Big fans of Grey's Anatomy are therefore big fans of the main character, Meredith Grey, and also big fans of the actress who plays her, Ellen Pompeo. When we watch a TV show for several years, we often associate the actor or actress with the character that they play. It's hard to see them as anyone else. Even if we watch them in another movie or on another show, it's hard to ignore the association with their other, often bigger, projects.
It's funny because that's probably kind of annoying for actors and actresses since they want to stretch their wings and try something new. Hey, we can't help but always see Lauren Graham as our beloved coffee-loving Lorelai Gilmore or Sarah Jessica Parker as fashionista and writer Carrie Bradshaw.
We've definitely wondered if Ellen Pompeo is like her popular character, and now it's time to take a look at whether that's true or not. It turns out that she has several things in common with the TV doctor and also some things that make her different. Read on to find out 10 ways that Ellen Pompeo is just like Meredith, along with 10 reasons that they couldn't be more different.
20 Just Like Meredith: Super Strong
If there's one major thing that Ellen Pompeo has in common with Meredith Grey, it's the fact that they're both super strong women.
Meredith is such a great character and she inspires us to always persevere and know that we can get through anything.
Most recently, Ellen proved how strong she is when she fought for equal pay and got a massive raise.
She now gets paid $575,000 for each episode and gets a $20 million annual salary. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she is now the actress who gets paid the most for starring on a TV drama. Ellen said, "In Shonda finding her power and becoming more comfortable with her power, she has empowered me."
19 They're Different: Surrogacy Story
According to Heavy, Ellen had one child via surrogate. Meredith hasn't experienced surrogacy, but she has adopted a child.
Meredith has three kids and one of them, Zola, is adopted. Derek said about making that decision, "I was holding her yesterday, and she was crying and then she stopped. And I've held a lot of babies, I've fixed a lot of babies. But, I looked down at Zola, and I don't know what it was, but I just couldn't imagine her being with any other parent or with any other family. We've been trying so hard to start a family, and she needs one. Let's adopt her. I'm serious, let's adopt her."
18 Just Like Meredith: Meet Cute
It's always fun to see how characters meet on a TV show or in a movie. When we're engaged or in a serious relationship and it's clear that this romance is working out, people always ask us how we met our partner.
In movies and TV shows, it's often called a "meet cute" and that's definitely how we could describe the way that Meredith and Derek originally met.
They met a bar, which might be a bit of a common story, but it was still really adorable. Of course, then they realized that they were both working at the same hospital and things got pretty complicated from there.
Ellen also met her husband in a cute way. According to Useless Daily, they met at a grocery store. Don't you just love that?!
17 They're Different: Family Life
According to Useless Daily, Ellen has five siblings. This is another way that Ellen is different from the famous character that she plays because Meredith doesn't have that many.
Meredith does have some half-siblings, though: she has Lexie Grey (another sad loss), Maggie Pierce, and Molly Grey-Thompson.
Over the years, we've watched Meredith push people away and not get too close to others, but she seems to be doing pretty well these days. She has been good with Maggie and also with Derek's sister Amelia, and it's been interesting to watch her build her own family with some of the other doctors, including Alex Karev.
16 Just Like Meredith: Work-Focused Women
They both love their jobs and care a lot about them. We've watched Meredith go from intern to surgeon and it's been a beautiful and inspiring journey. Sometimes we could say that Meredith hides her emotions and tries to ignore whatever's going on in her personal life by working even harder...
But then again, all of the doctors on the show work just as hard, so it's just the nature of the job and industry.
Ellen also seems to enjoy playing Meredith (and she's definitely had this job for many years). She also knows that Meredith needs a special someone who is truly worth: according to Refinery29, she said, "Patrick Dempsey is a very tough act to follow, and it's challenging to get someone to come on a season 15 show. We're gonna find someone who makes an impact."
15 They're Different: This Hobby
There is one way that Ellen is different from the character that she plays: she loves home decor.
According to P0pcorn, "The actress loves buying houses and decorating them afterwards. She carried out part of her vintage LA home’s renovations herself. The whole process was photographed and documented by AD magazine."
We can say that it doesn't seem like home decor is something that seems to interest Meredith. She has always lived in really nice houses that look super cozy and comfortable, but it seems like that's where her interest ends. After all, she's busy saving lives and dealing with all of the tragedy and trauma in her personal life, so home decor might not be at the top of her priority list.
14 Just Like Meredith: A Difficult Early Life
As E! News said, "And not unlike the future medical savant, the 48-year-old went through her own childhood trauma. One of Pompeo's earliest memories is of her older siblings (she is the youngest of six) trying to revive their mom after she suffered a fatal overdose.
As she summed up to Good Housekeeping, "My life started out with tragedy."
That sounds familiar, right? We might have had no idea that Ellen and Meredith actually have a family tragedy in common. As we know, Meredith watched her mom almost pass away as a kid, and she had to grow up with a difficult mom who then suffered from Alzheimer's.
13 They're Different: Love Stories
The love stories in films and on TV shows are what captivate audiences. Sure, we don't mind a good friendship story or seeing someone reach the top of their chosen industry or following a big dream or taking a big risk. But love stories are where it's at when it comes to entertainment, and that's true of Grey's Anatomy. Fans really enjoy watching the various couples and all of the drama that unfolds in every single episode.
When it comes to romance, that's where Meredith and Ellen are different. Meredith, of course, lost her one true love and soulmate Derek (and we will never be okay), but Ellen is still married. She and Chris Ivery have been married since 2007.
12 Just Like Meredith: Hustle, Hustle, Hustle
We often hear that you have to hustle in order to do well in life, and that's certainly true when we look at a character like Meredith Grey and an actress like Ellen Pompeo. We all know that working hard is the only thing that we should be doing, and it's inspiring to see other women who are doing the same thing... even if, sure, one of them is a fictional character (but Meredith does feel super real to her fans).
According to E! News, Ellen was bartending before she became an actress.
Meredith hustles all the time and works really hard, and Ellen has been on a long-running show and definitely works hard, too.
11 They're Different: This Is Sweet
While Meredith and Ellen have both had amazing love stories, there is one way that their romances have been different.
Meredith and Derek met at the bar and then realized they were both at the same hospital, but that was in adulthood.
According to Fame 10, Ellen and her husband realized they have a lot in common: "Ellen has always said she felt they were meant to be together because after they started dating, they found out they grew up only 10 miles away from each other in Boston." That's so cool and we just love hearing cute and sweet stories like that.
10 Just Like Meredith: Equality, Please
Meredith and Ellen also have this really big thing in common: they both believe that women should be equal to men and they both fight for their own rights and equality.
Meredith always wanted to be equal to Derek and this was important to her.
Cristina would often talk to her about not losing her fire because she was with Derek. In a famous and beautiful scene, Cristina said to her, "He's very dreamy, but he is not the sun, you are." Don't you just love that line so much?!
In her interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she said, "For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me — "We don't need you; we have Patrick" — which they did for years."
9 They're Different: Only One Has This
According to Women.com, Ellen Pompeo has asthma. That's not something that she appears to share with her character Meredith Grey (although we bet that would make for some interesting scenes in the hospital... but then again, the characters have gone through enough, so maybe not).
It turns out that this is a reason why she has the dogs that she does. According to Female First, "Pompeo suffers from several allergies and asthma so she owns two toy poodles with her husband because they don't shed." The publication quoted something she once said: "I have asthma, so those are the only kinds of dogs I can have."
8 Just Like Meredith: Well-Known Women
Ellen is more famous than Meredith since she's a celebrity but we can say that they're both well-known.
It's interesting to compare a famous doctor and a famous actress. They are both doing important work for sure, although very different.
When interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter about her amazing raise and speaking up about pay equality, she said, "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?"
7 They're Different: Health-Conscious
Something that we can say that Meredith and Ellen don't seem to have in common is living a healthy lifestyle.
Fame 10 says that Ellen works out, meditates, and drinks alkaline water. We don't see Meredith eating well or working out. We do some of the other characters going for a run to blow off some steam or working out, but not Meredith.
In an interview with Parade, Ellen also said that she's vegan: "It’s very new but, yes, the whole family is vegan." She also shared, "First of all, I love essential oils. I’m a big user of them and I’m a big user of them on my kids."
6 Just Like Meredith: Small Weddings
We can also say that Meredith and Ellen both had a small wedding. Meredith and Derek had their infamous post-it note marriage. It's something that fans still think about and love to this day and it was just so romantic. Derek asked Meredith, "What do we want to promise each other?" and Meredith said "That you'll love me even when you hate me." Derek wrote on the post-it note, " To love each other even when we hate each other…No running. Ever. Nobody walks out, no matter what happens." That's swoon-worthy... and also really sad.
Ellen had a very small ceremony as well.
When she and Chris Ivery tied the knot in 2007, she said that they had no one there except for Michael Bloomberg. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, she said, "We got married here in City Hall and Mayor Bloomberg was our officiator. Yeah, it was very cool."
5 They're Different: A Possible Ending
According to CNN, Ellen Pompeo has said that she might leave Grey's Anatomy soon and there has been lots of talk about when the show will be over.
While Ellen may not act beyond playing Meredith, it seems safe to say that Meredith Grey will always keep working as a doctor. Can we really see her slowing down or retiring? Probably not. She seems to love what she does so much and it's basically her whole identity. Of course, the series finale could mean a massive change and Meredith could move to Europe with her children and a new love interest, which would be a nice happy ending for this character who has gone through so much. Hey, maybe she'll move to Zurich and work with Cristina?!
4 Just Like Meredith: They're Both Moms
Something else that Ellen and Meredith have in common is that they're both moms. Not only that but they both have three kids. That's pretty cool, right?
Meredith has three kids: a son named Bailey and two daughters, Ellis and Zola.
Ellen has three kids as well: 1-year-old Eli, four-year-old Sienna, and 9-year-old Stella.
Of course, Meredith has had a pretty dramatic time as a mom: she had her third child, Ellis, after Derek's death. Oh man. We can't even think about this without getting pretty teary-eyed and we're sure that every Grey's Anatomy fan feels the exact same way.
3 They're Different: Eco-Friendly
We couldn't say with total confidence that Meredith is super into eco-friendly products and using them on a regular basis. Sure, she probably cares about the environment, but this isn't a topic of discussion on the show.
This is where Ellen and Meredith could veer off into different directions. While they have many other things in common, this might not be one of them.
According to Into The Gloss, Ellen cares about using environmentally-friendly beauty and home products including the Honest Company. She said, "I’m conscious of the parabens and the sulfates in all the shampoos and everything. And I work with Jessica Capshaw, whose husband is the co-founder of The Honest Company, so we have a lot of discussions about organic products. I do love organic products, but I have to say that SK-II changed my life."
2 Just Like Meredith: Private People
We can say that both Meredith Grey and Ellen Pompeo are pretty private people. It's interesting that we feel like we know Meredith so well because it seems like even the people who are closest to her, such as the other doctors, her friends, and her family members, might say that they don't feel that they know her super well.
The character is someone who keeps her guard up a lot of the time and she doesn't share things quite as easily as other people do.
Ellen Pompeo also seems fairly private. While she does have social media such as Instagram and does get interviewed quite a bit, we can most likely agree that we don't know as much about her as we do other celebrities.
1 They're Different: Age Is Just A Number
According to Elle Australia, Ellen that she has kept playing Meredith because she felt that roles for women in their late 30s/40s weren't great. The publication quoted something she told People magazine: “My decision to stay on Grey’s was based solely on age. At 33, I was wise enough to know my clock was already ticking in Hollywood.”
Meredith doesn't talk about or seem to focus on her age, which makes sense since that doesn't seem relevant to the show. But we have definitely watched her grow up since the beginning. She was an intern in the pilot of the show and now she's an amazing surgeon, mom, friend, and sister. How much do we love Meredith Grey (and Ellen Pompeo)?!
Sources: E Online, CNN, Elle, Refinery29, The Hollywood Reporter