Earlier this month, Deadline broke the news that two major characters, Dr. Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) and Dr. April Kepner (Sarah Drew), would be leaving Grey's Anatomy. This was a punch in the gut for longtime fans and, searching for answer, some blamed star Ellen Pompeo for their dismissal. Deadline's article noted that the actress had received a pay raise of "as much as $20 million a year," suggesting that her salary left no room for Capshaw and Drew.
"It’s absolutely not true," Pompeo said when she stopped by Ellen on Thursday. "I’m not involved in these kinds of decisions. However, there’s a few problems that you encounter doing a show for 14 seasons. One of them is the writers have a really hard time creatively thinking up new stories for all these characters. I think we have 16 regular cast members. It’s always sad when we lose people — whether they want to go or they don’t want to go. It doesn’t make it any easier."
"Its [sic] unfortunate that @DEADLINE chooses to try to pit women against eachother [sic] on #InternationalWomensDay...I'm a big girl @DEADLINE can take shots at me if they want but to the fans please don't fall into that trap. This is above my pay grade."
Showrunner Krista Vernoff also took to Twitter to set the record straight, clarifying that decisions around casting had nothing to do with Pompeo's salary.
"They could always use [Patrick Dempsey] as leverage against me — 'We don't need you; we have Patrick' — which they did for years," she wrote, adding that things changed thanks to creator Shonda Rhimes. "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."
Watch Pompeo's full interview with Ellen DeGeneres below:
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