Ellen Pompeo Speaks Out On 'Toxic Environment' On 'Grey's Anatomy'

The actress got candid about her first 10 years on the series, saying there were “many moments” she wanted to quit.

She's criticised the pay disparity between men and women in Hollywood and now Ellen Pompeo has spoken out about changing the previously "toxic work environment" on the set of 'Grey's Anatomy'.

Speaking to Empire's Taraji P. Henson for Variety‘s latest Actors on Actors chat, the star detailed the first ten years of her career on the medical drama, saying it had "serious culture issues".

“It’s funny: I never wanted off the bus in the year that I could get off,” she said, adding, “The first 10 years we had serious culture issues, very bad behaviour, really toxic work environment. But once I started having kids, it became no longer about me. I need to provide for my family.”

READ MORE: Ellen Pompeo Hinted Grey's Anatomy Could End In 2020

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She continued, “At 40 years old, where am I ever going to get this kind of money? I need to take care of my kids. But after season 10, we had some big shifts in front of the camera, behind the camera.”

She added that she made a point to instigate change in her workplace, adding that it's currently a far better culture on set.

“It became my goal to have an experience there that I could be happy and proud about because we had so much turmoil for 10 years,” she said. “My mission became, this can’t be fantastic to the public and a disaster behind the scenes.”

“I now have three kids. And we turned the culture around,” she continued. “I’ve hit some marks that have made me feel accomplished in a different way. [Creator] Shonda Rhimes has been amazing. She lets us be mothers. I don’t have to travel. I don’t have to go anywhere.”

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In the past, Pompeo has been vocal about Hollywood's pay gap, previously revealing that former castmate Patrick Dempsey was making “almost double” her salary at the beginning of the series. Last year, however, she revealed that she had negotiated for an annual paycheck of $20 million, making her one of the highest-paid stars on television.

“My husband says, ‘Closed mouths don’t get fed,’ ” she said. “But if you have to walk, don’t be a victim. If you don’t get what you want, put your big-girl panties on …You can know your worth, but if they don’t know it, you can’t cry.”

Image: Getty