Ellen Pompeo Promises Meredith Is "Not Completely Gone" From "Grey's Anatomy"
Fans of "Grey's Anatomy" know the show isn't quite the same without Ellen Pompeo's Meredith Grey, but the long-running medical drama made sure her farewell served as the perfect goodbye. But was it really the end for Meredith?
As previously reported by Variety, viewers saw a lot less of Dr. Grey in season 19 due to the actor's role in a forthcoming Hulu show, "The Orphan," and she officially departed the show in its Feb. 23 episode. Her character returned for the season 19 finale, though — and apparently will be back again.
"It's a little bit of trickery, because I'm not completely gone," Pompeo said during her Variety Actors on Actors sit-down with former castmate Katherine Heigl, published June 6. "Actually, the storyline is very cool. There's a lot of real research that's changing very rapidly about Alzheimer's disease and about what they believe is the cause of Alzheimer's disease. It's pretty controversial."
Continued Pompeo, "So Meredith's character left to go to Boston because her daughter needed to go to a special school. I will be making some appearances hopefully next year, if I can find some time." So, Pompeo assured, "it's not a complete goodbye" to Meredith. "And I think we've got an interesting story to tell."
"Grey's Anatomy" executive producer Debbie Allen, who also plays Catherine Fox, previously told Entertainment Tonight that it's been "a big deal for all of us not to have [Pompeo] on set [every day] like normal," adding: "But she's there. I mean, she's still buying food trucks for the crew. She's still coming to judge bake-offs, she's still our number one on the call sheet," she shared with a smile.
Ahead of her final goodbye on "Grey's Anatomy," Pompeo shared a message to fans in a Nov. 17, 2022, Instagram post celebrating her time on the series. "I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons!" the actor wrote. "Through it all . . . none of it . . . would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!! I love you madly and appreciate you right back."
Pompeo also hinted way back then at her potential return to the show. "This isn't your first time on the rollercoaster," she added. "You know the show must go on and I'll definitely be back to visit. With a lot of love and immense gratitude XoE 🙏🏼❤️".
As for Pompeo's upcoming Hulu role, the streamer has green-lit eight episodes centered around a Midwestern family who adopt who they think is an 8-year-old girl with a rare form of dwarfism. However, they soon begin to question her identity, throwing their own relationships into turmoil as they discover that she might not be exactly who she says she is.
The show is based on the true story of a woman named Natalia Grace Barnett, whose official age was changed from 8 to 22 in a 2012 court order, per Journal & Courier, though the case has continued to develop since then. In addition to acting in the show, Pompeo also serves as an executive producer, working alongside Katie Robbins ("The Affair"), Erin Levy ("Mad Men"), and a few other members of her Calamity Jane production company.
Though this means less screen time for Meredith Grey, this certainly isn't the end of Pompeo's career.