time

Celebrity weddings are one of the most popular aspects of celebrity culture! We love to indulge in these spectacular events and analyze all of the intricate details of our favorite celeb's big day.

However, some celebrities don't have time for a big show! Ellen Pompeo's big day with Chris Ivery was an intimate affair. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, Ellen and Chris opted to marry at City Hall, and they did have one famous guest in attendance. Ellen revealed, "Yeah, we got married at City Hall and Mayor Bloomberg was our officiator. It was very cool!" Cheers to the happy couple, who are still going strong over a decade later!

14 She Owns A Summer House

via Longroom

'Tis the season to spruce your living space, and make a difference in your environment! Ellen believes in keeping her environment fresh for the season. She keeps a fresh outlook on life with her summer property!

Turns out Meredith Grey can get crafty! As per an article in PopSugar, we learn Ellen revealed her secret passion for building houses to Architectural Digest! She told the publication, "Creating beautiful interiors is my hobby and I absolutely love it."

Creating an inviting environment that would appeal to everyone, no matter their style, was important for Ellen with her relaxing space. She went on to say, "I was looking to do something modern and hip and young, and I wanted to do something you don't see out there — I wanted to do something different." Where's our invitation for some rest and relaxation, Ellen?

13 Her Haircut Is Very Influential

via YouTube

There are a ton of famous hairstyles in popular culture history oftentimes serving as a very memorable identity for famous characters. "The Rachel" and Felicity's dramatic haircut on Felicity come to mind, and Ellen Pompeo's signature haircut for Meredith Grey also comes to mind!

Meredith's famous locks hold a lot of styling power in the top haircuts for iconic female characters. Like many of us, Meredith's hair has been through a lot of change while she herself has gone through a change. Glamour magazine profiled Meredith's important hair change, revealing Ellen was proud of the new style decision!

She revealed in an interview with Into The Gloss, " [My short hair] kind of happened the same way it always happens — we fried it and needed to cut it off. I went with really dark hair last season because the story was so dark, so I wanted my hair to represent what Meredith was going through."

12 She Believes In Success

via Instagram

We love and admire Ellen Pompeo for her stellar acting ability, but we also love Ellen because she appears to be authentic and relatable. It's sometimes hard to imagine being friends with a celebrity because many celebs can appear to be unapproachable, but Ellen Pompeo has always appeared to be down to Earth and grounded; someone fans could imagine being real friends with!

Ellen takes pride in her ability to stay true to herself, despite the chaos of Hollywood! She told ABC News, "Successful people are positive. They don't start a sentence with 'You can't or 'I don't know how.' They simply ask, 'How do we do it?'"

11 Her Family Is Vegan

via Popsugar

Ellen Pompeo has been very open about her devotion to her family. She and her husband Chris Ivery have three children together, and they have been sweetly photographed as a family many times, and they seem like a close-knit bunch.

One way Ellen promotes togetherness within her family has a lot to do with well-being. The Ivery/Pompeo clan are on an exclusively Vegan diet. Ellen's decision to go vegan wasn't only based on the well-being of herself and loved ones, she also had Mother Earth in mind while making her decision!

She revealed to PETA, "I think we’re at a critical point for our planet and in the United States — this health issue is out of control, the obesity, the diabetes, everything."

10 She's An Inspiration To Many Doctors

via Vanity Fair

Meredith Grey rightfully deserves an award for being one of the most iconic characters of all time! Not only are her non-hospital related stories relatable and gripping, millions of us tune into Grey's Anatomy because we're inspired by Meredith Grey's influence on the overall practice of medicine! For many, it doesn't matter Meredith Grey is a fictional character; she has influenced many aspiring doctors to go into the medical field!

This wonderful aspect of Meredith Grey hasn't been lost on Ellen Pompeo. According to Aplus, Ellen was given the opportunity to "meet some medical professionals whom she and her cast mates have inspired to pursue lifesaving jobs, all of whom, awesomely, are women!"

What an accolade for Ellen and the cast of Grey's Anatomy! It goes to show, it doesn't matter how or why we pursue our dreams, all that matters is the journey of how we get there!

9 She "Hated" Medical Shows

via Plant Based News

In a surprising revelation from an actress who is widely known for her role on one of the most popular medical dramas of all time and her character's influence on many doctors and nurses in the medical field, Ellen Pompeo won't be turning on an old rerun of a medical-themed show in her spare time! The actress who is responsible for bringing Dr. Meredith Grey into our lives each week, tells Parade,

"To be honest, I hated medical shows. They make me super anxious. I don’t particularly like medical shows at all. I never have. The show that was really big at the time for my generation — before I started Grey’s — was ER. That was on forever, but I’ve never seen one episode!"

Medical TV show related anxiety like Ellen's is definitely real! Some of us have to sacrifice some George Clooney time for the wellbeing of our nerves!

8 She Played A Character Called "Upset Girl"

via Entertainment Tonight

Acting can be a complex and emotional avenue. Many actors have provided film fans with performances worthy of cinematic masterpiece status, and Ellen Pompeo is no exception!

In an early acting credit remaining true to the idea of complex emotion, one of Ellen's first roles was known as "Upset Girl" in the 1999 film, Coming Soon!

There isn't much information about Ellen's performance in the film, but the name of Ellen's role lets us know she had a lot of practice for many later dramatic performances in Grey's Anatomy storylines; Ellen has been able to channel her emotions into her work for nearly two decades.

7 Ellen Was Cut From A Major Movie

via Sick Chripse

No matter how famous they are, no actor is exempt from landing on the cutting room floor! Unfortunately, Ellen Pompeo has had to follow the route to the "deleted scenes" category of a film's special features section on the DVD release.

In an ironic sense, Ellen's famous deleted scene came from the famous mind-altering drama, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind! The film famously stars Jim Carey and Kate Winslet as a troubled couple, who undergo a mind-altering procedure intended to erase negative memories. The storyline of the film sounds reminiscent of a Grey's Anatomy episode! Ellen's performance in the film can easily be found online, thankfully for her completest fans!

6 She's Involved In Children's Charities

via Parents Magazine

With Ellen's endearing off-screen personality, it's not a surprise for fans to find out she is an avid supporter of many charities, and most of them are for children: the tiniest members of our community!

When she isn't filming intense Grey's Anatomy scenes, Ellen can be found supporting many children's charities and causes. Look To The Stars lists her varied causes of interest including, but not limited to, "disadvantaged youth, physical and mental challenges, adoption and fostering, creative arts and homelessness."

Not only is Ellen dedicated to social related charities, she has been known to team up with another famous Ellen to help out our wildlife!

5 Ellen Used To Be A People Pleaser

via PopSugar

A refreshing way to know celebrities are just like us is when they are open with candid subjects, like self-improvement! Ellen Pompeo's journey to self-improvement and knowing exactly what she needs in order to be the best version of herself, has been very well documented, and she has been incredibly willing to share her tips to striving to be her best self with her fans. Wondering what other people think of us is a universal worry for many of us. Ellen admitted to Real Simple, she too, struggled with other people's perception of her. She candidly revealed,

"I spent most of my life being a real people pleaser,” she said. “And while I do believe that we should lead with compassion and kindness first, always, I think in our younger selves we’re very eager to please.

I think, for me, it may be easy to say — the financial independence gives you the freedom to not worry about what people think of you. That’s harder for younger people coming up in their careers to do. But try to be as authentic as possible and try not to be such a people-pleaser."

4 She's Friends With RuPaul

via Just Jared

This relationship is the definition of fierce! In an unlikely pairing, we're excited to hear more from, Ellen and RuPaul have been spotted out together! In extremely exciting news for Grey's Anatomy and RuPaul's Drag Race fans, the duo is reportedly working on a secret project together, according to NewNowNext!

Ellen knows how to keep fans excited! She cryptically hinted of a collaboration between herself and RuPaul with an Instagram post, but she was very much mum on the details.

The Daily Mail showcased several photos of the actors walking down the street in April while they met to discuss their plans. They both look fierce enough for us.

3 Ellen Met Her Husband In A Grocery Store

via Closer Weekly

Love on aisle nine! In what could pass for a storyline on a Grey's Anatomy episode involving a couple-to-be accidentally meeting one another in the supermarket, surrounded by the vegetables and produce, is actually the real-life story of how Ellen met her husband Chris in a grocery store! Who knew you could meet your soul mate in the grocery store! As per an article from Heavy, Chris Ivery told People magazine,

"We were friends for six months; then one night, she just looked different to me."

Maybe it was the grocery store's fluorescent lighting? The couple has long since been giving us relationship goals, and now we're inspired to take a second look at our outfit before going to the grocery store!

2 Waffles Are Special For Ellen

via BBC

For many of us, waffles are a daily breakfast ritual, and it doesn't take much for us to master our waffle making breakfast routine of adding syrup and fruit. For Ellen Pompeo however, waffles will never be an ordinary breakfast food. On one of the most special days of her life, Ellen partook in waffles for her meal choice; She enjoyed them as her first meal as a married woman!

Every detail of Ellen's special day was unique! According to Martha Stewart Weddings, Mr. and Mrs. Ivery "had the wedding really quick, and then we went to a waffle lunch after." We've heard of "you may now kiss the bride" but never "you may now kiss the syrup!"

1 She Has No Time For Inequality

via Daily Beast

We have learned by now one of Ellen Pompeo's greatest assets is her ability to take no nonsense whatsoever, especially with her work. Ellen famously made the decision to let fans know just how much she was earning per episode of playing Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy, as an opportunity to join the ongoing discussion about income inequality in Hollywood. She was determined to get her message out to the public in any way possible, even if it meant name-dropping a famous former co-star.

According to People magazine, Patrick Dempsey's "exit from the series in 2015 was a defining moment [for her] deal-wise." Making the decision to reveal Patrick's leaving the show in order to call attention to income equality was a decision Ellen made for the sake of countless women. She went on to explain,

"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,” she continues. “And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one.

I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, ‘I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house?'"

References: VarietyBustleHollywood ReporterInto The GlossEntertainment TonightInStyleMartha Stewart WeddingsPopSugarGlamour

More in Television