Ellen Pompeo almost left “Grey’s Anatomy” over its “toxic” work environment.
Pompeo revealed the show’s early problems in an interview with Taraji P. Henson for Variety’s Actors on Actors series.
“We had a serious, serious culture problem on ‘Grey’s’ for a good number of years, I would say the first 10 years,” she stated. “Very bad behavior, really toxic work environment.”
The 49-year-old actress has played the show’s title character Dr. Meredith Grey since its 2005 debut. Pompeo says there were “many moments” she considered leaving the show. But after giving birth to her daughter during Season 6 at age 40, she ultimately decided to stay to provide for her family.
Pompeo says positive change started to happen after Season 10 when she and series creator Shonda Rhimes decided to redirect the course of the show and hired Debbie Allen as an executive producer and director. Pompeo also revealed her former co-star Patrick Dempsey was paid nearly twice as much as her during the first two seasons. She claims the studio and network didn’t think the show could go on without a male lead after his departure in Season 11.
She says the show’s culture behind the scenes has since improved with leadership from Rhimes and Allen.