Grey’s Anatomy has had many iconic scenes over the course of its 19-season run. One of the most memorable scenes of season 2 is Meredith’s “pick me, choose me, love me” speech to Derek after Addison’s return. While many fans saw the scene as an epic declaration of love, Ellen Pompeo didn’t see it that way.
“Listen, I don’t know if you remember that I fought that speech so hard. That’s another really interesting thing about life — some things that I was so against, and I was like, ‘I can’t beg a man on TV! This is so embarrassing.’ And then it turns out to be one of the most famous scenes ever,” Ellen told Katherine Heigl during their Actors on Actors conversation for Variety.
Katherine said it was a “beautiful scene.” Ellen added, “In the scene, I’m crying, but I’m really crying because I have to beg a man on television.”
Life has a way of coming full circle. Ellen revealed that she discovered her daughter and her friends talking about a “pick me girl.” Ellen asked them what that meant. “They were like, ‘You know, girls who are like, ‘Pick me, choose me!’ And I’m like, ‘Hello?! Do you know who invented the ‘pick me girl’?” Ellen said.
Ellen has never shied away from voicing her opinion regarding the show, which she’s been at the center of since its 2005 premiere. In 2018, the 53-year-old opened up about becoming dramatic television’s highest-paid actress, earning over $20 million a year. “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,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
Despite the show being called Grey’s Anatomy and Ellen playing Meredith Grey, Ellen’s co-star Patrick Dempsey was paid more than her. “There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that,” the actress continued. “At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, ‘I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.’”
While cast members have come and gone, Ellen has remained as the heart and soul of Grey’s Anatomy. In season 19, she did depart as a series regular so she could pursue a new limited series. However, Ellen appeared in the season 19 finale and continues to provide the voiceover. The show has been renewed for season 20, and Ellen said she’ll “hopefully” be able tor return.