‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Ellen Pompeo has admitted that she made her decision to stay with the show based on her age, and says that re-watching the pilot episode of the medical drama recently and seeing herself “age on TV is miserable”.

The long-running ABC series is returning for its 13th season later this year, and its ever-present star Pompeo, 46, has spoken to People magazine about what it’s been like to stay on the show so long. She revealed that she might have decided to quit the programme as much as ten years ago if it hadn’t been for her age.

“My decision to stay on ‘Grey’s’ was based solely on age,” the Meredith Grey actress said. “At 33, I was wise enough to know my clock was already ticking in Hollywood.”

Ellen PompeoEllen Pompeo spoke about her long-running role as Dr Meredith Grey on 'Grey's Anatomy'

Pompeo admits in the interview that she got a “super late start” in her acting career, only landing her first role when she was in her mid-twenties.

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“I probably would have done my time, then gone out to search for other things,” if her career had started earlier. However, when her contract renegotiations for ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ came around she “was definitely aware of how challenging it would be to find other roles in my late thirties and early forties.”

Instead, she decided to stay with the show that brought her fame. “I thought, ‘Why would I leave something that is super successful and pays me great to search the landscape?’ I decided that I would stay on… and be grateful and try to ride it out for as long as I could. And I am very happy that I made the decision to stay. It’s only gotten better with time.”

Elsewhere, she discussed what it was like when she recently saw the first ever episode of the medical drama again, realising that she’s only one of four series regulars to have been there ever since the start back in 2005.

“As uncomfortable as watching myself age is, I don’t think focusing on physical beauty is necessarily the best thing for your mind. It’s a natural thing that we all do, but I don’t think it’s the healthiest thing. The older you get, the more you realize life isn’t about your looks. Everyone ages, and it’s okay.”

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