‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Star Ellen Pompeo Was ‘Horrified’ by Meredith Grey’s Iconic Monologue: ‘I Can’t Believe I’m on TV Begging a Man to Love Me’

After 18 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo has plenty of memorable moments as Dr. Meredith Grey. However, one that still stands out in fans’ minds is her monologue to Derek Sheperd (Patrick Dempsey) back in season 2. Although so many fans ship the two characters with one another, the Grey’s Anatomy star admitted she was “horrified” by Meredith’s “Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me” speech. She even cried real tears over it — but not because the words resonated with her.

Ellen Pompeo was ‘horrified’ by Meredith Grey’s begging

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in 'Grey's Anatomy.' Her hair is in a ponytail and she's wearing a white jacket.
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Ellen Pompeo | Richard Cartwright/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Meredith Grey and Derek Sheperd have become an iconic pairing among Grey’s Anatomy fans, especially given their unconventional marriage and tragic ending. However, the characters started off on a rocky foot — mostly because Derek dates her while he’s still married. And Grey’s Anatomy Season 2 Episode 5 sees Meredith fighting for their relationship. Only, her “Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me” monologue can also come off as begging.

That’s how Ellen Pompeo felt when she first read the script for the scene. During an episode of her Tell Me podcast, the actor recalled her initial response to the lines.

“When I read that scene, I was horrified,” Pompeo remembered. “I was like, ‘I’m going to beg a man?'” 

Because of that, Pompeo didn’t even want to film the moment between the characters. Of course, she went through with it anyway, and it actually led to some waterworks on her part.

The ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star cried real tears during her ‘Love Me’ speech

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Pompeo’s horror at Meredith Grey’s last-ditch attempt to save her relationship with Derek didn’t stop after reading the script. In fact, Pompeo went on to say that she cried actual tears while filming. And no, the waterworks didn’t stem from the content itself. She was asked to cry, and she was upset that her character was resorting to such tactics for Derek’s affection. Ironically, her personal feelings about the whole thing improved upon what was written.

“What’s funny about that scene is, I’m bawling my eyes out,” Pompeo said. “But I’m bawling, not for the reasons in the scene, I’m bawling because I was like, ‘I can’t believe that I’m on TV begging a man to love me.'”

In hindsight, Pompeo marvels at how popular the scene has become. Fortunately, some viewers are questioning whether Meredith and Derek’s big moment paints a healthy picture for young women — including Pompeo’s own daughter.

Ellen Pompeo’s daughter questioned Meredith’s behavior

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Funnily enough, Pompeo’s 12-year-old daughter came across her iconic Grey’s Anatomy speech on her own — and reinforced the actor’s feelings about Meredith Grey’s behavior. On her podcast, the Grey’s star recalled having to answer her daughter’s questions about her monologue:

“My daughter was like, ‘Mom, why did you beg a man to love you?’ And I was like, ‘Well, praise Jesus that she’s asking me this question and that her head is already in the right space at 12. But what do I say?’ And then I was like, ‘I didn’t write that. I didn’t want to do it.'”

If nothing else, that reaction proves that scenes like Meredith’s monologue are started to feel outdated to younger generations. Of course, had it not happened, Grey’s fans wouldn’t have one of their favorite moments from the medical drama. But clearly, Pompeo was onto something when she responded the way she did.