15 Behind-The-Scenes Drama From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

In: Pop Culture
15 Behind-The-Scenes Drama From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

The Grey’s Anatomy cast has managed to avoid drama for the most part, which is pretty impressive, considering how long the show has been on. But behind the scenes issues have certainly cropped up. Actors have bad mouthed the show, rumors have circulated about certain cast members, and some stars of the show have managed to kick up some drama of their very own. Some might be familiar with a few of the dramatic stories below, but some of them might surprise fans. I was surprised to learn that Jesse Williams, who plays Jackson Avery, has nearly as much drama in his own life than the character he plays on TV. I know we’re all dying for a new season of Grey’s, so sit back, relax, and enjoy reading the drama below while we wait for our fav hospital drama to return in the fall.

15. Fight On Set


THEY LOOK LIKE BABIES! Yet, underneath there’s something sinister brewing. Isaiah Washington ends up hurling homophobic slurs, Katherine Heigl bad mouths the show that shot her to fame, and Patrick Dempsey….gets in a fight!? Yep. That’s correct. It turns out that Dempsey and Washington actually had a physical fight on the set of the show and it wasn’t for the cameras. The apparent reason for the violent fight was because someone showed up late. I’m not sure who, but my money is on Dempsey. Washington apparently said some terrible things (possibly homophobic slurs!?) but in the end, no one was physically maimed. Thank goodness for that since no one on set is an actual doctor. Currently, neither actor is part of the show anymore. Good riddance!

14. Jesse Williams Cheating Rumors

Who knew that Jesse Williams attracts almost more drama IRL than his character Jackson Avery does on Grey’s Anatomy? Turns out he’s often found himself the center of all sorts of controversy. You’ll actually see his name a few times on this list. From a messy divorce to petitions to get him fired. *gasp* He actually spoke about the rumors regarding his alleged philandering in a mini-doc for Jay-Z’s new album. The documentary features a number of male celebs who talk about their relationships and experiences with the opposite sex. I don’t know whether the rumors about Williams are true, but what I do know is that I want, no, I NEED JAPRIL to be a thing again. That’s if Jackson Avery sticks around long enough…

13. Kill Em’ All!


This is a smaller bit of drama that was probably totally blown out of proportion by the media, but I choose to believe that Shonda definitely offed Derek Shepherd because she couldn’t stand Patrick Dempsey. I only believe that because I couldn’t stand the Derek Shepherd character. But there were rumors floating around at one point that Shonda would kill off characters just because she wasn’t super tight with the actors. And that’s putting it politely. So far, if that’s her strategy, I’m mostly fine with it. The rumor could technically also be referring to her decisions to kill off other ShondaLand show characters, but Grey’s Anatomy has probably had the biggest share of axed characters. I’m going to bet that Chyler Leigh’s character, Lexie, was killed because of backstage drama, though.

12. Declining An Emmy

I’d love to know what the heck was going on in Katherine Heigl’s head when she declined an Emmy nod for her role in Grey’s Anatomy. Who does that? Apparently Heigl. Her apparent reason for doing such a thing at the time was “she was not given good enough material to work with.” Yikes. That’s kind of a slap in the face for Shonda and the writers. Heigl eventually left the series, presumably with the intent to become a movie star. Little did she know that Grey’s would still be airing new episodes in 2017.

It’s also interesting that Shonda Rhimes decided not to kill the Izzie Stevens character off. Even though she was a character that seemed on the verge of dying, some room was left to bring her back later on. We never got closure but maybe we will soon?

11. Ellen Pompeo Twitter Backlash

Drama, drama, drama! Surprisingly, Ellen Pompeo, who has been the star of Grey’s Anatomy since the beginning hasn’t run into too much trouble behind the scenes. Of course, this particular incident happened on Twitter. The place some people call, the garbage can of the Internet. So what did Pompeo do that was so awful? She was tweeting about A&E’s decision to change the name of its controversial show about the KKK. The show has since been canceled, by the way. Pompeo’s decision to use two black emojis elicited a pretty negative response from Twitter users. Her response was what really put people over the edge: “[b]ut sad to see racism is still alive and well on all sides.” *cringe* Did she just imply that reverse racism is a thing? Oops.

10. T.R. Knight’s Coming Out

I never liked the George O’Malley character but his being killed off was kind of bittersweet. It was sweet because George was a pain in the a**, whiny b*tch who cheated on his wife with his best friend. It was bitter because he likely left the show because of the whole blow up with Isaiah Washington. Isaiah was actually fired from the hit show after directing homophobic remarks towards a co-star. It then caused Knight to come out and reveal his sexual orientation. Of course, there’s a lot of rumors surrounding all of it, but I’m sure it can’t be easy to move on from something like that. There’s no actual evidence linking Knight’s exit to the incident, but I don’t think it helped. So we said bye to George after his face was irreparably smooshed by a bus.

9. Melissa George’s Kidnapping Charges

Melissa George wasn’t a main character in the show but she did show up in quite a few episodes as Sadie. She played Meredith’s BFF from her college days. The two had a history together and even traveled the world together. I always hate it when shows introduce characters that are supposed to have this storied past with characters that we already know so well. It makes me feel like an outsider. Recently, George got caught up in a scandal that involved her children. She was actually accused to kidnapping her kids during a custody battle with her French lover. Kidnapping charges are pretty serious. It makes me wonder if all the Grey’s actors have something in common with the fake-docs they play on TV. Sadie was a pretty wild gal who wasn’t afraid to take risks. It seems George is the same.

8. Sara Ramirez Blasts ABC Show


Props to Sara Ramirez for calling out hateful stuff when she sees it. At the time, she was no longer part of the Grey’s Anatomy cast, but let’s be real, we all still love Callie and want her back. Ramirez tweeted out to ABC and The Real O’Neals Twitter accounts shaming them for a bi-phobic joke she heard on the show. She’s not wrong, the joke was in poor taste and not funny. A gay character on the show compares being bi-sexual to someone who has problems with money. Yeah, no… One of the stars of the show responded to the criticism ending his tweet with “we also have to remember, it’s a comedy’. Dude, no. That’s just not how it works. You can’t say ‘sorry, but!’.

7. Petition To Fire Jesse Williams

This guy can’t catch a break! This time the drama surrounded Williams’ BET awards speech. The petition called out the speech as racist. Oh no! He said something racist!? Well…no. Here’s part of what he said during his awards show speech:

“We know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm, and not kill white people every day.”

You guessed it. The people calling him racist are essentially claiming he’s committing reverse racism. Don’t worry, I’ll wait a second while you shake your head furiously.
Thankfully, another petition was created in response to the original. But did we really need it? Did anyone really think Shonda would fire Williams for his brave speech? Here’s the response she gave on Twitter: “Um, people? Boo don’t need a petition. #ShondaLandRules”


6. Who’s The Real Star?


Of course there were rumors about a Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo feud. OF COURSE. Neither of them has ever confirmed it but I know it in my heart. There have been a lot of rumors that have circulated about why he was killed off the show. Some rumors talk about an inappropriate relationship with a crew member of the show (he was a married man, FYI). I also suspect that there was something to the rumor about Dempsey being a diva. I imagine he probably wanted more screen time and wanted more of a lead role than was given to him. I’m glad he left the show and that Meredith Grey has the chance to be everything she was supposed to be. We’ve also been able to explore other characters lives more deeply because the focus has been removed from the Meredith/Derek relationship which was getting nauseating, TBH.

5. The Axed First Season Abortion


This isn’t actually drama, but there could have been! I also happen to think it’s an important piece of Grey’s Anatomy history. It turns out that in season one, Cristina Yang was supposed to get an abortion. This storyline was abandoned because Shonda Rhimes was actually warned about going through with a story about abortion. I find that suggestion troubling but then again, the show was in its first season. Thankfully, it has grown to be extremely popular and the successful show definitely doesn’t back down when it comes to controversial issues nowadays. We’ve probably seen it all by now and I’m always excited to see what other stuff they can come up with. The show has even gone on to eventually tackle the topic of abortion multiple times.

4. Jesse Wiliams’ Dating Life

Yep. Here we go again. Apparently, Williams can’t stay away from drama. It’s weird because there are very few other Grey’s Anatomy cast members who’ve ever been talked about this much. I guess, for now, it’s great publicity for Grey’s. There were rumors that Williams was actually cheating on his wife with his co-star Minka Kelly. Just three months before the couple came out as officially dating, Williams had split up with his wife of many years (more on that below). He’s refused to admit that the relationship went south because of some kind of romantic love triangle. His relationship with Kelly was also blasted by women in the African American community who criticized him for dating the white actress. Of course, that’s not the only thing Williams has done to piss people off.

3. Bringing Back Burke

Isaiah Washington was booted from Grey’s Anatomy after the whole T.R. Knight fiasco (read more about that above). At the time, he was actually fired from his role as Dr. Preston Burke. Shockingly, he came back as a guest star later on. Shonda Rhimes, seemingly expected backlash for the decision to bring back Washington, and explained to US Weekly, that since Cristina’s time on Grey’s Anatomy was coming to an end, it was important to her to “properly say goodbye to our beloved Cristina Yang.” It’s kind of true that Burke was an important part of Dr. Yang’s storyline, but it wasn’t completely necessary. It seems wrong to bring someone back who caused such an upheaval because of their hurtful, hateful remarks. Surely closure could have been had without him.

2. IRL Medical Mystery

It turns out that Chandra Wilson, who plays Dr. Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy, deals with some pretty intense stuff IRL. It’s not any kind of salacious gossip or a scandalous affair, it actually has to do with her daughter. Her daughter, Sarina, has an incurable disease called Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. It was actually a medical mystery of sorts because for a while no one was able to diagnose it. It took 10 months to get an answer — way longer than it takes on Grey’s Anatomy! Sarina was also diagnosed with Mitochondrial Dysfunction. It’s a tough diagnosis to receive, but at least the pair got some answers. I imagine the experience must have had an effect on how Wilson deals with her work and approaches her character.

1. Jesse Williams’ Custody Battle

Okay, one last time. It’s the last time I’ll talk about Jesse Williams. This time, the drama surrounds his divorce. It’s basically a flashback to a Grey’s Anatomy episode! Remember when Callie and Arizona fought over the custody for their daughter? What about when April and Jackson nearly went the legal route to secure their rights to their child? Well, it seems Williams has found himself in a similar predicament, fighting for the right to get custody of his children who are 2 and 3 years old. It’s such a shame when parents go the legal route, especially when the children are so young and don’t have any say in the matter at all. I only hope the whole thing ends amicably for everyone involved, especially the kids.

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