Ellen Pompeo’s money moves are continuing into season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy, keeping the actress among the highest-paid stars on television, period. (With $20 million a year, bonuses, and a producer’s credit? The Big Bang Theory cast is shaking.) And Pompeo wouldn’t want it any other way, especially when the monthly deposits hit her bank account. In a new interview on Spotify’s Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast, Pompeo admitted that she isn’t looking for creative fulfillment anymore and that the driving factor for her to stay is an exorbitant salary. “I made a decision to make money and not chase creative acting roles,” she explained. “I don’t like chasing anything ever, and acting to me, in my experience, was a lot of chasing. You’ve got to chase roles, you’ve got to beg for roles, you’ve got to convince people … I’m never that thirsty, because I’m financially set.” Pompeo, who is 50, mentioned her husband and three young children, noting that “my age had a lot to do with” her Grey’s tenure.
“I made choices to stay on the show. For me personally, a healthy home life was more important than career,” Pompeo said. “At my age and where my life is, I just try to lean into it. I’m not trying to run away from anything. It is who I am. I made my choices, and I’m cool with it.” In 2018, Pompeo signed her new, glitzy $20 million contract with Grey’s Anatomy, declaring that “I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m okay asking for what I deserve.” She had to defend her salary in the ensuing months, however, especially as it was often insinuated in the media that two long-standing cast members, Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew, had been written out of the show to accommodate Pompeo’s bump in pay. “I’m glad I did, and I’m really glad that it was received in the way that it was received,” Pompeo said about her salary later that year. “But we still have a really long way to go with respect to women supporting women. It’s still more challenging to get women to support you when you’re actually on top and doing fantastic.”