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Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd were the premiere couple of  Grey’s Anatomy up until Derek died. They were such “goals” that fans often hoped that the actors who played them, Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey, had something going on as well. Unfortunately, both Pompeo and Dempsey were married but that doesn’t mean that Pompeo didn’t enjoy kissing Dempsey.

Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo
Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo | Albert L. Ortega/WireImage

Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd weren’t supposed to be together

Though Meredith and Derek ended up being the main couple on the show, the characters actually weren’t originally meant to be together. In a 2013 interview with the New York Post, Pompeo revealed that her character was actually supposed to be with Dr. Preston Burke.

“You know they wanted Isaiah Washington (Preston) to be my boyfriend,” Pompeo said. “Shonda really wanted to put a black man in the mix. I didn’t think they were really going to put an interracial couple on the show and I didn’t want him. It was too close to home.”

It was Pompeo who suggested Dempsey.

“I said I wanted that Dempsey kid. I think that once Isaiah did not get the role it backfired,” she said.

Ellen Pompeo thinks Patrick Dempsey is a good kisser

Though Pompeo and Dempsey never had a real life romance, Pompeo did hint to Dempsey being a good kisser.

When Andy Cohen asked Pompeo to pick between McDreamy or McSteamy in an old interview, she picked her on-screen husband McDreamy.

When asked who was the better kisser, Dempsey or Chris O’ Donnell, who played Finn Dandridge in seasons 2 and 3 of the show, she picked Dempsey again. Of course, Cohen asked what made Dempsey the better kisser to which Pompeo responded, “we don’t have that much time.”

Meredith and Derek’s breakup

Meredith and Derek never broke up, unfortunately, their end was much more tragic. Derek was killed off.

“The decision to have the character die the way that he did was not a difficult one in the sense of what were the options?” show creator Shonda Rhimes said at the 2015 Summer TCA press tour. “Either Derek was going to walk out on Meredith, and leave her high and dry, and what was that going to mean? That was going to suggest that the love was not true, the thing we had said for 11 years was a lie and McDreamy wasn’t McDreamy. For me, that was untenable.”


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Dempsey wanted to leave the show, but Rhimes couldn’t let that happen without perserving the MerDer love story.

“Meredith and Derek’s love had to remain Meredith and Derek’s love,” Rhimes said. “As painful as it was for me as a storyteller, because I had never really thought that was going to happen, it preserved what felt true to me, was that Derek was going to have to die in order for that love to remain honest. Because I really couldn’t have the idea that he just turned out to be a bad guy who walked out on his wife and kids be a true story. To me, it felt like that was the only way to make Meredith and Derek’s magic remain true and forever frozen in time.”