Jesse Williams Calls Ellen Pompeo The ‘Heart’ Of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: It’s ‘Unlikely’ To Survive Without Her


Jesse Williams Ellen Pompeo




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Ellen Pompeo, 52, has been open about her belief that the uber-popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy shouldn’t continue forever and has even hinted about her possible departure. Now, former co-star Jesse Williams, 40, is revealing his feelings about the hot topic and if he thinks the hit ABC series could survive without its star. “I don’t know, it would be a different show [if she left], she’s the heart of that show, she’s Grey, so unlikely,” he told Access Hollywood on June 12. “I don’t work there anymore so it doesn’t matter what I think,” he added.

Ellen has been the star of the Shonda Rhimes-created drama since its debut in 2005, playing Dr. Meredith Grey, the lead surgeon at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Jesse joined the cast in the show’s sixth season as Dr. Jackson Avery, an integral part of the team of doctors, for 12 seasons. He exited in 2021 but returned for the season 18 finale in May.

Jesse Williams Ellen Pompeo
Jesse Williams and Ellen Pompeo pose at the 2013 People’s Choice Awards (Photo: Jim Ruymen/UPI/Shutterstock)

As mentioned above, Ellen has hinted about her impending departure from Grey‘s and the show’s final season numerous times. In 2018, she told Us Weekly that the show’s producers were “getting” toward the end of the show and noted she and Shonda would decide “together” when it was time. She also explained that her family is important to her and she feels she needs to be more present for them. “I want to be more involved in my kids’ lives as they get older. And they need me more, and this world is such a crazy place,” she said.  The ABC star has three children she shares with husband Chris Ivery: daughters Stella Luna, 12, and Sienna May, 7, and son Eli Christopher, 5.

In 2020, she said season 17 could be the last. “We don’t know when the show is really ending yet. But the truth is, this year could be it,” she told Variety. “I don’t take the decision lightly. We employ a lot of people, and we have a huge platform. And I’m very grateful for it. You know, I’m just weighing out creatively what can we do,” she continued. “I’m really, really, really excited about this season. It’s probably going to be one of our best seasons ever. And I know that sounds nuts to say, but it’s really true.” At that point in time, her contract with the show — which she also produces — was active through 2021.

Ellen Pompeo, Jesse Williams, and Justin Chambers in a scene of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (Photo: Abc-Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Then, in Dec. 2021, she admitted she was not only ready for the show to end, but actively trying to convince everyone else it was time to let it go. “I’ve been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end,” she revealed to Insider in an interview. “​I feel like I’m the super naive one who keeps saying, ‘But what’s the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?’”

However, for now, it seems that Grey’s Anatomy fans have nothing to worry about. Ellen signed on for the 19th season of the history-making series in January. In a statement, ABC said the next season will “explore the ever-expanding world of modern medicine through the eyes of beloved returning and new characters.” Furthermore, the show’s executive producer, Krista Vernoff said, “Grey’s Anatomy has a global impact that can’t be overstated. Grey’s touches, and sometimes changes, hearts and minds worldwide through the depth of connection people feel with these characters. I’m excited to work with our extraordinary writers to dream up where we go from here, and I’m always grateful to our partners at Disney and ABC for letting us tell bold stories with real impact.”



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