Ellen Pompeo

    001. Quick Trivia
    002. Biography
    003. Trivia

Birth Date: November 10, 1969 (age 46
Birthplace: Everett, Massachusetts, United States
Full Name: Ellen Kathleen Pompeo
Height: 5 ft 7 in or 170 cm
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Light Brown
Astrological Sign: Scorpio
Husband: Chris Ivery
Kids: 2 Daughters Stella Luna & Sienna May
Mother: Kathleen B. (O’Keefe)
Father: Joseph Pompeo
Siblings: Ellen have 5 siblings, 3 sisters one of them is Maureen Pompeo & 2 brothers.
Best Known For: Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy


Ellen Kathleen Pompeo is an American actress. She rose to fame for her portrayal of Dr. Meredith Grey in the long-running hit ABC medical drama series Grey’s Anatomy (2005–present). The role earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama nomination in 2007 including many more accolades. She has also appeared in the films Moonlight Mile (2002), Old School (2003), and Daredevil (2003).


Ellen Pompeo was born in Everett, Massachusetts, the daughter of Kathleen B. (née O’Keefe) and Joseph E. Pompeo, a surgeon. Her father was of Italian, English, and Irish descent, while her mother was of Irish ancestry. She was raised Roman Catholic. Her mother died of a painkiller overdose when Ellen was four, and her father remarried soon after; he died on September 1, 2012. She has five siblings: three sisters and two brothers. She was nicknamed the pencil, and stracciatella (an ice cream flavor).


  • 1995–2004
  • After meeting boyfriend, fashion photographer Andrew Rosenthal, and serving cocktails in Miami for more than two years, Pompeo moved to New York City for her acting career. She began working in commercials and small independent films. Pompeo made her television debut in 1996 by guest-starring in the NBC legal police drama, Law & Order. She made her feature film debut in Coming Soon, playing a small part. She made her second appearance on Law & Order in 2000, and then guest-starred on Strangers with Candy, Strong Medicine and Friends. Pompeo then moved to Los Angeles in 2001. She participated in the movie Mambo Café with Thalía. A turning point came in 2002, when she was selected by director Brad Silberling for a lead role in his film Moonlight Mile, playing Jake Gyllenhaal’s character’s sympathetic love interest. Also in 2002, Pompeo appeared in the biographical crime drama film Catch Me If You Can and in 2003, she appeared in Old School as Luke Wilson’s love interest. She portrayed Jim Carrey’s ex-girlfriend, Naomi, in the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Although her scenes were cut from that film, she felt grateful that director Michel Gondry selected her for his film. She also played the role of Karen Page in the 2003 Marvel Entertainment film Daredevil.

  • Grey’s Anatomy and other works
  • Pompeo landed her first major role in 2005 on the ABC medical drama series Grey’s Anatomy, created by Shonda Rhimes. She plays the title character and series’ protagonist, Meredith Grey, a surgical intern at a prestigious hospital. In 2011, she was named the ninth highest paid television actress, earning $7 million. Grey’s Anatomy was a breakout hit in 2005, and in later seasons the highest-rated television drama in the key 18–49 demographic. She signed a new contract for Grey’s Anatomy in 2011 that increased her salary to US$200,000 per episode. On May 10, 2012, it was announced that she signed a contract for two more seasons. She was named the eighth highest paid television actress in 2012, earning $9 million. She extended her contract for two more years, which would have her involved with the show until its 12th season. As of 2013, she earns $350,000 per episode plus millions from syndication.
    Pompeo has been nominated for multiple awards for her performances in Grey’s Anatomy. She and the Grey’s Anatomy cast won Best Ensemble in a Television Series at the 2006 Satellite Awards. During the following year’s ceremony, she was named Best Actress in a Television Drama Series. She was among the Grey’s Anatomy cast members awarded the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series accolade at the 13th Screen Actors Guild Awards, and received nominations in the same category in 2006 and 2008. Pompeo received a Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama Series nomination at the 64th Golden Globe Awards – the program won Best Drama Series at the same ceremony. Also in 2007, Pompeo and the female cast and crew of Grey’s Anatomy received the Women in Film Lucy Award, which honors those “whose work in television has positively influenced attitudes toward women.” Her performance has garnered two People’s Choice Award nominations. At the 37th People’s Choice Awards, she was nominated against Dempsey and Oh in the Favorite TV Doctor category, and the following year, she was a contender in the Favorite TV Drama Actress category. In 2007, show-business awards reporter Tom O’Neil commented that Pompeo was overdue an Emmy Award nomination for her role in Grey’s Anatomy. Readers of O’Neil’s awards website, The Envelope, included Pompeo in their 2009 nominations for Best Drama Actress in the site’s Gold Derby TV Awards.
    On October 13, 2007, Pompeo was honored by the National Italian American Foundation for her achievement in entertainment at a black-tie gala in Washington, D.C. On October 27, 2011, Deadline.com reported that Pompeo had launched her own production company called Calamity Jane which sold its first project to ABC, an untitled show about female agents on the Secretary of State’s security detail On August 2014, it was announced that Pompeo was developing two dramas with ABC Studios – adaptation of Rachel Carey’s 2013 novel Debt for ABC Family, and untitled female police drama for ABC.
    In September 2014, Pompeo announced that she will not be acting after Grey’s Anatomy ends its run. Pompeo said: “I definitely don’t have a strong desire to act after Grey’s. I definitely feel myself transitioning. I don’t find acting terribly empowering.”


    Pompeo began dating music producer Chris Ivery in 2003. They married on November 9, 2007, with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as the legal witness to the ceremony. Pompeo and Ivery have two daughters: Stella Luna (born September 2009) and Sienna May (born August 2014, via surrogacy).

  • Is a native of Boston.
  • Had another scene in Daredevil (2003) as Matt Murdock’s (Ben Affleck) secretary Karen Page, but it was deleted from the theatrical version of the film.
  • Before Grey’s Anatomy (2005), she auditioned for a television pilot called “Secret Service”. That show was not picked up by any television network.
  • She is the youngest of 6 – she has 5 siblings who are all at least 8 years older than her. One of them is Maureen Pompeo.
  • Suffers from asthma.
  • Her mother died when she was only 4 years old. Her father is Joseph Pompeo, a salesman.
  • Married to music producer Chris Ivery. After they started dating they learned that they both grew up in Boston, 10 miles from each other.
  • Had a part in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), which was deleted from the final cut.
  • Was approached to play the role of Becky in Clerks II (2006), but turned it down because she had just finished the pilot for Grey’s Anatomy (2005).
  • Was discovered while working at SoHo Bar & Grill in New York City.
  • Ellen’s paternal grandfather, Angelo Pompeo, was an Italian immigrant, born in Avellino. Ellen’s paternal grandmother was of English and Irish ancestry, and Ellen’s mother’s family is also Irish.
  • (November 9, 2007) Married her boyfriend of 4 years Chris Ivery in a civil ceremony in New York City. The only people in attendance were Mayor Michael Bloomberg and First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris, who served as witnesses to the ceremony.
  • Gave birth to her 1st child at age 39, a daughter Stella Luna Pompeo Ivery on September 15, 2009 in Los Angeles. Child’s father is her husband, Chris Ivery.
  • In August 2014, she welcomed her 2nd child, a daughter Sienna May Ivery with the help of a surrogate mother, with her husband Chris Ivery.
  • Ellen and Brooke Smith (Dr. Hahn, Grey’s Anatomy) starred in an episode of Law & Order together in 1996. Ellen played the teenage daughter of Smith’s characters client.
  • In terms of her very thin frame, Ellen has described herself as a “natural waif.” She does have a trainer three days a week to work on building muscle and endurance, and she eats very carefully during the week. However, she claims that she “pigs out” on the weekends, and her favorite splurges include pizza, lasagna, salami, and red wine.
  • Ellen’s first word as a baby was pepperoni.
  • Ellen did the voice over for a commercial for Propel Fitness Water.
  • Ellen’s beauty secrets include water, sleep, and just being happy.
  • Ellen once stated in Self magazine that she was (contrary to rumors) not suffering from an eating disorder. She also stated that she has a very fast metabolism, and must eat 3000 calories a day to maintain her weight, otherwise she could be hospitalized.
  • Ellen played a supporting role in the 1995 New York Film Academy silent short film Do You Have the Time? by director Pete Sprankle.
  • Ellen did the voice over for a PeoplePC commercial.
  • Ellen was introduced to her husband, Chris Ivery, at a Whole Foods Market store in Los Angeles.
  • Ellen has no preference between acting in TV and movies.
  • Ellen has been ‘punk’d’ (on the show of the same name). Even her boyfriend knew about it, and played along.
  • When Ellen was younger, she was self-conscious about telling people she had an interest in acting. This was because she hated the way some people reacted when she told them.
  • She hates when people want to take pictures of her on their camera phones, especially after a long day at work.
  • Although Ellen has been on Law & Order twice, she has played two completely different characters.
  • Ellen loves clothes and fashion. She describes it as her own little fun hobby.
  • Ellen wanted to be an archaeologist when she was young.
  • Although Ellen has a long list of TV credits, she doesn’t watch much television.
  • Ellen admits that she learns a lot from all the medical terminology she has to learn on Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Ellen’s boyfriend of three years, Chris Ivery proposed to her Friday, November 10, 2006. It was on her 37th birthday. They were married on November 9, 2007 at a ceremonial office at City Hall in New York.
  • Ellen was approached by an agent about acting in commercials while she was a bartender at the SoHo Bar & Grill, in 1996.
  • Quotes

    When I’m doing a big crying scene, I go to a really dark place inside me. I almost torture myself by drawing on the emotions of my past.

    It’s gross. We use real brains. I think they’re lamb or cow or something. Intestines smell. Brains don’t really smell, but what’s amazing about the brain is that it’s almost like scrambled eggs or soft tofu, almost like a gel. The brain controls so much of what we do, but you could put your finger right through it.

    (about fame) The trap is when you start to pay attention to that stuff and care, because in six months, they’re going to be looking at someone else. You know how fickle everyone is. They love it, then they hate it, then they love it. So I’m going to enjoy it because it could be over at any minute.

    (about the perks of her job) Several members of my family have been admitted to the hospital since the show started, and when they feel like the treatment isn’t good enough, they say, “Do you know who my niece is?” And suddenly they’re in the VIP area, getting pedicures in bed!

    It’s pretty remarkable how many people the show touches… I think we are very lucky in that way so, I love when the fans come up to us because they usually have really interesting stories. We are very grateful to the fans, we would have no show without them, you know? You could have the best writing in the world, and you could have the best acting in the world, but if the fans don’t tune in every week, there’s no show. So, I think we have them to be the most thankful for.

    (About CPR being done on her for Grey’s Anatomy) To make it look believable they really have to pump on your chest. And after a while, of course your heart does respond. So my heart, I had, kept having this, like, palpitations. It’s making me feel really strange to have people do CPR on me for hours and hours at the time. I don’t think it’s that great for you. So after the first day, I told Rob, who is directing the episodes, I said “You have to get me some sort of, you know, chest plate”. So they got this plastic chest plates. I think they used the ones from, that the girls used for Charlie’s Angels. They had 3 sort of busts and I think I got Demi’s, and I wore that, under all the blankets so when they were doing CPR on me I didn’t really have to feel the impact. So that made things a lot better for me.

    (On doing her own stunts)You never know, sort of, when they explain the stunt you say “Oh, that sounds really simple and I can do that, it’s no problem. I sort of figured that I was just going to fall back on a mat, you know and that it will look fine. But you feet have to disappear. And you know the guys who come and do the stunts, they know so much about it and they make you feel so safe. So it’s just fun, and you get to be on location and do something different.

    (About working with Kate Burton) My mother storyline you know, it’s so rich. And I have Kate Burton who’s extraordinary, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner…I already miss my scenes with her. Maybe I’ll go to heaven again and see her or something, you never know!

    (On working in a series) The thing about series television is that is very difficult the aspect of never knowing where your character is going or where she’ll end up. You know, we have no idea where the end of this is. Or what the end of each season is, for that matter. I guess it’s made me a more adaptable actor, you know you sort of have to be more creative.

    (About the engagement ring Chris Ivery gave her) He got it in Beverly Hills and spent his entire life savings, which I could kill him for. I was very mad about it. Some days I really love it, and some days I just want to sell it and give the money to charity.

    (About Meredith’s near death experience) One episode I could be completely happy and the next episode I’m trying to commit suicide. Of course it was a surprise and then I just had to figure out how Meredith got to that place and hope the audience would stay with me. I think what was frustrating was after that near-death experience when she had this revelation that Derek was a great guy and she wanted to live for him, then she comes back and everything goes back to normal. It didn’t seem to have taken me anywhere significantly, which is why I think the whole three-part ferry episode was just a distraction from what was going on with Isaiah and everything behind the scenes on our show at the time.

    I just worry about the girls who look up to me — I don’t want them to think I starve myself or don’t eat, and that to be like me that’s what they have to do.

    (On her more “steamy” scenes with Patrick) It’s awkward with Patrick because he’s like my brother. As soon as the camera is off, I’m like, “Is your hand on my butt?” But there are millions of girls who have been waiting for this, so I feel an obligation to the fans.

    I don’t find acting to be a particularly noble way to make a living. I’m not saving anybody’s life, I’m not a teacher, I’m not working for UNICEF. I don’t think I’m some big deal.

    (On tabloids attacking her for looking anorexic) Growing up, I was horribly self-conscious about how skinny I was. You think it’s never going to be as horrible as sixth, seventh, eighth grade when all the other girls are getting boobs. Now, all of a sudden, it’s back to people saying things to me again.

    (On her days as a cocktail waitress) I wouldn’t say I was a good drink maker, but I was a very good hustler. I’d abuse the customers, yell and scream at them and make them wait. If they put money down on the bar and it wasn’t enough, I’d go wait on someone else who was giving me enough money. If they put another five down and I made them wait longer, pretty soon there would be $20 on the bar. Then I’d come over and give them a drink.

    (On her wedding) I’m not gonna have a big wedding. It’s not even gonna be necessarily a big event or anything like that. Very private. Just something between Chris and I. We want to have one thing for ourselves. You know. We want to have fun. We have a goal of trying to keep our marriage a secret for 24 hours. We’re gonna try to keep that. That’s our goal.

    I was raised by drag queens, practically… My mother died when I was four-years-old, so I was effectively raised by a bunch of different people. A lot of those people were friends of my sister, Kathleen, who had all these gay friends. She would baby-sit me everyday, and she would take me over to her friend’s houses with all kinds of things going on: tucking, and eyebrow drawing, waxing, all sorts of things. I was literally raised by gay men.

    (Talking about Meredith and Derek in the Season 3 finale) I don’t think you need sadness to have drama. My boyfriend and I are very happy and we still manage to be dramatic every day.

    (On her first boyfriend) I didn’t have any confidence as a young girl, because all the other girls had breasts and hips. I was always thin, always called the stick or the pencil. I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 16, and he was eight years older. My father was furious about this 24-year-old, and I had to hide the relationship.

    (Talking about Grey’s Anatomy) Everyone keeps asking me if I’m nervous, I’m really not, you know I don’t really think about what’s going to happen with the show. I’m getting to act everyday and that’s really what I love and I’m so happy to be doing that, I’ll worry about what happens when it happens.

    (when asked what the similarities between her and Meredith have in common) She wasn’t much of a student, and that certainly was me. The fact that I’m convincing is a huge triumph for me because I’m not that [kind of] book person. I adore books but on my time and not in a classroom. I was very restless. I’m a gypsy at heart. As soon as I turned 18, I started traveling.

    (On her character Meredith Grey) She’s smart enough to make her way through medical school but she can’t figure out that she can’t sleep with strangers all the time.

    (joking about Patrick Dempsey) They force me to work with him. They offered me more money to put up with him, so I agreed.

    (about distracting her fiancé when she has a steamy scene air on Grey’s Anatomy) I thought I was being really clever in distracting him right at nine o’clock and I asked him if he could help me with the laundry so that he wouldn’t see that portion of the show. Then, 20 minutes later, he realized, ‘The show’s on and we’re not watching it.’ I said, ‘That’s OK, we can get to it.’ He said, ‘Oh well, I have it TiVo’d so we’re OK.’

    (About the cast of Grey’s Anatomy) The chemistry between the cast is very important. We’re a family and have respect for each other. And we have fun, which comes across.

    I don’t need dinner in a room with candles to feel romantic. I feel romantic waking up in the morning and looking at my boyfriend.

    I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until I was 15, so I would put it on at school.