Grey’s Anatomy has captivated audiences since its March 2005 premiere, but sometimes, what was going on behind-the-scenes of the series was more dramatic than what went down in the fictional hallways of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
“I do my best and we all do our best. It’s actually, the journey of it has been quite interesting because obviously we’ve had our ups and downs behind the scenes,” series star Ellen Pompeo admitted on Late Night With Seth Meyers in November 2017.
She added: “It’s been a very interesting journey. … It started out one way and right now where we are in such a different place from where we started.”
The medical drama first made headlines back in October 2006 after reports surfaced that Isaiah Washington, who played Dr. Preston Burke, used a homophobic slur on set. As the series continued to gain popularity over the next decade, fans searched for the truth behind the various cast shake-ups and killed-off characters.
Past drama from the set made headlines again in September 2021 following the release of Lynette Rice’s How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy. One of the points of contention explored was the cast’s relationships with Patrick Dempsey.
“There were times where Ellen was frustrated with Patrick and she would get angry that he wasn’t working as much,” producer Jeannine Renshaw recalled in the book. “She was very big on having things be fair. She just didn’t like that Patrick would complain that ‘I’m here too late’ or ‘I’ve been here too long’ when she had twice as many scenes in the episode as he did. When I brought it up to Patrick, I would say, ‘Look around you. These people have been here since 6:30 a.m.’ He would go, ‘Oh, yeah.’ He would get it. It’s just that actors tend to see things from their own perspective. He’s like a kid.”
The actor behind Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd was allegedly the cause of some “HR issues” too, according to producer James D. Parriott.
“It wasn’t sexual in any way. He sort of was terrorizing the set,” he claimed of the actor. “Some cast members had all sorts of PTSD with him. He had this hold on the set where he knew he could stop production and scare people. The network and studio came down and we had sessions with them. I think he was just done with the show. He didn’t like the inconvenience of coming in every day and working. He and Shonda [Rhimes] were at each other’s throats.”
Scroll through for a complete timeline of the behind-the-scenes drama on the ABC hit: