Ellen Pompeo says she's not done with playing "Meredith Grey" quite yet, but she knows when she wants to leave Grey's Anatomy! The actress recently made a guest appearance on Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert, where she opened up about how long she wants to stay on ABC's hit medical drama.

Pompeo doesn't like seeing herself age onscreen

Pompeo has been playing "Meredith" on Grey's Anatomy since it began in 2005, and said she doesn't love seeing herself age on television! "I do not want to be the grapes dying on the vine. Already to watch myself age from 33 to 50 now onscreen, that's not so fun," Pompeo explained. "Because you really see it because I'm in the same clothes, I'm in the same character. The way I see myself aging, that's a motherf**ker."

However, the actress shared that she's determined to stay real. "But at the same time, I think the overall goal of my life is to always keep my ego in check. I don't want to tell myself lies," Pompeo continued. "I don't lie about my age. I don't put anything in my face. I don't want to tell myself any lies. I'm not doing myself any favors." 

Pompeo talks leaving Grey's while it's "still on top"

Pompeo went on to reveal that she ultimately hopes to make her exit from Grey's Anatomy while people still love the show. "But certainly I think to dip out sooner rather than later, at this point, having done what we've done, to leave when the show is still on top, is definitely a goal," she shared. 

"I'm not trying to stay on the show forever. No way," Pompeo said. "The truth is, if I get too aggravated and I'm no longer grateful there, I should not be there." As Entertainment Tonight mentions, Pompeo is also a producer on Grey's Anatomy, which gives her more input in the show. "The not getting bored and phoning it in, it's a marathon, not a sprint," she explained.

"You've got to know when you can slow down and when you can speed up. I just try and check myself all the time. Being engaged in the story and having some control over my storyline and talking about things that I think are interesting is kind of what helps."

Pompeo calls the show "an important platform"

Pompeo said that a big reason she's stayed with Grey's Anatomy is that the show's popularity allows for a unique opportunity to address topical issues. "What at this juncture keeps me going is because the show is such a monster," she explained, "we have this enormous platform and we have some sort of leeway to talk about human trafficking, to talk about sexual assault, to talk about big pharma."

"So if we can impart some ideas, I think it's an important platform," Pompeo said of the show. "So I try to stay in a place of gratitude." During the same podcast interview, Pompeo also shared how her co-stars Patrick Dempsey and Sandra Oh's exits from Grey's Anatomy have impacted her!

Season 17 of Grey's Anatomy is in pre-production right now, and it's already been revealed that there will be a time jump. Also, there's plans for the show to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Time will only tell what's in store for "Meredith Grey" and the rest of the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, but we're glad to hear that Pompeo will be sticking around for a while!

The cast of 'Grey's Anatomy'


Who has NOT been with the show from season 1 to today?