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Ellen Pompeo talks equal pay, 'Grey's Anatomy' co-stars exit on 'Ellen'

The actress spoke with Ellen DeGeneres about being TV's $20 million woman.
Ellen Pompeo Grey's Anatomy Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen Pompeo talked 'Grey's Anatomy' and more with Ellen DeGeneres. Photo by Getty Images

Ellen Pompeo and Ellen DeGeneres have a lot more in common than just their first names.

In addition to being two of the highest-paid women on television, the "Grey's Anatomy" actress and daytime star have both broken barriers with their respective shows and are ardent supporters of equal pay in the workplace. The TV pioneers chatted about their work and the fight for equality during Thursday's episode of "Ellen."

Pompeo opened up about lending her voice to the conversation around equal pay with her recent Hollywood Reporter piece, which dubbed her TV's $20 million woman. In the article, she recalls the personal struggles that preceded her ascent to the crown as the highest-paid actress on a primetime drama, as well as the battles she fought behind the scenes on "Grey's Anatomy."

"There are certain moments where it's important to be really truthful about our pain and about our struggles," Pompeo said before praising DeGeneres for her own groundbreaking contributions to TV history. "It was a monumental moment for the gay and lesbian community, for you and your life. And like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, look at you now."

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Watch: Ellen Pompeo talks 'Grey's Anatomy' and more with Ellen DeGeneres

Pompeo went to say that she feels honored by how many women reached out to thank her for speaking about the topic before throwing a bit of shade at the Donald Trump administration for its treatment of women's issues.

"As women, sometimes we're afraid to ask, we're afraid to be vocal, we're taught not to be," Pompeo said. "They like us quiet, as we've seen from this administration."

She added, "It's really important to encourage each other, encorauge other women to stand up and be strong and know that we'll be OK and we have each other's backs."

Ellen Pompeo Grey's Anatomy

Eventually the conversation turned to talk of Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew leaving "Grey's Anatomy." Pompeo shot down any rumors that her pay bump on the show led to her co-stars exit.

"It's absolutely not true," Pompeo said. "I'm not involved in these kinds of decisions, however, there's a few problems that you encounter doing a show for 14 seasons. And one of them is rhe writers have a really hard time creatively thinking up with new stories for all these characters."

"Grey's" airs Thursdays on ABC at 8 p.m.