Following Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey’s abrupt exit from the series, Pompeo said the network unfairly argued that the show wouldn’t thrive without a male lead. In an attempt to prove them wrong all while proving her worth, she teamed up with creator Shonda Rhimes to completely transform the narrative and create big shifts.
"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 ABC 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."
Last year the mum-of-three— who has always been vocal about Hollywood’s pay disparity and the fact Depsey made twice as much as she did despite being the lead character — revealed that after years of fighting, she’d negotiated a US$20 million-per-year deal with the network. Since announcing the victory, Pompeo has urged other women to back themselves and know their worth in the workplace.
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“My husband says, ‘Closed mouths don’t get fed'. But if you have to walk, don’t be a victim. If you don’t get what you want, put your big-girl panties on …You can know your worth, but if they don’t know it, you can’t cry.”
Pompeo is now the highest paid actress on television.