Dempsey, who exited the medical drama in 2015 after playing Derek Shepherd for 11 seasons, appeared on an episode of Pompeo’s new podcast, Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo, that dropped Wednesday. During their conversation, the former onscreen couple recalled the musical episode of Grey’s, “Song Beneath the Song,” during season 7.
“Remember we did that horrible musical number — I mean sorry to disrespect who wrote it — but I mean that musical, we were horrified, right?” said Pompeo, who has starred as Meredith Grey on all 17 seasons of Grey’s. “I did sing a little and I was like, ‘Listen guys, I’m telling you right now like I can’t sing.'”
“‘Listen, I don’t want to chicken out here like we’re doing this musical,'” Pompeo, 51, further remembered saying at the time. “I want to be all in. I want to commit, I want to try, but I’m a terrible singer, but yes if you guys can help me sound better. I’m not going to be good, but I also am not going to chicken out, so I’ll just dive right in.'”
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Dempsey, however, fully admitted he did “chicken out.”
“I totally chickened out, I chickened out completely,” the 55-year-old actor said. “I was like ‘No way in hell am I going to be singing,’ it didn’t make sense to me then and now when you see it and you’re like ‘Oh my God,’ at least they tried it, you know, at least they tried.”
“Yeah, it was completely ridiculous, I haven’t seen it again,” said Pompeo. “But wait, so I sang but I was in a scene with you and I was singing to you and you weren’t singing, so you’re so much smarter than me.”
“The whole concept was crazy and it’s one of those memories,” Dempsey added.
Elsewhere on the episode, Dempsey said his experiences on Grey’s and relationships with his cast members have created “some of the best life lessons I’ve ever had in my life.”
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“Because of the concentrated intensity of the experience of all of it, it really has been a blessing in so many ways because you start to look at the good, the bad and the ugly,” he said. “We’re here to refine ourselves and to improve and it was really something that we’ve all kind of lived through together, this amazing journey — you’re still in the process of it — but when you go back and revisit … there was something there that was quite special where you’re like, yeah it’s like the soul that’s coming through to help you through this process to improve and to evolve and it’s quite interesting.”
“Only we can understand what this journey has been,” Pompeo replied. “We are the only ones who truly understand it, and each other, and we’ve all come through it with a tremendous amount of forgiveness and love for each other. And we have learned that lesson that empathy is the way, and we’re living our best lives because of it so it has been an incredible blessing.”
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She continued, “I wouldn’t change any of it, even the bad we’ve learned from, and the good we look back on and laugh, and we still all love each other like brothers and sisters, and thank you to all these fans who have supported us for so long because it’s really because of them that we get to relish in the success and see this as such a positive experience and it’s been a blessing for sure.”
Dempsey, who briefly returned to the show for cameos in few episodes last season, then reflected on Grey’s Anatomy‘s passionate fanbase.
“It’s really great when you run into people who have been so profoundly impacted by the show, you know, their eyes light up and they’re happy to see you and it’s like, you have to hold that for them,” he said.
“It’s really quite special because anywhere you go in the world, people know you anywhere, and they greet you in a positive way,” he added. “And that’s really lovely, you know, it’s really special.”