Grey’s Anatomy first aired on March 27th 2005 and since then, the long-running series has gained millions of fans around the world. Since the launch of the show, fans worldwide have fallen in love with the cast of Grey’s Anatomy.
Fans have endured heartbreaking storylines in the past, with doctors getting too close to patients, relationship dilemmas and difficult diagnoses all regular features of the programme. However, many fans of Grey’s Anatomy watch the series for the romances that are forged between various staff members at Seattle Grace. Meredith and Derek are definitely the biggest Grey’s Anatomy couple to emerge from the series.
But there’s been a whole host of other memorable romances along the way, including Izzie Stevens and Denny Duquette, as well as Cristina Yang and Preston Burke.
Of course, in reality we all know that the actors and actresses working on the show have real-life loves of their own! But who are they and (more importantly) what do they look like?!
You might think there’s less drama involved with some of these off-screen partners – but you’d be wrong. One Grey’s Anatomy actor got caught having a threesome with his wife, whilst another cast member is currently in the middle of some very nasty divorce drama with his soon-to-be ex wife.
Yikes! In the article below, we take a look at the cast members of Grey’s Anatomy (past and present) with their real-life partners – some of them may well surprise you.
1. Ellen Pompeo & Chris Ivery
Ellen Pompeo will forever be remembered for her portrayal of surgical intern (and later fully-fledged doctor) Meredith Grey. Pompeo has won praise from critics for her performance on the show and she is now one of the highest-paid TV actresses in America, recently signing a new $20,000,000 annual contract with ABC.
On-screen, Meredith’s relationship with fellow doctor Derek Shepherd suffered various highs and lows, from Alzheimer’s diagnoses to a tragic car accident.
And fans of the series will be aware that things really didn’t end well for the couple at all. But what about Pompeo’s love life away from the cameras? Thankfully, in reality, the actress’ personal life is a lot less dramatic than her on-screen relationship with Derek! In fact, Pompeo is happily married to husband Chris Ivery, a music producer from Massachusetts.
And you won’t believe just how the happy couple met in the first place. After getting to know each other at a grocery store(!), the pair dated for several months before marrying in 2007.
We need to visit more grocery stores!
2. Patrick Dempsey & Jillian Fink
Patrick’s on-screen alter-ego Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd proved an instant hit with fans.
He and Meredith hit it off from the start of the series and eventually went on to tie the knot. In real life, Patrick is happily married to Jillian and they celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary last year. However, things haven’t always been so rosy for the couple and a few years ago they suffered some off-screen drama of their own.
Their marriage almost came to an end two years ago when Jillian filed for divorce, but since then they have worked hard at their relationship and appear to be extremely happy.
In a recent interview, Patrick stated that ‘Our marriage was not something I was prepared to let go of. I didn’t feel like we had done all the work. And we both wanted to do that work. That’s where it started.’
Thankfully the pair are now going stronger than ever, and were recently snapped by the paparazzi enjoying a romantic break in Paris.
They’ve also been spotted on the red carpet several times since their initial separation. Aww! We’re glad they managed to patch things up in the end. It just goes to show that a little work can really go a long way. Congrats, guys!
3. Justin Chambers & Keisha Chambers
Grey’s Anatomy fans may be interested to learn that in real life, Chambers is nothing like his character Alex Karev when it comes to the ladies. At the start of the series, Karev was rude and dismissive of the other doctors, and even managed to get on the wrong side of patients from time to time.
He had an on-off relationship with Izzie Stevens (played by Katherine Heigl) before the pair eventually got married, despite her worsening illness.
After Heigl’s abrupt departure from the series, Chamber’s alter-ego found time for romance with Lexie Grey and Jo Wilson. In real life, Chambers has been married to his wife Keisha since 1993 and the couple now have five children together.
The pair first met after he modelled underwear for Calvin Klein. Keisha was a booking agent at the time and clearly liked what she saw. We can’t really blame her!
4. Sandra Oh & Andrew Featherston
Sandra Oh won a Golden Globe and SAG award for her role as the feisty and competitive Dr Cristina Yang.
On the series, Yang has a number of relationships. Her most notorious romance is with Preston Burke – together the pair suffer a miscarriage and have to navigate the pressures of their careers at Seattle Grace, before Burke eventually leaves Yang at the altar and disappears from her life.
Away from the small screen, Sandra Oh has experienced some highs and lows of her own.
After divorcing her first husband (filmmaker Alexander Payne) in 2006, Oh found love again with musician Andrew Featherston who plays in the indie band ‘The Hereafter’.
The happy couple are still going strong after first meeting each other in 2006.
However, they really like to keep their relationship under wraps and still haven’t been spotted on the red carpet together.
5. Sara Ramirez & Ryan DeBolt
Fans of Grey’s Anatomy loved Ramirez’ portrayal of Dr Callie Torres from day one. At the time, Callie was a rare example of a bisexual character in the principal cast of a major series, and Ramirez has previously admitted to being nervous about the role.
However, her performance was praised as one that broke the barriers of US TV and she quickly became a firm fan-favourite.
Ramirez’ love life has actually mirrored Callie’s in many ways. Whilst Ramirez has been married to Ryan DeBolt for six years, she came out as bisexual in the wake of the Orlando tragedy.
Ramirez stated she felt “an organic, incremental urgency to use my platform to empower those who are a part of these communities that I’m a part of”.
In September 2016, Ramirez decided to donate her hair to “Locks for Love”, a charity which makes wigs for children with medical conditions that induce hair loss.
6. James Pickens Jr. & Gina Taylor-Pickens
James Pickens Jr has been a regular feature of the cast from the moment the original pilot first aired.
Since then he has won multiple awards for his role as Chief Surgeon Richard Webber.
Regular viewers will be aware that Webber once had an affair with Meredith’s mother, Ellis Grey, but he ended the relationship after becoming jealous of her medical career.
He was later married to Adele Webber until her death, after which he married Catherine Fox.
Although Richard has suffered his fair share of romantic misfortunes, in real life James has been married to his wife Gina for 35 years.
They have two children together – Carl Tharps and Gavyn Pickens – who are both trying to emulate their father and make it in the world of show business.
James and Gina currently reside in Los Angeles County, California.
7. Jessica Capshaw & Christopher Gavigan
Jessica Capshaw is no stranger to medical dramas – as well as playing Dr. Arizona Robbins on Grey’s Anatomy, she also starred in The Practice as Jamie Stringer.
Capshaw’s on-screen persona Robbins was introduced in season five as a love interest for Callie, and the pair quickly hit it off.
Viewers praised their chemistry together and creator Shonda Rhimes has previously stated that Capshaw’s break-out performance is one of the things she most loves about season five.
In reality, Capshaw has been married to her husband Christopher Gavigan for several years. The good-looking couple got married on 22nd May 2004 at an East Hampton estate owned by Capshaw’s family.
Gavigan is co-founder of The Honest Company, an ethical consumer goods corporation supported by Jessica Alba.
Capshaw and Gavigan are happily married and currently have four children together: Luke (b. 2007), Eve (b. 2010), Poppy (b. 2012) and Josephine (b. 2016).
8. Chandra Wilson & ?
Chandra Wilson plays the hugely popular Miranda Bailey on the series.
Bailey actually manages to have one of the slightly less dramatic relationships on the show – her marriage to Ben Warren suffers a couple of interesting ups and downs but on the whole, it’s definitely one of the better examples of a solid union in Grey’s Anatomy.
Away from the screen, Wilson is hugely protective of her private life.
The photos above and below are generally believed to be images of Wilson with her partner, but to this day the actress has never publicly revealed his name!
That’s pretty good going in this day and age, particularly with social media trying to expose every aspect of our favourite celebrities.
Back in 2007, Wilson revealed to a magazine that she was in a relationship but not married. However, rumour has it that she got hitched all the way back in 1998. In any case, she has three children with her current partner (whatever his name is!): Serena (b. 1992), Joy (b. 1998) and a son named Michael (b. 2005).
9. Kim Raver & Manuel Boyer
Kim Raver plays Teddy Altman on the series, a cardiothoracic surgeon who originally departed the show in the eight season.
Teddy is an excellent surgeon who gets caught up in a messy love triangle between her former army buddy Owen Hunt and his new girlfriend Cristina.
Teddy tries to make things difficult for the pair and it doesn’t have the best effect on working life at Seattle Grace. Luckily in reality, actress Kim Raver is a happily married woman.
Raver has been married to French actor and director Manuel (‘Manu’) Boyer since the year 2000.
Apparently the couple first met at a private swimming pool in New York City and immediately hit things off. They’ve been together ever since and as well as being married, they now have two children together.
The couple have two boys – Luke West (b. 2002) and Leo Kipling (b. 2007). Awww!
10. Debbie Allen & Norm Nixon
Debbie Allen is well-known to Grey’s fans for her role as the kindly urologist Catherine Fox.
Like most characters on the series, Catherine turns up at Seattle Grace with some personal baggage of her own (including an ex-husband who tried to take her son Jackson away from her). Catherine soon settles in to life at the hospital and quickly strikes up a romance with Richard Webber.
Actress Allen has enjoyed a much less dramatic love life in reality!
She’s been married to former NBA basketball star Norm Nixon since 1984 and the couple have three children together, at least one of whom (Vivian) has followed in her parents’ footsteps by seeking the limelight as a dancer.
It seems as though Allen is the marrying type because before she met Nixon, the actress was married to Win Wilford from 1975 to 1983.
11. Katherine Heigl & Josh Kelley
Since appearing in Grey’s Anatomy, Heigl has gone on to become a star of the silver screen.
The actress bagged lead roles in blockbusters such as Knocked Up (2007) and 27 Dresses (2008) thanks to her role on Grey’s. Heigl met now-husband Josh Kelley – an American singer-songwriter – after starring in one of his music videos. The pair married in 2007 and they have three kids together.
Heigl and Kelley made a deliberate decision not to live together before getting married. The actress later explained the choice by stating that she wanted their official union to feel completely different to their dating life.
“I think I just wanted to save something for the actual marriage. I wanted there to be something to make the actual marriage different than the dating or the courtship.”
Fair enough! The unconventional start to their marriage seems to have worked for them, because Heigl and Kelley are still together today.
They got married in Park City, Utah and now reside in Oakley, Utah, far away from the bright lights of Los Angeles.
12. Martin Henderson & Helen Randag
Kiwi heart throb Martin Henderson is well-known to fans of the medical drama for his role as Dr Nathan Riggs in Grey’s.
And although the New Zealand actor is normally fiercely guarded about his private life, it was recently revealed that he’s found love!
That’s right, hunky actor Henderson is now officially off the market after pairing up with Helen Randag, a director, producer and arts patron.
The couple announced the news via Instagram, when the actor posted a photo of himself and Helen with a caption reading: “Out with my bae – I love you darling.”
Randag swiftly replied with a post of her own stating: “I love you too my darling.” Cue Henderson’s thousands of follows mourning the loss of his single life!
Henderson has previously been linked to a string of famous actresses including Demi Moore and Jennifer Garner, but this is the first time he’s made his relationship official. Congrats!
13. Eric Dane & Rebecca Gayheart
Eric Dane was extremely popular amongst female fans as the good-looking, womanising doctor ‘McSteamy’.
He made such an impact on the show that after his tragic departure in season eight, Seattle Grace was actually re-named Sloan-Grey Memorial Hospital in his memory. That’s quite the honour!
Off-screen, Dane has been married to American model Rebecca Gayheart since 2004.
They have endured their own highs and lows, especially in 2009 when a nude video leaked of the pair seemingly in a drug-induced state and ‘partying’ with It girl Kari Ann Peniche.
How did the couple manage to weather that particular storm?!
Well, although Dane later stated that they had put the incident behind them, things must have taken a turn again because the actor filed for divorce in February this year. Awkward!
14. Camilla Luddington & Matthew Alan
English actress Camilla – who is originally from Ascot – plays Dr. Jo Wilson in the hit US series.
She previously portrayed Kate Middleton in the made-for-TV movie William & Kate: The Movie (2011) before going on to star in Greys as the hard-working, intelligent Dr. Jo.
Her character has relationships with Jason and Alex on the series, whilst also having to put up with an abusive ex-husband.
Fortunately, in real life Camilla Luddington’s love life is a lot less dramatic. She announced her engagement to boyfriend Matthew Alan in January this year, after Alan proposed to her on New Year’s Eve.
Speaking about the proposal, Luddington stated ‘I’m not sure I even let Matt get through his proposal before I started yelling YES YES YES!! Of course it was a yes!’
The happy pair already have a one-year-old daughter named Heather together.
15. Chyler Leigh & Nathan West
Chyler Leigh played Lexie Grey on the programme.
As her surname suggests, she was the younger half-sister to Meredith and love interest of several characters. Poor Lexie had an unrequited love for George, a passionate fling with Alex and then a fully-blown relationship with Mark! She even found time for a relationship with Jackson during her time at Seattle Grace.
It seems in real life that Chyler has settled down a lot more than her Greys Anatomy counterpart, as she’s been happily married to actor and musician Nathan West since 2002.
In fact, the pair recently released a song together on Valentine’s Day last year.
The love song is called ‘Nowhere’ and Adam asked his wife to provide backing vocals since the track was a tribute to her – awwwww.
16. T.R. Knight & Patrick Leahy
T.R. Knight is beloved by fans for playing the role of Dr. George O’Malley on the hit show. He had several relationships on the series, including Meredith and Olivia Harper. Off-screen, Knight is an openly-gay actor who married husband Patrick Leahy in 2013.
Knight claims he felt he had to make a statement about his sexuality after co-star Isaiah Washington made a homophobic slur about him during an argument with Dempsey.
Nice one guys.
Washington was later fired from the show and then Knight acknowledged his homosexuality openly. He stated that ‘My friends on the set knew.
We talked about it. It’s not my thing to call up People magazine and be like, ‘Hey, you want to know something about me? …I could’ve just let it slide and not said anything, but it became important.’
17. Kate Walsh & Alex Young
Kate Walsh played steely ‘girl you love to hate’ Dr. Addison Montgomery on Greys Anatomy for two seasons.
In fact, her character proved so popular that she left Greys to star in a spin-off medical drama, Private Practice, from 2007 to 2013.
Montgomery appeared at the end of season one as Derek’s ex-partner – she unsuccessfully tries to win back McDreamy before embarking on a short-lived fling with Alex Karev.
Montgomery later switched over to Peak Practice and struggled with yet more relationship dramas. But what does actress Kate Walsh’s love life look like off screen? In reality, Kate married Fox network executive Alex Young in 2007, before sadly divorcing three years later.
Walsh has since stated that life hasn’t turned out quite the way she expected and that she ‘feels like a loser’ for not having kids.
‘I thought I’d be married and have three or four kids.
I always knew I wanted to be an actress, but I think I always wanted a quote-unquote normal life.’
Fortunately, Walsh has also learnt a lot from her divorce and is now enjoying life as a single woman.
18. Isaiah Washington & Jenisa Garland
Washington doesn’t have the best reputation amongst Grey’s Anatomy fans. But before the actor’s unceremonious departure from the series, he was best-known for playing handsome surgeon Dr. Preston Burke.
He and feisty intern Cristina had a dramatic on-off relationship during the series, which eventually ended with him leaving her after their engagement.
In reality, Washington has been happily married to his wife Jenisa Garland since 1996. The couple have three children together: Isaiah Akin, Thyme, and Iman.
The pair are also very active on social media and often post cute snaps of each other on the red carpet.
28 years of marriage is pretty good going in Hollywood. Congratulations!
19. Kevin McKidd & Arielle Goldrath
Scottish-American actor Kevin McKidd captured the hearts of fans with his portayal of ex-Army surgeon Dr. Owen Hunt.
His on-screen chemistry with love-interest Cristina Yang made sparks fly and won applause from viewers and critics alike. The couple eventually married but endured a tumultuous relationship which ended in a bittersweet manner after Yang decided to permanently leave Seattle for a job in Switzerland.
In reality, actor Kevin has raised a few eyebrows with his own romantic liaisons. His first marriage to Jane Parker ended in December 2016 after seventeen years together.
However, it wasn’t long before McKidd tied the knot again, this time to chef Arielle Goldrath, whom he married in March this year.
They welcomed their first son, Aiden, together in May 2018. Congratulations!
20. Sarah Drew & Peter Lanfer
Sarah Drew plays Dr. April Kepner, a resident surgeon at Seattle Grace. According to show creator Shonda Rhimes, the character was originally written to be ‘disliked by the rest of her colleagues’ – poor Sarah!
Her love life in the series is seriously affected by her religious beliefs – she wants to wait for marriage before having sex but nearly loses it to Alex before finally sealing the deal with Avery.
Her on-off relationship with Jackson sees the lovelorn April considering revirginisation and even getting engaged before she finally elopes with Jackson.
However, in typical Grey’s Anatomy fashion, things don’t go well for the pair and in the most recent series, April ends up getting together with her first fiancé Michael.
In reality, Sarah Drew has been married to UCLA lecturer Peter Lanfer since June 2002. The pair have two children together – a son named Micah Emmanuel and a daughter, Hannah Mali Rose.
Like her on-screen character, Sarah is a devout Christian.
21. Jesse Williams & Aryn Drake-Lee
Jesse Williams plays Jackson Avery on the programme, otherwise known as the Ross to April Kepner’s Rachel.
The pair have had a tumultuous relationship over the course of the series, but fans have enjoyed watching their on-screen chemistry together.
After things fall through for the final time with April, Williams’ character Avery decides to move on in season 14 with Maggie Pierce.
Off-screen, the drama has continued for Williams – he married Aryn Drake-Lee in 2012 but she recently filed for divorce from the actor.
The custody battle for their children has now turned extremely ugly and Drake-Lee is demanding over $160,000 in spousal and child support.
It’s still unclear as to how the matter will be resolved for this once happily-married couple.
22. Jason Winston George & Vandana Khanna
Jason Winston George plays Dr. Ben Warren for nine seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.
In fact, his character proved to be so popular that George was rewarded with a part on another of the Grey’s Anatomy spin-offs, an action-drama series entitled Station Nine.
George was married to Miranda Bailey on the series – they got hitched and then enjoyed a honeymoon in the Bahamas.
The switch to Station Nine will see Jason fighting yet more fires and saving cats from trees, with more of the focus given over to his professional life rather than his wife’s.
In real life, Jason is happily married to wife Vandana Khanna and the couple now have three children together.
The couple are often pictured on the red carpet together with their family. Cute!
23. Caterina Scorsone & Rob Giles
Caterina Scorsone stars in Grey’s Anatomy as Amelia Shepherd. She is the sister to Derek ‘McDreamy’.
She first appeared in the spin-off Private Practice.
The actress later starred in the seventh season of Grey’s.
After a long absence she returned to her role and is now a series regular.
She has been married to Rob Giles of American rock band ‘The Rescues’ since June 2009.
24. Giacomo Gianniotti & Nichole Gustafson
Hunky Italian-Canadian actor Giacomo Gianniotti is well-known to fans as Dr. Andrew DeLuca.
He was born in Rome and then raised in Toronto, before gracing our screens in his surgical scrubs.
In reality, Giacomo recently got engaged to his now-fiancée Nichole, announcing the news on Instagram with a simple yet sweet message to his future bride: ‘I love you. Thank you.’
Now that you’ve found out more about the real life partners of the cast members, why not check out these five fascinating facts about the series?
Scroll down to read five amazing bits of trivia about your favourite medical drama!
5. Shonda Rhimes created the show after a doctor admitted how difficult it was to shave her legs in the hospital shower
Yep, the show has some very humble origins!
Shonda Rhimes has created a host of amazing TV programmes, including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. So it’s always interesting to see where she gets her creative ideas from…
And in the case of Grey’s, the idea for the show came to her after a doctor once revealed to her what a nightmare it is to have to shave your legs in the hospital shower. Rhimes said: “I thought about the fact that it was the only time and place this woman might have to shave her legs.
“That’s how hard the work is.” Fans will remember that the issue later became a running joke throughout the series.
4. The blood and guts you see on-screen are real (kind of)
As with any medical drama, there’s a lot of blood and guts on Grey’s.
Most people would assume that it’s all just really convincing special effects.
But it turns out that’s not exactly right! According to Sarah Drew (who portrays April Kepner in the series), the show actually uses bovine organs.
Yuck! Apparently cow organs are used most frequently, whilst lambs’ brains are employed for any of the neurosurgery scenes. Drew once confessed that this makes things very interesting on set: “the smell is repulsive and makes us all gag.”
Just so you know, the blood used on the series is a mixture of red jello, real blood and chicken fat. Gross!
3. Isaiah Washington used to practice his surgeries for real
Washington (who played Dr. Burke) took his method acting to a whole new level.
Before his dramatic departure from the show, Rhimes once revealed that Washington took his role extremely seriously and decided to shadow real-life doctors in order to prepare.
No really, we aren’t joking with this one!
An interview with Oprah, Rhimes revealed that Washington would shadow surgeons in order to get an exact sense of what they were doing before he replicated it on screen: “Isaiah Washington learns all his surgeries before he performs them on TV.”
She also added: “Scarily enough, I think if he stopped at an accident on the street, he’d know exactly what to do. He has pulled shifts at hospitals where he follows the surgeons around for 48 hours.”
2. Katherine Heigl’s career imploded after she departed from Grey’s
Katherine Heigl had a notoriously bitter departure from the medical drama.
Despite the fact that her character Izzie Stevens was extremely popular, Heigl ended up being written out of the show.
Why? First of all, the actress rejected her own Emmy nomination and included a very harsh criticism of the show’s writers in her response.
Heigl turned down the nomination and stated: ‘I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination’… awkward! But that’s not all. Rhimes revealed that the actress could be extremely ‘difficult’ on set, which led to her leaving the series on bad terms.
Heigl’s reputation suffered dramatically as a result and for many years she struggled to find acting roles.
Rhimes simply said, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Yikes…
1. The show nearly had a completely different title
The ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ title is now synonymous with the idea of a groundbreaking medical drama.
But the original title nearly didn’t happen at all.
Apparently Rhimes played around with lots of different ideas before landing on Grey’s. And this is before the show was supposed to revolve around Meredith and her life.
Kate Walsh (who played Addison Montgomery), revealed that some of the potential titles included ‘Doctors’ (boring) and ‘Surgeons’ (even more boring). Finally Rhimes landed on the winning title of Grey’s Anatomy. Phew!
It’s a clever play on words and actually refers to the real-life medical textbook called ‘Gray’s Anatomy’, published in 1858 by Henry Gray.
It’s a book that is, amazingly, still used today to teach medical students.
We hope you enjoyed these five fascinating facts about Grey’s Anatomy!
If you want to read ten things you didn’t know about Grey’s Anatomy then click here for more.