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Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo as Derek and Meredith on Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey spent a decade together as one of TV's most iconic duos: Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd. When Dempsey decided to leave the show after Season 11, fans were devastated. But what about Pompeo? The current Grey's lead was recently asked if she and Dempsey were still friends. Here's her answer:

We haven't spoken since he's left the show. I have no hard feelings toward him. He's a wonderful actor, and we made the best TV you can make together.

Hmm... Patrick Dempsey's final episode of Grey's Anatomy aired in May 2015. So they haven't spoken in over three years. Ellen Pompeo only spoke briefly about Grey's during her Red Table Talk interview, but other than admitting they're not exactly BFFs, her response on Patrick Dempsey was filled with nothing but respect and praise. And it sounds like she completely understands why he left:

That's a talented man right there. He did 11 amazing years. Typically, when people leave the show, they need to sort of re-find themselves, who they are without the show, because the show takes up so much of your life. You need that time to figure out who you are without the show, so, we have not spoken, but I will always have a place in my heart for Patrick.

It was Patrick Dempsey's own choice to leave the show, and he even said that he probably should've moved on a few years earlier. But Grey's Anatomy fans were not happy that Derek Shepherd was killed off. Creator Shonda Rhimes defended the decision as the best way to preserve the Mer-Der love story.

Some fans still want Meredith and Derek to be together so much that they go to pretty extreme lengths. Like bringing up Meredith Grey on Patrick Dempsey's Instagram photos with his wife, and lashing out at the current Grey's Anatomy co-showrunner for the Season 15 storyline trying to give Meredith a new romance.

Of course, Patrick Dempsey is not the only star to leave Grey's Anatomy after a long tenure. The show does 24 episodes of hour-long TV a year, with lots of medical jargon in the studio. It must get tiring, with an itch to try something new. Sandra Oh is now enjoying the fruits of her departure -- she was nominated for an Emmy for her new show Killing Eve, and she was recently announced to be co-hosting the Golden Globe Awards.

But fans do miss her Cristina Yang, and hope the character (who was not killed off) returns at some point, even if it's just for the Grey's Anatomy series finale. After all, Cristina is Meredith's "person."

Since he moved on from Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey has been busy with films like Bridget Jones's Baby and his return to TV in The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

Meanwhile, Ellen Pompeo is still going strong on Grey's Anatomy, with a lucrative contract through Season 16 making her the highest-paid TV drama actress. Grey's is still enjoying high ratings, even after several seasons without Patrick Dempsey. Grey's briefly gave Meredith a post-Derek romance with Nathan Riggs, but now she's basically being romanced by three different guys. She has many options in 2019 when Season 15 continues.

Grey's Anatomy Season 15 returns to ABC in January. Here's what else is on the 2019 midseason schedule.

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