Ellen Pompeo Fights Back Tears As She Looks Back On ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

The longtime star of the ABC medical drama gets emotional as she talks about the show's impact.

Ellen Pompeo reflects on Grey's Anatomy
Mitch Haaseth / ABC

The longtime star of the ABC medical drama gets emotional as she talks about the show's impact.

Ellen Pompeo says Grey’s Anatomy will be back for another season, and she even teases there’s “no end in sight” for the long-running ABC medical drama. In a new interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which you can see below, the Grey’s Anatomy star said she is committed to a 16th season of the hit ABC series, despite rumors that the current season will be her last.

“My contract is ’til season 16, and so I’m completely obligated to do season 16. You know, these numbers, there’s just no end in sight… The show is so popular.”

Pompeo has played Dr. Meredith Grey on the hit ABC drama since 2005 when fans first fell in love with her character as she fell in love with her Dr. McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey). Pompeo got emotional as she told DeGeneres how thankful she is for the devoted Grey’s Anatomy fans all over the world that have been touched by the hit series.

“People come up to me with tears in their eyes and tell me how meaningful is to them.”

The 48-year-old Grey’s Anatomy star referenced a gay teen actor who used his guest role on the show to come out to his parents. Pompeo said the young star told her the episode helped his parents “to understand what having a gay son meant and that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.” Pompeo told DeGeneres it is stories like that that keep her coming back each season.

“So I gotta keep doing it, man. Because we’re touching lives and making a difference.”

Ellen Pompeo recently told Entertainment Tonight that Grey’s Anatomy’s storylines bring “solace” and “comfort” to viewers going through similar things in their lives.

“Even though it is a silly soap opera — to know that you’re really touching people and making people feel better, even if it’s just because they’re crying, it’s meaningful,” Pompeo said. “As an artist, to be able to touch people in a meaningful way, I don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure. I appreciate it.”

Pompeo said she and showrunner Shonda Rhimes will “decide together” when Grey’s Anatomy needs to end, and she thinks the writing will be on the wall when it’s time to wrap the show’s lengthy run.

“I think the fans will let us know,” Pompeo said. “When the numbers start to drop and people aren’t watching the same, people aren’t as passionate about it… it’s time to call it.”

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Ellen Pompeo is the highest paid television actress today, raking in more than $20 million per year for her starring role, a producing fee, and more.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the actress revealed that she originally resisted her agent’s suggestion that she audition for Grey’s Anatomy because she had already caught the eye of movie producers and didn’t want to be committed to a TV show for multiple seasons. But in 2005, Ellen Pompeo wisely made her debut as Seattle Grace intern Meredith Grey, and she has been faithfully scrubbing in ever since.

You can see an emotional Ellen Pompeo talking the impact of Grey’s Anatomy below.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.