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Grey's Anatomy's Miranda Bailey Is Partially Based On Shonda Rhimes' Mother

"Grey's Anatomy" wouldn't be the same without Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson). In the earlier seasons of the show, Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and the other interns look to Bailey as their mentor, and she guides them with a firm hand and more than a little sass. Time and time again, she's demonstrated her ability to connect with patients, as well as her expertise in the operating room. When other doctors are getting caught up in love affairs, helping patients is Bailey's top priority. She's obviously had a huge impact on Meredith, who named her son after Bailey. 

Bailey is incredibly down-to-earth and level-headed, so it's not surprising to learn that series creator Shonda Rhimes was inspired by someone close to her when creating the character. When Rhimes was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for the December 2006 issue of The Oprah Magazine, the showrunner revealed that Bailey is partially based on her mother.

"She's very no-nonsense," Rhimes told Winfrey. "Dr. Bailey says stuff like 'These people are nasty — all they think about is sex while we're trying to save lives here.' My mother is definitely that kind of realist."

While Bailey is one of the hospital's most logical doctors, that doesn't mean she's immune to drama. Chandra Wilson likes that the show explores the different sides of Bailey's personality, and the nuances of the character are not lost on her.

Chandra Wilson appreciates that Miranda Bailey a layered character

Only three "Grey's Anatomy" stars have stuck around since Season 1 and Chandra Wilson is one of them. After playing Dr. Miranda Bailey for 19 seasons and counting, it makes sense that Wilson has a firm grasp on what drives her character. Bailey is a devoted mother who loves her family dearly, so she often struggles to balance her responsibilities. Her main focus is helping her patients, although she's had to fight tooth and nail to be respected, so she doesn't take kindly to other doctors questioning her judgment. During a 2013 interview with BuddyTV, Wilson touched on how Bailey's confidence can be a double-edged sword.

"You know, I think a strength and a weakness for her is her ego. The strength part is great because it really does make her a really good physician. She's really good at her job and she continues to evolve and she continues to look at ways to be 'value added' at the hospital and is incredibly independent," Wilson said. "That independence has certainly gotten in the way of her personal relationships. It's gotten in the way of her being a team player on many occasions."

Bailey has grown and changed a lot over the years, but her storyline is far from over. Chandra Wilson is challenging herself to stick with "Grey's Anatomy" until the show ends, so fans don't have to worry about Bailey leaving Grey Sloan Memorial anytime soon.