Following her revealing THR cover story last month, Ellen Pompeo made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday where she explained why she decided to reveal her $20 million salary in the interview and how the moment proved personally groundbreaking.
“I have quite a big mouth, and I’m honest to a fault, which in print can get you in trouble sometimes. … So, I’m grateful that it was taken in the right way,” Pompeo said of the cover story.
The actress recalled being nervous and questioning her statement “a hundred times” after the interview was conducted, so she was admittedly relieved by the news being received in the way she intended, which was to be an “empowering story for women.”
“I think there’s a lot of blame, especially right now. People are blaming people and there’s a lot of finger pointing,” Pompeo explained to Kimmel. “But there’s less people owning up to their side of things, and I wanted to sort of do a truthful interview and talk about my road to my own empowerment and how I got there, but also my mistakes along the way.”
In the THR cover story, Pompeo revealed that she made far less than former co-star Patrick Dempsey and asked to have their salaries negotiated together.
“They could always use him as leverage against me — ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ — which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals,” Pompeo told THR. “There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one.”
On Thursday, Pompeo explained to Kimmel that she has been moved by the number of women who have come up to her, praising her words.
“As women, you know, it’s not only about what’s done to us or what’s not given to us, it’s what don’t we ask for,” the actress said. “How much of it is isn’t given to us or is it that we don’t ask? And I think that as much as we can point the finger at other people, and say ‘You don’t give us …’ or ‘You don’t treat us fairly,’ we also have to point the finger at ourselves and say, ‘Did we ask? Did we step up and have the gumption to ask for what a man would?’ We have to own our part of it, and sometimes we’re too shy. We’re too afraid to be seen as difficult … to really speak our mind.”