Ellen Pompeo is our spirit animal.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Grey’s Anatomy star discusses becoming the highest-paid actress on a primetime drama — and all the bullshit (like being paid less than her male costar, Patrick Dempsey) she had to face on her way up.
One thing always remained the same, the mother-of-three was determined to get her paper.
In late 2017, the 48-year-old celeb signed a new deal that paves the way for two more seasons (15 and 16) of the medical drama, earning more than $20 million a year with $575,000 per episode. Additionally, she’ll get a seven-figure signing bonus, a producing fee, and backend on this spring’s Grey’s spinoff. Get it, bb.
In the feature with THR, the leading lady says:
“I’m 48 now, so I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m OK asking for what I deserve, which is something that comes only with age. Because I’m not the most “relevant” actress out there. I know that’s the industry perception because I’ve been this character for 14 years. But the truth is, anybody can be good on a show season one and two. Can you be good 14 years later? Now, that’s a fuckin’ skill.”
And don’t worry — she definitely brought the McDreamy tea:
“For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. 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. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, ‘I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.'”
As show creator Shonda Rhimes found her power, so did Ellen.
The TV legend explains:
“Things have changed, though. In Shonda finding her power and becoming more comfortable with her power, she has empowered me. And that took her a while to get to, too. It was part of her evolution. It’s also why our relationship is so special. I was always loyal to her, and she responds well to loyalty. So, she got to a place where she was so empowered that she was generous with her power. Now, what did that look like? It looked like her letting me be the highest-paid woman on television, letting me be a producer on this show, letting me be a co-executive producer on the spinoff and signing off on the deal that the studio gave me, which is unprecedented.”
“It’s just that as women, that’s our problem; a guy wouldn’t have any problem asking for $600,000 an episode. And as women, we’re like, ‘Oh, can I ask for that? Is that OK?’ I’d call Shonda and say, ‘Am I being greedy?’ But CAA compiled a list of stats for me, and Grey’s has generated nearly $3 billion for Disney. When your face and your voice have been part of something that’s generated $3 billion for one of the biggest corporations in the world, you start to feel like, ‘OK, maybe I do deserve a piece of this.'”
Hell yeah you do!
During the conversation, Pompeo also remembers once being sent to Harvey Weinstein‘s hotel room:
“My agent once sent me to see Harvey, too. I went right up to his room at the Peninsula, which I would never normally do, but Harvey was a New York guy, so it made sense. Plus, it was in the middle of the day, and he had an assistant there. He didn’t try anything on me. Had he, I’m a little rough around the edges and I grew up around some very tough people, so I probably would have picked up a vase and cracked him over the fucking head. But I also feel completely comfortable saying that I walked into that room batting the shit out of my eyelashes. My goal in that room was to charm him, as it is in most rooms like that. You think, ‘Not only do I have to show that I’m a good actress, but that director also has to in some way fall in love with me and at least become enamored with me.’ That never felt right or good to me. And I’ve had conversations with my agent 17 years later where I said, ‘You sent me into that room knowing ├óΓé¼┬ª’ They claim they didn’t know.”
She concludes with a call to action for more women in positions of power:
“I should also say this: I don’t believe the only solution is more women in power, because power corrupts. It’s not necessarily a man or a woman thing. But there should be more of us women in power, and not just on Shonda Rhimes’ sets.”
We highly suggest reading the full piece HERE!
And it sounds like the actress has already inspired so many, with Twitter applauding Ellen for being her!! See some reactions (below):
“The show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. It’s my show; I’m the number one.”
Imagine being on a show for 14 years with your character’s name on the fucking title and still getting paid less than your male costar. Also Ellen Pompeo is a bad ass ├░┼╕ΓÇÿ┼á pic.twitter.com/xc8L38lqm8
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Malec ├ó┼╛┬░ (@withSnowbarry) January 17, 2018
Ellen Pompeo is THE baddest bitch. SHE is Greys Anatomy and deserves more money and recognition that what she├óΓé¼Γäós getting
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ linette (@xpolaroidlouis) January 17, 2018
Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy, will earn roughly $600k/episode for seasons 15 & 16. Congrats to a person who KNOWS her worth, and didn’t settle for anything less. She’s been one of the core reasons for the show’s $3 billion success. @GreysABC
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Michael Rizzi ├░┼╕┬º┼í├░┼╕┬Å┬╗├óΓé¼┬ì├óΓäóΓÇÜ├»┬╕┬Å (@MikeRizzi) January 17, 2018
[Image via Nicky Nelson/WENN.]