Grey’s Anatomy has become the longest running primetime medical drama on television, and for great reason. Every season offers amazing and emotionally driven storylines with a superstar cast to back it up. This is a show that can make viewers laugh, cry, scream and cheer all in a single episode. From season one to season 15, Grey’s Anatomy has undoubtedly become one of the greatest shows to binge-watch.
Over the years, the show has had to say goodbye to several fan favorites, but new, just as awesome, faces came in to take their place without missing a beat. We know all about their characters’ lives, but what about their personal lives? The cast of Grey’s Anatomy is actually composed of some seriously interesting people.
Here are 20 little-known facts about the people behind our favorite Grey’s Anatomy characters.
20 Jesse Williams Was Once A High School Teacher
Jesse Williams may play super handsome plastics surgeon Jackson Avery on Grey's Anatomy, but before he got into modeling and acting, Jesse was a high school teacher.
After high school, Jesse graduated from Temple University with a degree in African American Studies and Media Arts. The now famous actor then followed into his parents’ footsteps and became a public-school teacher for six years.
19 Ellen Pompeo Has Three Kids In Real Life
Ellen Pompeo’s Grey’s Anatomy character, Meredith Grey, is a single mother to three kids. Ellen also has three kids in real life – one boy and two girls.
Ellen gave birth to her first daughter, Stella, with husband, Chris Ivery in 2009. Her second (Sienna) and third (Eli) children were born via surrogacy in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
18 Justin Chambers Has A Twin Brother
Justin Chambers, better known by his Grey’s Anatomy character name Alex Karev, was born in Springfield, Ohio in 1970. He has two brothers and two sisters.
One of his brothers is actually his fraternal twin brother, Jason. Justin and Jason spent a lot of time in the hospital as children from severe pneumonia.
17 Kevin McKidd Is A Talented Singer
Can you imagine Owen Hunt, the rugged trauma surgeon, singing? Well the actor who plays him, Kevin McKidd, is an amazing singer, and he has even sung in a rock and roll band in Scotland, according to Business Insider.
Kevin did his own singing during the monumental “Chasing Cars” musical episode during Season Seven.
16 James Pickens Jr. Competes In Roping
James Pickens, Jr., who plays Richard Webber, may be a famous Hollywood actor but what he enjoys most is the Western lifestyle. James not only participates in rodeo team roping, but he is really good at it, too.
“It’s a real rush,” he said to American Cowboy. “I tried to play golf and the whole nine yards, but there’s something about team roping.”
15 Sara Ramirez Considered A Career In Engineering
Sara Ramirez’s character on Grey's Anatomy, Callie Torres, isn’t one to conform or stay inside the lines. Sara is a lot like Callie in that way. She graduated with a Fine Arts degree from The Juilliard School.
She starred in many Broadway productions and loves performing. However, there was a point in her life when she wanted to become an engineer instead of a performer.
14 Jessica Capshaw Has Seriously Famous Parents
Actress Jessica Capshaw’s parents are well-known and widely renowned, or at least her stepdad is. Jessica’s mother, Kate Capshaw, married superstar, director and filmmaker Steven Spielberg in 1991, when Jessica was 15 years old.
Her mother met Spielberg when she was cast as the nightclub singer Willie Scott in his film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
13 Giacomo Gianniotti Was Born In Italy
Giacomo Gianniotti’s Grey’s Anatomy character Andrew DeLuca is on his way to becoming the next McDreamy in Meredith Grey’s heart. The two characters have moments where they bond by speaking to each other in a foreign language, but it's something Giacomo speaks fluently!
That's because Giacomo was actually born in Italy, so he learned the language. He immigrated to Canada with his mom when he was eight years old.
12 Caterina Scorsone Is A Qualified Canoe Instructor
We love the quirky little sister of Derek Shepherd, Amelia Shepherd. Caterina Scorsone plays the role of Amelia so perfectly that she must bring influences from her own quirky life into that of the character’s.
While we have yet to see Amelia’s athletic side, Caterina happens to be a qualified canoeing instructor and enjoys both kayaking and swimming.
11 Ellen Pompeo Once Played Leonardo DiCaprio's Love Interest
Many of our favorites from Grey’s Anatomy have also had huge roles in other shows or movies outside of Shondaland. Ellen Pompeo played the stewardess love interest in Steven Spielberg’s film Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio in 2002, three years before she became Meredith Grey.
Before Grey’s, Ellen also had roles in Daredevil and Old School.
10 Camilla Luddington Has A Heavy Accent
Just like Kevin McKidd and Giacomo Gianniotti, Camilla Luddington was born across the pond. Camilla grew in England until she moved to Texas when she was 14 years old, which is why she has an accent.
You wouldn’t be able to tell from her Grey’s Anatomy character, Jo Wilson, because Camilla hides it pretty well.
9 Sarah Drew Has A Famous Cousin
Sarah Drew is known for her role as April Kepner in Grey’s Anatomy. Outside of the show, she has found success in other television shows and short movies.
Acting must run in her family’s blood, though, because just like Jessica Capshaw, Sarah has a famous relative, too. Her second cousin is Ben McKenzie from Gotham and The O.C.
8 Chyler Leigh Struggled As A Young Adult
Lexie Grey was one of the more innocent characters on Grey’s Anatomy; she had a nice and put-together life. Actress Chyler Leigh can’t say the same.
Chyler struggled during her younger years. She met her husband when she was 16, and the two of them got heavily involved with substances. Quitting and seeking help was literally a life or death choice for them.
7 Sandra Oh Started Performing As A Ballerina
Cristina Yang – the ballerina? There is no way you’d catch this superstar heart surgeon in a tutu! But the actress who plays her, Sandra Oh, actually became interested in performing arts when her parents signed her up for ballet at the age of four.
They hoped the instructional dance would help correct her natural pigeon-toed walk.
6 Kelly McCreary Got Her Break On PBS
Kelly McCreary plays genius prodigy heart surgeon Maggie Pierce on Grey’s Anatomy. But one of her first big roles was for an animated show on PBS called Cyberspace.
The cartoon was an educational children’s series about friends who solve problems in a digital universe using math. Kelly was only in six episodes of the series, but it was enough to open more doors for her.
5 Chandra Wilson Worked As A Bank Teller To Make Ends Meet
Before becoming Miranda Bailey on Grey’s, actress Chandra Wilson worked in a New York bank as a bank teller. She was working in the bank when she auditioned for Grey’s Anatomy, and even kept working there after she shot the first season.
“We didn’t know if we were picked up,” Chandra joked with Parade. “That [banking] was my gig until they kicked me out.”
4 Patrick Dempsey Was Diagnosed With Dyslexia
Patrick Dempsey played hunky doctor Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd so beautifully you would never have guessed that Patrick struggled with a learning disability.
Patrick revealed in an interview with Barbara Walters, according to WebMD, that he was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was 12. Patrick admits that even today it is very hard for him to read scripts.
3 Eric Dane Started Acting In High School
Like most actors, Eric Dane, known for playing Mark Sloan, got his taste for acting by participating in his high school drama class.
“I knew the girl who was checking attendance, so I [figured] I wouldn’t have to attend,” he explained, according to Entertainment Weekly. “But I got roped into a play and ended up loving it.”
2 Kim Raver Got Her Start On Sesame Street
Kim Raver, who plays Teddy Altman on Grey’s Anatomy, was already a well-established actress before landing the role in 2009.
She’s had starring parts in both Third Watch and 24. Kim actually got her start in acting at a much younger age, though. When she was just six or seven, Kim found a spot on the fun kids’ series, Sesame Street.
1 Chris Carmack Is A Singer-Songwriter
Chris Carmack is one of the newer heartthrobs on Grey’s Anatomy. His character, Atticus “Link” Lincoln, made his appearance during Season 15 of the show.
We might get to see him sing during the next season, because Chris is a very talented singer-songwriter. He performed heavily as Will Lexington in Nashville and has also released his own album for streaming.
References: Marie Claire, Business Insider, Entertainment Weekly, Romper, IMDB