Ellen Pompeo Explains the Real Reason She Left 'Grey's Anatomy'

Ellen Pompeo has said her Grey's Anatomy goodbyes, with her character Meredith Grey leaving Seattle, Washington's fictional Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital for good in the show's most recent episode. Now, in a resurfaced interview from last year, the actress explains why she opted to exit the series. In December, Pompeo sat down for an interview on The Drew Barrymore Show and opened up about leaving the show after 19 seasons. 

"I feel super happy, but listen, the show has been incredible to me and I've loved a lot of the experience," Pompeo said. "Listen, it's just, I gotta mix it up a little bit." The actress went on to say, "I'm 53. My brain is like scrambled eggs. I gotta do something new or I'm literally gonna turn into like, you can't do the New York Times crossword puzzle every single day. I mean, 19 years, that's more than people keep their kids in their house, like 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."'

"I have a lot that I'm doing. I have three kids and so I take care of them, and it's really important for me to be around for them and be more present for them," Pompeo also told Barrymore, referring to the three children she shares with her husband Chris Ivery. "I'm gonna do a limited series for Hulu in the spring, which is a very cool, kind of crazy true story."

Back in November 2022, Pompeo took to Instagram to explain that she would be taking a step back from the show, but stated that she'd return for a "visit" at some point. "I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons," she wrote. "Through it all....none of it ...would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!! I love you madly and appreciate you right back. This isn't your first time on the rollercoaster... you know the show must go on and I'll definitely be back to visit. With a lot of love and immense gratitude XoE."