It’s been a while since Grey’s Anatomy fans have seen Izzie Stevens’ blonde locks bouncing down the hallway, and it’s been even longer since we’ve even heard mention of that Harper Avery-winning cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Preston Burke. Unlike many others, Burke and Izzie were two characters who managed to make it out of Seattle alive. Their real-life counterparts, however, didn’t slip away so quietly.
When Isaiah Washington left Grey’s after season 3, there were rumors about a dispute between Washington and co-star T.R. Knight (George O’Malley) during which Washington supposedly used a homophobic slur. Washington left the show that same season, with Knight following two years later. However, now that the show is in its tenth season, original cast member Ellen Pompeo, who has been there all along, is talking about the show’s most controversial departures.
Pompeo told the NY Post that originally, Washington was up for the role of McDreamy. “You know they wanted Isaiah Washington to be my boyfriend,” Pompeo said. “Shonda [Rhimes] really wanted to put a black man in the mix. I didn’t think they were really going to put an interracial couple on the show and I didn’t want him. It was too close to home.” (Editorial note: Pompeo is married to African-American music producer Chris Ivery.) “I said I wanted that Dempsey kid. I think that once Isaiah did not get the role it backfired.”
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