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Ellen Pompeo reveals why she decided to stay on 'Grey's Anatomy'

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ABC/Mike Rosenthal

(LOS ANGELES) — While most of the original cast of Grey’s Anatomy has moved onto other projects, series lead Ellen Pompeo says she is perfectly content staying where she is.

The 50-year-old actress, who plays Doctor Meredith Grey on the long-running medical drama, appeared on the Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast on Monday and spoke about why she chose not to pursue other acting opportunities.

“For me, personally, a healthy home life was more important than career. I didn’t grow up with a particularly happy childhood. So the idea that I have this great husband and these three beautiful children… a happy home life was really something I needed to complete, to close the hole in my heart,” Pompeo explained. “And so I made a decision to make money, and not chase creative acting roles.” 

In addition to wanting to settle down and collect a steady paycheck, Pompeo also felt that her acting options were limited due to her age.

The People’s Choice Award winner was 35 when the series began.  Had she been 10 years younger, however, Pompeo believes she probably would have exited the series when her initial six-year contract expired. 

“I knew coming up on 40, it’s like…I don’t want to be out there chasing things, running after things [and] begging. I’d rather just see this as the blessing that it is,” she dished.

In the end, the decision to stay paid off — literally. 

Pompeo is now the highest-paid television actress, revealing that she makes $575,000 per episode — or $20 million per year. 

Because of that, the actress reveals that she’s not even tempted to consider what other opportunities she might have because “I’m never that thirsty because I’m financially set.”

By Megan Stone
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