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Ellen Pompeo’s new contract for Grey’s Anatomy that makes her the highest paid dramatic actress on TV is only through season 16 — which could be quitting time for the mega-star. In an interview for EW’s latest cover story, Pompeo seems to hint that 2020 may be her last year on the top-rated medical drama.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You only signed a new deal through the end of season 16 in 2020. Is that when you’d like to leave?
ELLEN POMPEO: I’m clearly not prepared right now to make any formal announcement about my future on the show. That’s something that Shonda Rhimes and I will do together. But I’m feeling like we have told the majority of the stories that we can tell. I was really excited to be back working with [executive producer] Krista Vernoff again because we started the show together, so finishing out the show together feels really appropriate. Shonda trusts Krista. So I always follow Shonda’s instincts and she’s always right. But yes, I’m feeling like we’re coming to the end of the stories that we’ve told and that we can tell. I’m really excited to do some new things, it’s about time that I mix it up and I’m really excited about my producing career, and I’m definitely looking for a change. My children are getting older so I want to be more available to them now. I can’t be an absentee mom if they’re teenagers, I have to be around to whip their butts. So it’s definitely time for change in my life. I’m really looking forward to it and that’s the beauty of my situation. I have definitely played this out for everything that I possibly could. I’ve given it 200 percent of my energy and my love and my time and my commitment and my dedication. I still am fighting every day to make everything surrounding this show, the quality of the show, the storytelling, I’m still fighting for everything I can, for the quality to be good, for the actors to be happy, whether that’s well received or not. I still care very much about the show and I think that it takes a lot of energy. So at some point I have to wrap it up.”

For more on season 15 of Grey’s Anatomy, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly on newsstands now, and head here for more from our cover shoot.

Credit: James White for EW

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Grey's Anatomy

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.

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