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Ellen Pompeo Calls Early 'Grey's Anatomy' Years 'Toxic,' But Here's Why She Didn't Quit

Ellen Pompeo spoke to Taraji P. Henson in a conversation with Variety, and she revealed that there are moments she wanted to quit her hit show Grey’s Anatomy.

“There were many moments,” Ellen said about wanting to quit Grey’s Anatomy over the years. “It’s funny: I never wanted off the bus in the year that I could get off. The first 10 years we had serious culture issues, very bad behavior, really toxic work environment. But once I started having kids, it became no longer about me. I need to provide for my family.”

“At 40 years old, where am I ever going to get this kind of money? I need to take care of my kids. But after Season 10, we had some big shifts in front of the camera, behind the camera. It became my goal to have an experience there that I could be happy and proud about, because we had so much turmoil for 10 years,” Ellen added.

She continued, “My mission became, this can’t be fantastic to the public and a disaster behind the scenes. Shonda Rhimes and I decided to rewrite the ending of this story. That’s what’s kept me. Patrick Dempsey left the show in season 11, and the studio and network believed the show could not go on without the male lead. So I had a mission to prove that it could. I was on a double mission.”

'Grey's Anatomy' Cut This Story Line After It Leaked

Grey’s Anatomy planned to cast a potential love interest for Meredith Grey in season 14…but quickly cut that story line after it leaked.

The news was confirmed by executive producer Krista Vernoff in a new interview.

“[TVLine’s] Michael Ausiello found out that we were casting a European scientist as a potential love interest for Meredith [Ellen Pompeo],” Krista told EW. “When that got leaked, I went into the writers’ room and said, ‘That’s not interesting to me anymore. What else could this character be?’”

And Krista also answered who that “love interest” character morphed into after the leak.

“That character became Marie Cerone [Rachel Ticotin], the old friend of Meredith’s mom [Kate Burton],” Krista added. “It was a much more interesting story than some temporary love interest. We changed it because we wanted to thwart expectations.”

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Patrick Dempsey Wins Hardest 'Grey's Anatomy' Death to Watch in Just Jared's Fan Poll!

Last week, we at Just Jared put up a poll to ask fans: Which Grey’s Anatomy death was hardest to watch?

The poll is now closed, and the fans have spoken: They voted Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) as the winner!

Patrick secured 2,262 (36 percent) of the votes.

Coming in at second place was Dr. Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), who earned 1,684 (27 percent) of the votes. Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) came in third with 1,006 (16 percent).

Thanks to everyone who voted! Check out the full results of the poll here if you missed it.

Which 'Grey's Anatomy' Death Was Hardest to Watch? Vote Now!

UPDATE on 5/28: This poll is now closed! Congrats to Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) on winning the fan vote!! Dr. Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) came in second place, and Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) came in third place. Thank you to the fans for voting!

(SPOILER ALERT – Do not continue reading if you don’t want to know which characters have died throughout seasons one to 15 of Grey’s Anatomy, or if you don’t want to know what happens in the season 15 finale episode!)

While Grey’s Anatomy is full of romantic storylines and intriguing medical phenomena, it also has its fair share of heartbreak.

POLL: See who won the title of hottest Grey’s Anatomy guy in Just Jared‘s fan poll!

Specifically, the hit ABC series has killed off some of our favorite characters in some pretty tragic ways, and we may not ever fully recover.

While the season 15 finale episode didn’t actually feature any deaths, as some predicted, we’re still crossing our fingers for Dr. Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams).

While we eagerly await season 16, we wanted to open the question up to the fans and see… which Grey’s Anatomy death has been the most difficult for YOU to watch?

We’ve compiled a list of some all-time fan favorites below. Vote now!

This poll has unlimited voting, so you can cast as many votes as you’d like. We’ll be closing the poll on Tuesday (May 28).

Season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy returns this fall on ABC.

'Grey's Anatomy' Showrunner Talks Season Finale Cliffhanger

SPOILER ALERT – This post contains major spoilers from the Grey’s Anatomy season finale, so continue reading at your own risk.

The finale episode of season 15 of Grey’s Anatomy has left us on the edge of our seats!

After the finale, showrunner Krista Vernoff opened up about leaving the season on a cliffhanger – and to say that she hopes people will be talking about the finale all summer long.

It was a creative decision. It was a cliffhanger,” Krista shared with Hollywood Reporter. “I want people to come back [in the fall] and talk all summer and wonder what happens to him. We have not mapped it out. The writers come back June 3, I’m on vacation for two weeks and then we’ll hit it. What I love about act six of our finale is we gave ourselves so much to play with for next season on all the storylines.”

Grey’s Anatomy was recently renewed for a record-breaking 16th and 17th season.

Click inside to find out what happened…More Here! »

ABC Renews 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'How to Get Away With Murder' & 'Station 19'!

Good news for fans of Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder and Station 19: the shows are all coming back!

ABC is renewing all three of the popular shows, the network confirmed on Friday (May 10).

Grey’s Anatomy will be renewed for a record-breaking 16th and 17th season, while Murder returns for a sixth season and Station 19 comes back with a third season.

Executive producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff will helm both Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19.

“I’m thrilled to continue at the helm of Grey’s Anatomy, and I’m honored and energized by the opportunity to run Station 19, as well. To expand upon the world Stacy McKee created, and further merge it with the world of Grey’s, is an exciting challenge,” she said.

“Everyone at Shondaland is thrilled that our fans’ commitment to TGIT continues. We are so proud of Krista and Pete and the work they do. Making the choice to have Krista oversee Station 19 was easy — the creativity she brings to the Grey’s Anatomy universe continues a tradition of storytelling we hold dear,” said Shonda Rhimes and producing partner Betsy Beers.