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Ellen Pompeo Had No Interest In Grey's Anatomy When She Booked The Pilot

Coming up as a struggling performer, you wouldn't believe some of the things you'll do for money — performance art, film school projects, optimistically joining an improv troupe because you think it'll really take you places. But "Grey's Anatomy" star Ellen Pompeo did something even more unthinkable: She did "Grey's Anatomy."

But first, some history. In the years leading up to the premiere of "Grey's Anatomy," still America's favorite show about Jeffrey Dean Morgan turning into a sex ghost, Pompeo was doing what lots of actors do: pretty much whatever came her way. An episode of "Friends," a bit part in "Catch Me If You Can," playing the lady that doesn't kick anyone in the Ben Affleck version of "Daredevil." But nothing was sticking, not in the way that you hope it will, and the young thespian found herself forced to consider something deeply uncool when her agent called and put it all out on the table: Pompeo could, if she really felt like biting the bullet, try to get a job that would last for years and provide her with a steady income. Gross.

Ellen Pompeo braved boredom for big bucks

The needle started to tip toward pragmatic career choices around the time that Ellen Pompeo was removed from the final cut of "a bunch of movies," the actress told CBS Sunday Morning in a recent interview. "So then it came to a point where, then I needed money, so I did the 'Grey's' pilot."

She continued: "I said, you know what? I don't want to be stuck on a medical show for six years. I don't think I'll be happy, I think I'll be bored." She then remembered being reassured by her agent, who promised her that it was just a job, and what's more? These sorts of shows never last. It would be silly to pour any anxiety into what would definitely amount to fat nothing.

Luckily for Pompeo, her fears were never realized, and she didn't have to do a medical show for six years. She did it for closer to 20, and after a series of shockingly massive paychecks, wound up one of the best-paid actors in history. What a drag.