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As Law & Order Fans' Bensler Obsession Grows, Patrick Dempsey Talks Grey’s Anatomy Fans Wishing He Was Married To Ellen Pompeo

Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

When TV viewers fall in love with a couple on-screen, it’s hard to not want that relationship to continue once the cameras stop rolling. We get so caught up in the moment that it’s an offense to our hearts to imagine a director yelling, “Cut!” and those two people going their separate ways. Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay proved that at the Emmy Awards, treating Law & Order fans to multiple adorable moments as the famous non-couple Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler. Grey’s Anatomy alum Patrick Dempsey has experienced this phenomenon as well, and he discussed fans wishing he was married to Ellen Pompeo in real life.

Unlike Law & Order’s Bensler, however, Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd — a.k.a. MerDer — were married on the ABC medical drama, until McDreamy’s life came to an untimely end in Season 11. Even now, seven years after Dempsey exited the series via one of Grey’s Anatomy’s most shocking deaths, the actor knows why audiences connected with the couple. He told People

It has always been a really special relationship Ellen and I have had together in front of the screen and behind it as well. I think a lot of the success of the show was because of the chemistry and the relationship and people want to believe in love and all of that. I meet people around the world who were wishing we were actually together, but she's got Christopher [Ivery] and I have [my wife] Jillian [Fink] and they are incredible people.

Oh, those pesky real-life spouses really do get in the way, don’t they? I’m just joking, of course, because I would never wish ill will on the real relationships between Dempsey and Jillian Fink — who have been married since 1999 and share three children — and Pompeo and Chris Ivery — who wed in 2007 and also have a trio of little ones.

While Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni seem to be trolling fans with their almost-kisses, there’s probably even less hope for more MerDer romance in the future. Dempsey did make a surprise return to Grey’s Anatomy in Season 17, with McDreamy joining Meredith in her COVID-induced beach hallucinations. But with Meredith rejoining the land of the living, Derek is likely to remain in the big operating room in the sky.

Pompeo, meanwhile, will be back when Grey’s Anatomy returns for Season 19 — albeit in a reduced role, as Meredith will only appear in eight episodes this season. Let’s see what’s in store come October 6: 

It appears six months have passed since the disarray we saw at the end of Grey’s Anatomy’s Season 18. A new class of interns will greet us this season, and Miranda Bailey is back from her retirement — though in what capacity we’ll have to wait and see. I also loved seeing Levi Schmitt, formerly known as “Glasses,” warning the residents to not drop anything inside a patient. From the looks of it, there will be trauma, love, hookups, and more, and I can’t wait. 

Season 19 premieres Thursday, October 6 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Be sure to keep up with our 2022 TV Schedule to avoid missing any fall premieres.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.