Ellen Pompeo Just Said the Environment on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Was “Toxic” for the First 10 Years

Grey’s Anatomy is still going strong after 15 whole years, but Ellen Pompeo just said the first 10 weren’t nearly as great behind the scenes as they looked on your TV.

In a new interview with Taraji P. Henson for Variety, Ellen said they had major culture issues on-set and there were “many moments” when she wanted to quit.

“It’s funny. I never wanted off the bus in the year that I could get off,” she said. “The first 10 years we had serious culture issues, very bad behavior, really toxic work environment. But once I started having kids, it became no longer about me. I need to provide for my family.”

“After season 10, we had some big shifts in front of the camera, behind the camera,” she continued.

She made it a main goal of hers to turn things around and make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved.

“It became my goal to have an experience there that I could be happy and proud about, because we had so much turmoil for 10 years,” she said. “My mission became, this can’t be fantastic to the public and a disaster behind the scenes.”

Part of what’s kept her around all these years is that alongside Shonda Rhimes, she was able to “rewrite the ending” of the show. When Patrick Dempsey left in season 11, she said the studio and network believed Grey’s couldn’t go on without him, but she wanted to prove them wrong.

Considering that happened all the way back in 2014 and the show was just renewed for both seasons 16 and 17, it’s safe to say she succeeded.

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