Get Salary Negotiating Tips From Ellen Pompeo, One of the Highest Paid Women on TV

Here’s how Ellen Pompeo finally got the salary she deserved.


4 min read


This story originally appeared on GOBankingRates

Actress Ellen Pompeo, star of TV’s long-running hospital drama Grey’s Anatomy, signed a contract earlier this year that made her one of the highest-paid women in television. She currently ranks as the fifth highest-paid actress or actor on TV, according to Forbes.

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Her much-publicized salary negotiations garnered her both support and backlash. But, Pompeo remained undeterred. “… I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m OK asking for what I deserve,” she told The Hollywood Reporter, “which is something that comes only with age … the truth is, anybody can be good on a show season one and two. Can you be good 14 years later? Now, that’s a [expletive] skill.”

Keep reading to learn more about Pompeo’s path to stardom.

Birthdate: Nov. 10, 1969
Net worth: $40 million
Sources of income: Grey’s Anatomy
Career highlights: Nominated for a Golden Globe in 2007 for her role in Grey’s Anatomy; received the 2007 Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series  

Ellen Pompeo net worth: $40 million

Pompeo’s net worth is estimated at $40 million. Earlier this year she negotiated an annual salary of $20 million for her role as Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy. She now makes $575,000 per episode on the award-winning hospital drama. Her contract includes a signing bonus of over $1 million as well as two full backend equity points.

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Ellen Pompeo’s transition from actress to producer

Ellen Pompeo was born Nov. 10, 1969, in Everett, Mass. She is married to music producer Chris Ivery and they have three children.

Pompeo has played Dr. Meredith Grey since Grey’s Anatomy began in 2005. She also appeared in movies such as Old SchoolCatch Me If You Can, Moonlight Mile and others, and on TV in episodes of FriendsLaw & OrderStrong Medicine and more. She made an appearance in Taylor Swift’s music video for “Bad Blood.”

Pompeo was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2007 for best performance by an actress in a television series. She and her fellow cast members of Grey’s Anatomy received the 2007 Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series.

Pompeo became a co-executive producer on the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Station 19 in 2018, and she is also working on a legal drama for her production company. She recently sold an anthology drama about American fashion designers to Amazon.

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Ellen Pompeo’s negotiating advice

Pompeo credits Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes for helping to empower her to ask for the salary she felt she deserved. She did her homework and found out how much the show had generated for ABC’s parent company, Disney, and used that information to bolster her position. “Grey’s has generated nearly $3 billion for Disney,” she said. “When your face and your voice have been part of something that’s generated $3 billion for one of the biggest corporations in the world, you start to feel like, ‘OK, maybe I do deserve a piece of this.'”

Here is Pompeo’s advice for asking for a raise:

  • Always start with the positive.
  • Back up what you’re asking for — numbers help.
  • Be willing to walk away if you don’t get what you want.

Read more about the ugly pay truths in the entertainment industry.

(By Karen Doyle)

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