It’s been over a decade since Grey’s Anatomy first premiered on ABC in 2005. Since then, Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey and the rest of the hit medical drama’s cast have stolen fans’ hearts forever. Because Grey’s is still one of TV’s most beloved shows nowadays, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane to see how much the Sloan Memorial surgeons have changed.
For the last 15 years, Ellen has portrayed Dr. Meredith Gray alongside her costars, Patrick — who played Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd — Justin Chambers, Sandra Oh, Jesse Williams, Katherine Heigl and more.
Although the characters dealt with a lot of ups and downs throughout the series’ 16 seasons and more than 300 episodes, the stars have also experienced a lot in their personal lives. Many of them have gotten married and have kids, while others focused on their hectic Hollywood careers.
Ellen, who has been starring on Grey’s since the very first episode, opened up about the possibility of being the last main character to leave the show. The Station 19 actress also revealed what it’s been like watching herself transform on screen since the early 2000s.
“I do not want to be the grapes dying on the vine,” Ellen jokingly told Dax Shepard during an episode of his “Armchair Expert” podcast in August 2020. “Like, already, to watch myself age from 33 to 50 now on screen, that’s not so fun.”
While the SAG award-winner noted she isn’t ashamed of her age, Ellen insisted “you really see” how much she’s grown up “because I’m in the same clothes” — referring to Meredith’s white lab coat. “I’m in the same character,” she explained. “So the way I see myself aging … that’s a motherf—ker.”
Despite having mixed feelings about watching herself through the years on TV, Ellen couldn’t imagine walking away from her character. While once chatting about her legendary role, the actress revealed why she decided to stay on the award-winning drama for so long.
“I was wise enough to know my clock was already ticking in Hollywood,” she previously told People. “I thought, ‘Why would I leave something that is super successful and pays me great to search the landscape?’”
Ellen added, “I decided that I would stay on Grey’s and be grateful and try to ride it out for as long as I could. And I am very happy that I made the decision to stay. It’s only gotten better with time.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see the cast of Grey’s through the years!
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