Ellen Pompeo

Ellen Kathleen Pompeo is an actress, director, and producer.

She is best known for her portrayal of the title character Dr. Meredith Grey in ABC’s popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.

The role on the long running series earned her a Golden Globe nomination, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Special Achievement in Entertaining by the National Italian American Foundation.

The character became widely popular, making Pompeo one of the most renowned television actresses.

  • Born: 19 November 1969, Everett, Massachusetts, US
  • Full name: Ellen Kathleen Pempeo
  • Height: 5′ 6″ (1.68m)
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Early life

Ellen Kathleen Pompeo was born in Everett, Massachusetts, on November 10, 1969, the daughter of Joseph Pompeo and Kathleen Pompeo.

Her father was of Italian, English, and Irish descent, while her mother was of Irish ancestry. She was raised as a Catholic.

Her mother died of a painkiller overdose when Ellen was five, and her father remarried soon after; he died on September 1, 2012.

In 2006, Pompeo said, “I think having my mother die at such a very young age – when she was 33 – I appreciate life so much.”

She has five older siblings: three sisters (Maureen, Kathleen and Suzanne) and two brothers (Joey and Dean).

She was nicknamed “the pencil”, and “stracciatella” (gelato flavor).

Pompeo worked as a barmaid in Miami when she started dating her then boyfriend. Together, they moved to New York City in 1995 where she was approached by a casting director to appear in various ads for Citibank and L’Oreal.

Personal life

Pompeo met Chris Ivery in a Los Angeles grocery store in 2003. They began dating after 6 months of friendship and got married in 2007, with the New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as the legal witness to the ceremony.

Their first child, a daughter, was born in 2009. In 2014, a second daughter was born with the help of a gestational surrogate. In 2016, she announced the birth of a third child, a son.

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Pompeo heavily criticized media reports suggesting that she suffered from an eating disorder, calling the media irresponsible for promoting such rumours.

In a 2007 issue of Los Angeles Confidential Magazine, she said that she was worried about the young girls who look up to her: “I don’t want them to think I starve myself or don’t eat, and that to be like me that’s what they have to do.”


Pompeo made her major studio screen debut in Brad Silberling’s Moonlight Mile (2002), starring alongside Susan Sarandon, Dustin Hoffman and Jake Gyllenhaal. She received outstanding reviews for her portrayal of an outspoken young woman carrying a silent burden that’s breaking her heart.

Pompeo starred opposite Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell in the wildly successful Old School (2003) and, before that, in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can (2002), opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.

Pompeo has starred in several independent features, including In the Weeds (2000) and Coming Soon (1999), and Life of the Party (2005).

Since 2005, she has played Dr. Meredith Grey on the television series Grey’s Anatomy (2005).