Major Grey's Anatomy Rumor Says Jerrika Hinton's Exit May Have Had To Do With Ellen Pompeo

Jerrika Hinton as Dr. Stephanie Edwards in Grey's Anatomy.

Another day, another Grey’s Anatomy rumor. Thanks to the new tell-all book, How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy, tea is getting spilled every which way regarding the long-running ABC medical drama. Following reports about Patrick Dempsey and Katherine Heigl, fans can now chew on what is supposedly the "real" reason why Jerrika Hinton departed from Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Stephanie Edwards after just five years. And would it surprise anyone to know it allegedly had something to do with Ellen Pompeo?

Within the unauthorized tell-all How to Save a Life (via Insider), the claim was made that Jerrika Hinton was “asked to leave” Grey’s Anatomy after she took Polaroids on the set without Ellen Pompeo’s awareness or permission. While it seems a little dramatic to be asked to leave after simply snapping some shots, some TV shows are very strict when it comes to taking and posting photos from the set, and often for obvious reasons. It wouldn't be surprising to learn Grey’s Anatomy producers are strict about that sort of thing, considering all of the spoilers there are, and it's apparently widely known among cast and crew members that Pompeo is a watchdog.

Here's how a former head of Grey’s Anatomy makeup department shared her feelings about the situation in How to Save a Life:

[Jerrika] hadn't been around a lot, so maybe she didn't quite understand the power Ellen had. If she'd gone and said, 'Is it okay if I take these Polaroids?' Ellen probably would have gone, 'Okay.' But by just doing it and not including her, you're setting yourself up for disaster.

Since it is just a rumor, it's obviously not known if this was 100% a factor that led into why Jerrika Hinton ended up leaving the series so early on, despite her character having shown a lot of promise and growth. Following her departure in 2017, Hinton reflected on her time on the series and stated then that the conversation about her exit happened with producers a year prior, and that it was “very open and straightforward” and she went so far as to call it extremely gratifying. So it certainly seemed at the time like Hinton left the series on good terms, but it’s also possible that was only for show.

It’s been over four years since Jerrika Hinton exited Grey’s Anatomy, so one can only hope that even if she did leave on bad terms that things are better now for all involved. And one might wonder if she could come back in some capacity, similar to what so many previous cast members have been doing. In 2020, Hinton told CinemaBlend that “it depends” on the story and how it would be formatted. Which makes sense, considering the fiery and heroic ending that Stephanie dealt with in the Season 13 finale when she set a rapist on fire and saved a little kid. It’s hard to tell just how Stephanie could come back, but if Addison Montgomery and McDreamy himself could come back, then basically anything can happen. Season 18, perhaps?

Speaking of Season 18 comebacks, Grey’s Anatomy finally returns to ABC this Thursday, September 30 at 8 p.m. EST, with Kate Walsh and Kate Burton set to return as Addison Montgomery and Ellis Grey, respectively, and it’s definitely a possibility that more could turn up throughout the season. Will Jerrika Hinton be included (assuming she leaves her Polaroid cameras at home)? We can only hope. Now check out all the other shows hitting the 2021 Fall TV schedule!

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.