Skip to Content

In his Oscar-winning role as a dirty detective in the film Training Day, Denzel Washington bellowed that "King Kong ain’t got $hit on me!"

And that may be true.

But what about Ellen Pompeo?!?

Ellen Pompeo in the Hospital

On the latest episode of her podcast, the Grey’s Anatomy star sat down this week with former colleague Patrick Dempsey.

At one point, the conversation turned to a Season 12 episode of the ABC drama, which aired in February 2016 and which was directed by none other than Washington — as intense and as respected an actor as likely exists in Hollywood.

But if you thought Pompeo might be intimidated by his presence?

Well, she has a revealing story to tell…

Ellen Pompeo in 2019

After praising Washington as a performer, Ellen admitted that she once she yelled an improvised line to another character during an emotional scene… and it didn’t go over well with the famous, one-time director.

"I was like, ‘Look at me when you apologize. Look at me,’" Pompeo recalled yelling at the actor during the scene.

"And that wasn’t in the dialogue," she explained.

"And Denzel went ham on my ass. He was like, ‘I’m the director. Don’t you tell him what to do.’"

Once again, though, Pompeo made it clear in this retelling that she stood her ground against the actor. Big time.

"I was like, ‘Listen, motherf–ker, this is my show,’" Ellen continued. "

"This is my set. Who are you telling?"

Clarifying laterr that she has the "utmost respect for [Denzel] as an actor and director," Ellen said she was thrilled with the overall experience, but

"Like, yo, we went at it one day."

Meredith in Some Scrubs

"So, we didn’t get through it without a fight, but that’s actors for you," the actress told Dempsey.

"Passionate and fiery and that’s where you get the magic, and that’s where you get the good stuff. So, it was an amazing experience, it really was."

It sounds incredible.

And how can one not respect Pompeo for standing her ground on the set of a show she has helped make iconic?

Ellen Pompeo on the Finale

Recently, however, we heard another story about Pompeo’s power on set — and this one did not paint her in nearly as positive of a light.

Lynette Rice — who just released an unauthorized biography of Grey’s Anatomy titled How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy — spoke to E! News a few days ago and alleged that Pompeo once got a co-star fired.

The author told E! that the Grey’s Anatomy cast often has felt the need to "kiss the ring" when it comes to Pompeo.

Translation? They often had to seek her permission to do almost anything on set.

Pompeo as Meredith

Specifically, issues have arisen over when to take backstage pictures… who can take backstage pictures… and what then happens to these backstage pictures.

Talking to the aforementioned outlet, Rice told the story of an unnamed former cast member who ended up without a job because she defied Pompeo’s unwritten rules.

"It was this weird thing that she was taking pictures behind-the-scenes.

"But Ellen got to the point where it really became Ellen’s set, so you should really check in with mom, just let her know, ‘FYI, doing this, are you OK?’ She didn’t do that."

As a result?

The anonymous series regular met her "downfall," and ultimately was fired from Grey’s Anatomy, Rice says, adding as a major tease:

"You’ve got to get the book to see who it is."

Pompeo has not yet commented on this allegation.