Pompeo isn't sure if they pulled the same tactic on Dempsey, but the actor did not like the idea of teaming up with Pompeo during contract negotiations.
Showrunner Shonda Rhimes has implied that Dempsey was hard to work with - we'll get to other behind-the-scenes drama later - and it doesn't sound like Pompeo had it any easier.
The star of the long-running medical drama, which first aired in 2005, will overtake Game of Thrones cast members Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey who now all net $500,000 (£391,000) per episode compared with Pompeo's $575,000 (£415,000).
The behind-the-scenes drama of Grey's Anatomy has always been interesting. It entitles a payment of approximately $20 Million a Year.
The actor also made her directorial debut on the 13th season of the show (episode 18).
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, the actress said she's now comfortable asking to be paid what she's worth. You think, "Not only do I have to show that I'm a good actress, but that director also has to in some way fall in love with me and at least become enamored with me". Ellen said that there are many actresses and even actors who would be ideal in a show for one or two seasons only to fade away later.
Pompeo also said how shocked she was to learn the studio immediately cast a new guy, Martin Henderson, after Dempsey 's exit in 2015.
It's taken years but Pompeo thinks that she has now finally reached a place in her career where she can demand what she deserves. It's my show; I'm the No. 1.
Similarly, "Shameless" star Emmy Rossum, who has played Fiona Gallagher since 2011, had to fight for a salary equal to that of her co-worker William H. Macy, who plays Frank Gallagher on the show.
In the end, Pompeo says that what she's most thankful for is a job where the workers are empowered on set, which is something she can share with her three children. And it was Rhimes who suggested the actress to negotiate on her terms.
Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes signed a massive deal with Netflix last summer and Pompeo said this led her to ask the showrunner for more to do. She said that she was willing to do whatever it takes to combat sexual harassment in the industry, especially now that women are confident enough to come out and confront their harassers. She will reportedly earn $575,000 per episode under the new deal, making her the highest-paid actress on a television drama. Ellen said that even though she is happy with the roles that she has played, it was unrealistic to pursue this line of work anymore at her age.
Fourteen years after Pompeo undertook the role of Meredith Grey - which she initially accepted just to pay the rent - the show continues to garner 12 million viewers a week. She is looking to follow in the footsteps of Shonda Rhimes, and added that her daughter was a big inspiration towards this decision.