Fans Thought They Knew When Ellen Pompeo Was Leaving Grey's Anatomy. Turns Out, They Were Wrong

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

After 19 seasons, Ellen Pompeo is getting ready to hang up her scrubs and say goodbye to being a regular at Grey Sloan Memorial, as she’s set to exit Grey’s Anatomy when the series comes back from winter hiatus. Some fans were convinced by the midseason premiere promo that they would never see Meredith Grey again. However, Pompeo is reiterating to fans in the new year that she's not saying goodbye forever. 

Ellen Pompeo reduced the number of episodes she was going to appear in for Season 19 of the ABC medical drama before it was revealed that she would actually be leaving the show. With Meredith taking a job in Boston, she’s bidding her Seattle colleagues adieu, and fans who weren't keeping up on all the news about the medical drama seemed to think it was time to say a forever farewell. 

However, Pompeo herself told TV Insider back in the fall that she'd be back for the Season 19 finale. Now, in the new year ahead of the winter premiere, she reiterated to ET that when Grey’s returns, viewers won’t have to say goodbye to Meredith for good. It's more like a see you later, as she said:

For the record, it's not really my final. It's a little bit of a trick they're playing on people.

Of course, it's unknown at this point what will bring Meredith back to the halls of Grey Sloan when she returns, but at least fans can take comfort in the fact that Ellen Pompeo is still slated to appear in that episode. A lot can happen between the winter premiere and the season finale!

Whether her role in the finale will be substantial or as simple as a FaceTime call to one of the friends she left behind, it will be some time before fans see Meredith Grey again after the winter premiere. Pompeo didn't drop details, but did confirm that fans shouldn't expect some surprise cameos in the weeks after her departure: 

It is my final episode for a while.

It’s going to be weird to watch Grey’s Anatomy without the Meredith Grey, but Kate Walsh is making sure fans still watch Grey’s because there are a lot of stories left to tell about the doctors at Grey Sloan. While she has left the hospital more than once over the years, it was never with this sense of finality, so only time will tell how the show moves on in her absence. After all, the fall finale quite literally burned her place in Seattle to the ground!

Ellen Pompeo’s future on Grey’s Anatomy has been in question for a few years now, as rumors were consistently swirling about whether the medical drama would be ending and how long Pompeo would want to keep doing the show. That time did come, as the actress decided to reduce her role on Grey's this season, and take on some different projects, one of which is a new limited series that will see Pompeo as the star and executive producer. 

So even though Pompeo will no longer be on Grey’s Anatomy on a regular basis, she's keeping busy in the industry, and she's not 100% finished playing Meredith. Don't miss the actress' last episode before the Season 19 finale when Grey’s Anatomy returns on Thursday, February 23 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC! Also, check out CinemaBlend’s 2023 TV schedule to see what else is coming out.

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.