Grey's Anatomy is about to enter its 17th season this year. The long-running medical drama shows no signs of slowing down, either. In a recent interview, Ellen Pompeo discussed her nearly two decades at the helm of Grey's Anatomy and shared why she never felt the desire to leave like many of her previous co-stars.
"I made choices to stay on the show. For me, personally, a healthy home life was more important than career," Pompeo explained, according to Entertainment Tonight. "I didn't grow up with a particularly happy childhood. So to have a happy home life was really something I needed to complete to close the hole in my heart. And so I made a decision to make money, and not chase creative acting roles. It didn't make a lot of sense for me to sort of walk away."
"I don't like chasing anything, ever. And acting, to me, in my experience, was a lot of chasing. You've got to chase roles, you've got to beg for roles, you've got to convince people," she continued. "And although I produce and it's the same kind of thing, I think I still do it from a place of, I'm never that thirsty because I'm financially set."
While Pompeo is content with her role on Grey's Anatomy now, the 50-year-old actress admits things may have turned out differently had she started on the show at a younger age. "I got in the game late. I didn't start Grey's until I was 33, and then I started having kids at 40," she said. "I knew coming up on 40, it's like, I don't want to be out there chasing things, running after things, begging. I'd rather just see this as the blessing that it is."
Pompeo has seen many of her contemporaries, including some of her own Grey's Anatomy co-stars, attempting to distance themselves from the TV characters that launched their careers. Pompeo, however, doesn't feel the need to do that herself. "It's pretty common for actors to try and run away from stuff... that's OK. I understand that. Completely understand that. But at my age and where my life is, I'm not trying to run away from anything," Pompeo said. "It is who I am. I made my choices and I'm cool with it... Grey's has been a gift."