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Ellen Pompeo Shuts Down Rumors That Her Pay Increase Led to Jessica Capshaw, Sarah Drew’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Exits

Not having it! Ellen Pompeo is defending herself after it was revealed that her Grey’s Anatomy costars Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew will be leaving the hit ABC series at the end of season 14.

Ellen Pompeo, Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
Ellen Pompeo, Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Bob D'Amico/ABC (3)

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Deadline broke the news on Thursday, March 8, and noted that their departures come “on the heels” of Pompeo’s recent salary renegotiation, which will reportedly give her $20 million a year for her role as Meredith Grey. The actress, 48, then took to Twitter to speak out against the story and to clarify the situation for fans.

“Its unfortunate that @DEADLINE chooses to try to pit women against each other on #InternationalWomensDay #shameonyounotme,” she tweeted. “I’m a big girl @DEADLINE can take shots at me if they want but to the fans please don’t fall into that trap. This is above my pay grade.”

The show’s co-showrunner, Krista Vernoff, also shared a lengthy statement defending Pompeo against the publication. “The suggestion … that our cast changes are in any way related to Ellen Pompeo‘s salary renegotiation is wrong and hurtful and misguided,” Vernoff tweeted. “It smacks of an old, broken, patriarchal notion that women must be pitted against each other and that one woman’s success will be costly to others. Ellen Pompeo has not only advocated passionately for her fellow cast members, she has taken the time to educate women worldwide as to how to advocate for themselves and that must not now be twisted.”

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She also defended their choice to write off Capshaw and Drew’s characters. “The decision to make changes to our cast was a creative one. The only thing as constant on Grey’s Anatomy as Ellen Pompeo is our penchant for reinvention,” she wrote. “It is a part of our success and what keeps the show exciting. We love these actresses and we love these characters and it felt true and right creatively to wrap up their stories. And that is the whole story.”

Capshaw, who plays Dr. Arizona Robbins, and Drew, who plays Dr. April Kepner, took to Twitter earlier in the day to share messages with fans about leaving the show. “For the past ten years I have had the privilege of not only playing Arizona Robbins but also being madly in love with playing her,” Capshaw, 41, wrote. “Arizona Robbins is kind, intelligent, funny, insightful, bold, playful fierce and really good at her job. She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented in a series regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is permanent and forever.”

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Meanwhile, Drew revealed that she hadn’t fully processed the news yet. “Thank you for all of the love. I know you’re sad. I’m sad too. I haven’t really had the time to process this information,” she tweeted. “I’ve been with it for less than 48 hours, so I’m not ready to say my thank yous and give an all-encompassing statement about my 9 years here.”

She added: “For now, I’d like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn’t over yet.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET.

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