Patrick Dempsey's character, McDreamy, was killed off of Grey's Anatomy years ago.
Last week, he shared a birthday tribute to his wife, Jillian Dempsey.
Grey's Anatomy fans, having trouble separating the man from the character, took to his Instagram comments and collectively lost their s--t.
Patrick Dempsey's "I love you! Happy birthday!" message to his wife, Jillian Dempsey, did not go over well with all of his fans.
"This ain’t no Meredith," commented one irate follower.
"Nooooo, you dont love her. you love meredith," insisted another. "GIVE ME MY SHIPP PLEASE."
Ship, of course, refers to a relationship between fictional characters Meredith Grey and McDreamy.
"Meredith left the chat," commented another.
"She threatened to leave him if he stayed on the show," accused another. "Because she was most likely jealous of ellen & patrick’s relationship."
Another claimed: "a reason he left the show was because jillian was about to divorce him, and then he left the show to save his family."
"This is rude," commented another.
Rude can be a compliment, as in someone looking so good that their photo is rude to others.
But it can also mean rude, as in I watched you play a character who got married on TV and I'm sad that it's not reality.
"THAT SHOULD BE MEEE!!!" joked a fan who added: "But ok happy bday jillian."
"Didn’t he cheat on her back then?" accused another.
Easily the meanest comment was: "lord i thought this was jefree star."
Fortunately, some of Patrick's fans who are not completely removed from reality came to his defense.
"He’s done with the show, has been for a while now," one defender writes. "But you delusional crazy fans just can’t accept that he’s doing other things."
"Reading the comments," begins another. "You guys need to learn the difference between reality and FICTION."
That same commenter continues: "Joking or not, you guys need to stop with those comments."
"What a bunch of dull, childish people!" Exclaims another. "C'mon! This is his life! Derek Shepherd is not real!"
"All you people who keep bringing up a character he played need to get a life!" insists another defender.
That same comment adds: "Patrick Dempsey has a real life! That chapter of Grey's anatomy is closed so you all need to move on already"
"He's done with the show, has been for a while now," writes another. "But you delusional crazy fans just can't accept that he's doing other things."
"Some of these comments are so stupid," marveled another. "They do know that you’re on a SHOW?"
Knowing and accepting are very different things.
It's likely that many of them were merely joking, but ... some jokes do not translate well on social media.
Back in December, Ellen Pompeo revealed that she hasn't spoken to Patrick Dempsey in years.
One of the unrelenting fans brought that up as a criticism.
It fell to another commenter to set that fan straight.
"He's not obligated to keep in touch with an ex-coworker," the follower wrote.
That is a very good point.
You know what's really sad?
This is far from the first time that Patrick and Jillian have faced this kind of backlash from overly enthusiastic "fans."
Comments like "THAT’S NOT MEREDITH,” and “First you die and then you cheat, Mer does not deserve this," have plagued their relationship.
Enjoying the media that you consume is normal. Getting invested in a story and characters is healthy.
Losing your ability to handle fiction and harassing real people because of it is not.