Ellen Pompeo didn’t leave a lot of gray areas in her refreshingly forthcoming interview with The Hollywood Reporter out Wednesday.
The award-winning star of “Grey’s Anatomy” inked a new contract late 2017, making her the highest-earning actress in a TV drama at more than $20 million a year, according to THR. While the numbers are a big deal, the real news came from Pompeo’s candid commentary on her contract negotiations, starting with her approach.
“I’m 48 now, so I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m OK asking for what I deserve,” she tells THR.
When co-star Patrick Dempsey left the show in 2015, it was a “defining moment,” Pompeo says. “They could always use him as leverage against me . . . which they did for years. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me.”
She says the studio’s rush to hire a new male lead was surprising given the fact that ratings went up after Dempsey left. “I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there,” she says.
Talking with her fellow actresses lately about the Time’s Up initiative made Pompeo feel her “path really was the right one” for her.
She did meet with Harvey Weinstein one time, however, although “he didn’t try anything,” luckily for him. “I grew up around some very tough people,” Pompeo says, “so I probably would have picked up a vase and cracked him over the [expletive] head.”