The doctor is about to leave the hospital.
And he’s here to explain why.
Months after news broke that Ellen Pompeo would only appear in a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy this season, the veteran actress appeared as a guest on This week’s The Drew Barrymore Show.
Sitting across from the hosts, Pompeo spoke at length for the first time about this stunning decision.
“I have to mix it up a bit,” Pompeo said, referring to the role he has held for more than 17 seasons.
“I’m 53 years old, my brain is like scrambled eggs. I have to do something new. You can’t do a New York Times crossword puzzle every day.”
Pompeo, of course, hasn’t spoken out about this need in years.
He has publicly said on several occasions that he desperately wanted Grey’s Anatomy to end.
Pompeo has been starring in the lead role of Meredith Gray for nearly two decades.
“I mean, 19 years old, it’s more than people keep their kids in their house, like people keep their kids at home until they’re 18 and then send them off to college,” he explained to Barrymore.
“So it’s kind of like me going to college.”
In the winter finale of Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith makes the decision to move to Boston; he will appear in the first episode of 2023 and after that… who knows?!?
“I have a lot of things I do,” said Pompeo, of his upcoming professional plans, adding:
“I have three children, so I take care of them. It’s very important for me to be around them and be more present for them.”
Indeed, Pompeo and husband Chris Ivery are parents to Stella, 13, Sienna, 8, and Eli, 6.
Pompeo posted on Instagram Nov. 17 about stepping away from Grey’s, extending his gratitude to longtime fans for their support of such a memorable show as the anchor of a consistently highly rated show.
“I am so grateful and humbled for the love and support you all have shown me, Meredith GRAY and the show for 19 seasons!” the star wrote at the time in the caption.
“Through it all….nothing…is possible without the best fans in the world. You are all RIDERS and you have all made this ride so fun and ICONIC!!
“I love you very much and appreciate you immediately.”
ABC has yet to announce whether Grey’s Anatomy will return in 2023-2024.
A few months ago, Pompeo hinted at the evolution of Grey’s Anatomy as he looked to its future beyond the medical drama.
“Trying to reinvent the show and continuing to try to reinvent the show is the challenge right now, and listen, the show speaks to a lot of people, and young people love the show,” he told Entertainment Tonight in May.
“This inspired so many generations of healthcare workers.
“I think for young people this is really good content and we’re going to try to keep it for young people, not necessarily with me, but still beyond me.”