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Grey's Anatomy Star Ellen Pompeo Already Knows She'd Be THAT Mom If Her Kids Follow Her Into Acting

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

Being a professional actor is not for the faint of heart. Ellen Pompeo may have struck gold on Grey’s Anatomy — playing the role of Meredith Grey for 18 seasons and counting, even if she’s only seen a few episodes herself — but her success didn’t come without hard work and heartbreak. It’s a topic she’s been open about on her podcast Tell Me — and one she’d rather keep her three children away from learning about first-hand. If the acting bug does eventually bite them, however, and they want to follow their mom’s footsteps into show business, Pompeo already knows without a doubt that she’d be the “most annoying” mom on set.

Ellen Pompeo shares three children with Chris Ivery — two daughters (who are 12 and 7) and a 5-year-old son. When talking to Lindsay Peoples Wagner on Tell Me (opens in new tab), Pompeo didn’t seem thrilled with the idea of her kids becoming actors. She said she’d never tell them no if it seemed like something they genuinely had passion for, but such a scenario would require her to go “complete stage mom”:

If you have children, you can’t leave their side for a second. You have to be a complete stage mom or dad, and you have to stay with them every minute. The little girl who plays my daughter on Grey’s is a fantastic little girl, she’s so smart, and her mom is literally right there, right off stage every second, every day that she films, and she’s watching over her like a hawk. That girl is never gonna be in any situation where her mother doesn’t know exactly what’s happening. And I think that’s the way to do it.

Ellen Pompeo, who has renewed her contract to return for a 19th season of Grey’s Anatomy, is clearly just concerned for her children’s well-being in an industry that hasn't always been known for children seen as priorities. I wouldn’t consider that a terrible trait to have when being a stage mom, at least not as a guiding principle. 

It sounds like Ellen Pompeo’s TV daughter (Meredith, like the actress who portrays her, has two daughters and one son) has an on-set mother who’s very involved, and that’s how the star would want it to be for her kids. Also, because of the criticism and judgment that actors face, she would prefer they also wait until they’re a little older to pursue a professional career.

If my children really wanted to go into it, I would just set those parameters. You can practice and study, and then when you’re 16 or 18 and you want to try it professionally, see how it goes, if you can handle the criticism. Can you handle heartbreak day after day? Because if you can’t handle heartbreak, then, you know, maybe you should rethink it. But I would definitely be the most annoying person, the most annoying mother ever and just be beside them every step of the way.

I’m sure there are times when stage parents overstep their boundaries or aren’t acting in the child’s best interest — it's not hard to find such horror stories if one is so determined — but would that be the case with Ellen Pompeo? The descriptor "most annoying" isn't one that you'd find on any Best Stage Mom trophies anywhere, but there's a big difference between being over-protective about a child's safety, and behaving as if the child is the only thing on set that should matter to anyone. But considering Pompeo has likely seen both sides of that spectrum, she'd know which side of the line to fall on.

Pompeo has spoken about her on-set struggles and staying motivated after so many years, so she’s definitely not going to be pushing her children into show business against their will. She’s also been around enough child actors in her time on ABC’s hit medical show to know what kind of protection kids need on set.

We probably won’t be seeing the Pompeo children in front of the camera anytime soon, but Meredith Grey just introduced her kids to her increasingly serious boyfriend Nick Marsh, so we’ll have to tune in to see how that little family continues to come together. Grey’s Anatomy airs at 9 p.m. ET Thursdays on NBC. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what premieres are coming soon.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.