GREY'S ANATOMY star Ellen Pompeo was laughed at when she first told her family she wanted to act, even though she had actively been encouraged to love the theatre. Pompeo was just four when she tragically lost her mother to an accidental painkiller overdose, and her relatives insisted on taking her out to distract her from her loss. She was only six when she declared her desire to be an actress, but her loved ones viewed the stage as simply escapism, and failed to support her dream. She says, "I remember they would take me to see plays, which was such an escape, because home had become a rather sad place. "(But) not only was there no precedent for this in the family, but in a working-class Irish-Italian neighbourhood it was a ridiculous idea. "People would laugh like it was the most preposterous thing they'd heard. I thought, 'I'll just leave town, no fanfare, and try to make it.'"