Meredith Grey might be a medical badass, but to be totally honest, she doesn’t hold a candle to Ellen Pompeo. The actress recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss her 14-year reign as Grey’s Anatomy’s leading lady, and she wasn’t afraid to get candid about the silver lining of the controversial death of her onscreen love interest, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). The article, which describes Pompeo as “TV’s $20 Million Woman,” reveals that Derek’s death paved the way for the actress to finally negotiate for what she’s worth.

“For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise,” she said. “They could always use him as leverage against me — ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ — which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that.”

Killing off fan-favorite Derek Shepherd — which Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes once said had to happen “in order for [Meredith and Derek’s] love to remain honest” — naturally left fans gutted. That being said, the show has continued on just fine without him, thanks to Pompeo’s rock-solid performance.






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